Sexiness Can Grow Your Firm -- When It Works

Published on: 
Sexiness. Got your attention, didn't I? But I didn't just put that word in here to get you to read my column. I'm talking about the sexiness of business purchases, which involves two basic areas: technology and office space/furniture.


Purchasing new technology or upgrading existing systems represents a major commitment in time and money, yet many lawyers and law firms seem to make decisions about what and when to buy based on the sexiness of the technology as opposed to other, more practical considerations.

When deciding whether to make a purchase, you should consider the projected return on investment of the purchase, the potential increase in efficiency, the potential to do something that couldn't be done before, and the potential improvement of the quality of services offered.

It is a given that all technology investments must provide a financial return to the firm. Because invariably there are a number of technology expenditures competing for priority in a law practice, using ROI is an excellent way to rank them in order of financial preference. Then, depending on the budget and resources available, you can select the projects to be undertaken by proceeding down the list, taking the most productive or profitable first.

The second consideration is efficiency. Projected ROI is often thwarted by human considerations. If the technology will languish unused to its full potential, the firm will realize little of the expected savings or profits.

Make sure the pertinent firm members can firmly grasp the instructions that accompany your shiny new toy. And remember: A really good technology purchase will not only allow you to do things faster; it will give you the capability to do something new, such as customizing databases that allow you to enter a new practice area.

Finally, a worthwhile technology purchase can improve your quality of service. For example, it can affect your responsiveness to clients and your availability to service their needs in timely ways.

Although technology can dramatically improve a law firm's efficiency and quality of service, it is a tool, not a toy, and it needs to be viewed in that light. This concept is often given lip service when the sexiness of the new toy governs the purchasing decision.

Office space/furniture

What does your office space and office furniture say about you? What do you want it to say about you?

Few would argue that the way that you dress creates a certain image. The same is true about dressing your office. If you're trying to get wealthier clients, you will want to think about "sexier" office space and furniture.

In terms of office space, location says a lot about the type of clientele you have (or want to have). Space in a strip mall is vastly different from space in a high-prestige, high-rise building with large conference rooms and a lot of marble and glass.

Similarly, what goes into the actual office space sends a message. There is a vast difference between solid mahogany furniture accented with fine framed art and metal filing cabinets accented with mass-produced pictures purchased at a big-box store.

Of course, the sexier surroundings come with a sexier price, and you have to determine if you can justify the price with the revenue you will receive from the clientele you attract. After all, there's little sexy about going broke.

This Coach’s Corner Article is listed under the following categories:

This Coach’s Corner Article is categorized for the following audience(s):