A challenge has been laid down for solicitors firms. Ajaz Ahmed, co-founder of the award-winning Legal365, outlined what he believes firms need to do to compete in the changing legal services market. Speaking at the recent LawTech Camp London he urged: ‘Reduce complexity; don’t sell law – sell solutions to customers’ actual problems; make your prices affordable; teach everyone in your company to talk in a language that your customers will understand; be totally transparent; and make loyalty dramatically easier than disloyalty.’ This is also the approach being taken by any business with serious intent to enter or stay in the legal services market. While most of the points are already well known and discussed widely in solicitors firms, the last point of loyalty is the most challenging. How can you make a loyalty to your firm stick in the minds of your clients? This is about influencing the actions of potential clients so that they contact your firm first. If they do, then your firm has the ability to make the most of the engagement. The recent Legal Services Board Consumer panel YouGov research reports that the clients are still on your side. It continues to show that people usually stick with the first ‘lawyer’ that they go to for advice (few shop around). When Mr Ahmed states that it’s ‘still all to play for’ in the market, this evidence would indicate that Legal365 have to do most of the ‘playing’ to tempt clients away. However, his final point is again the most challenging. For your firm to compete in any future legal service market sector, you will need to demonstrate the value of the services you offer in terms that your potential client understands. Loyalty will only go as far as paying the next bill for the client. If they see a comparable service they feel they can trust to deliver a similar solution then Mr Ahmed wins. That’s not to say that Legal365 or other new services will get the matter, but your firm has lost the loyalty. In a previous article, Pinch Point, I outlined one element that’s needed in most firms. Alongside that is the need for constant meaningful communications with those client types your firm wants to have in the future. Tell past clients why they should call you first if they have any need for advice. If you are not regularly telling them why they should call you an increasing number of other businesses will be. What is now more important to the challenge for solicitors is the speed of change in the market. Most change is unnoticed by hard-working solicitors because they’re not in the target market so don’t see the advertising and promotions aimed at their clients. Most firms are thinking about and some are making the changes necessary to compete in the changing market. However their pace of change is a ‘solicitors’ pace of change’ and we are now not in that closed market. Others are driving the pace of change and many firms will be left behind, even those with radical plans and the finance to push forward. Solicitors are not moving quickly enough to secure their future clients, leaving the clients to try out new legal services – not necessarily because they want to but because it “looks like a good deal”, it’s easy for clients to contact rivals and for them to get a solution to their current problem. And because their solicitor didn’t tell the clients why they should call them first. Alastair Moyes is a director at Marketlaw and co-author of Marketing Legal Services, the current marketing handbook from Law Society Publishing
EUROPE: Mercitalia Logistics Chief Executive Marco Gosso strongly criticised the performance of European infrastructure managers at the Transport Logistic trade show in München on June 6.Insisting that the FS subsidiary would ‘increase the pressure on infrastructure managers’, Gosso said that freight operators were still not being adequately compensated for day-to-day disruption caused by infrastructure problems. ‘Generally if a train does not run, we get the cost of buying the path back, but this is only a small portion of the overall cost of providing a service’, he said. Rail freight operators ‘will die’ if the question of operational economics is not addressed, he told Railway Gazette.Asked if the 2017 tunnel collapse at Rastatt in Germany had helped to focus minds on better supporting rail freight operators during disruption, Gosso felt that ‘nothing much has changed’. Mercitalia Logistics is ‘still asking DB Netz for damages’, he added, noting that three of the group’s subsidiaries were affected.Nevertheless, Gosso presented an upbeat picture of the company’s performance since it was established at the start of 2017 to bring together the Italian state railway’s heavily loss-making freight activities. Announcing that the first phase of Mercitalia’s strategic plan was now complete, Gosso said that the focus would switch from reorganisation to development. Losses across the group have largely been stemmed and it is starting to generate cash despite the challenging economics of rail freight. ‘The key to the turnaround is productivity. Delivering more services across the logistics chain while keeping our cost base the same’, he explained.In its 2019-23 industrial plan, Mercitalia will spend €1bn across its business, of which around €700m will be allocated to rolling stock. Operation of longer and heavier trains will be a priority, and Mercitalia Rail has already started to deploy the first of 60 Bombardier Traxx DC3 locos on domestic traffic. In line with these objectives, the company plans to run its first 2 200 tonne cereals train on June 12.International growth is another strategic priority, especially on the key trans-Alpine corridors through Switzerland and Austria. Mercitalia Rail CEO Gianpaolo Gotelli confirmed plans to develop two new intermodal terminals in northern Italy by 2023 to handle anticipated traffic growth related to the completion of the Ceneri Base Tunnel and the high-clearance Gotthard corridor. Segrate near Milano will be able to handle up to 44 trains per day while Brescia will accommodate around half that number; both terminals will be able to receive 750 m long trains.
KARACHI, Pakistan, CMC – West Indies Women touched down here Wednesday for their three-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, hailing the enhanced level of security for the historic tour. The Caribbean side trained in Dubai for the last week and will now take on the hosts in the first game here starting Thursday at Southend Club.Security here has been a major issue for international sides ever since the deadly attack on a Sri Lanka team bus 10 years ago in Lahore, leading to a cessation of international series in the often volatile nation.For West Indies Women, it is their first series in Pakistan in 15 years, and it follows on from their male counterparts’ similarly historic tour last April for three T20s, when they became the first major nation to stage a series in Pakistan since the attacks. “The security system is top class. There was security on both sides of the roads and these things show that everybody has put things in place and we are really lucky to be spending time here,” said Merissa Aguilleira, leading the side in absence of regular captain Stafanie Taylor who opted out of the tour over security concerns.Since the attacks, Pakistan have played all of their home series in the United Arab Emirates but cricket authorities here have been lobbying international sides in recent years, in a bid to have international cricket staged here again.In 1017, a World XI played three T20s against Pakistan in Lahore incident-free, prompting the Windies to tour the following year. And Aguilleira said the Windies Women were pleased to play their part in helping to revive cricket here.“I’m pleased we can bring back cricket to Pakistan because it’s really important. If we find ourselves in this position, I believe one of the teams would step up and try to help us,” the veteran said.“We are not playing ODIs here but eventually it will happen. I’m pleased that we as a team took the initiative to come over here. I am so thankful that we can contribute to bring back cricket to Pakistan.” West Indies have little time to acclimatise to conditions here with three matches in four days but Aguilleira backed her side to make the adjustments.We have a motto, two words our coach has given us: adapt and overcome. That is what we are trying to do,” she explained.“It is really difficult adapting in such quick time, but we are professional cricketers and we are willing and raring to go. We are excited for this tour.” West Indies face Pakistan in three ODIs starting in Dubai next week Thursday.