Development, soft skills and communication are ways to compete on the market of legal services by individual law firms – results from the report “Strategies for competing individual law firms” prepared at the request of the National Council of Legal Advisers. The report was discussed on October 17 at a conference organized by the KRRP Professional Development Support Committee. The presentation of the report gathered almost 100 people.

The first part of the report is devoted to the market situation. The study indicates how much the number of legal advisers and attorneys has increased over the last 20 years (from 21.1 thousand to 53.8 thousand). Individual types of legal advisors are also emerging as a new type of competitors – alternative legal service providers who are not subject to the restrictions of the Code of Ethics for Legal Advisors. Unfortunately, according to the data, the tendency to use the help of lawyers is still low in our society. Generally, most of us try to solve our legal problems primarily by ourselves, using specialized websites and portals – 43%, internet forums – 37%, or advice from family or friends – 27%.

Soft and IT skills

“Future of the market and recommendations” is the subject of the second panel, which was led by Maciej Bobrowicz, President of the National Council of Legal Advisers. RH participated in it. Marcin Maruta, prof. WSB Ryszard Sowiński and prosecutor Aleksander Gałek.

Maciej Bobrowicz, President of the National Council of Legal Advisers

The legal market in Poland and its legal advisors’ offices face a unique challenge. Increasing competition on the market, new technologies and frequent changes in the law make the question of how to operate on the market become important. That is why the National Council of Legal Advisers decided to prepare a study on the strategy of competing individual law firms, which is to answer the question of how to develop their practices in a competitive environment. We must face the challenge. The role of KRRP is to show possible ways. I hope that the report will provide not only interesting knowledge about the current state of the market, but above all recommendations on actions aimed at increasing the competitiveness of legal advisers.

The report confirms that customers expect us to be effective, have business competences, out-of-court dispute resolution, negotiation skills, and good communication and practice in using social media. New competences and roles for lawyers will be created by combining traditional professional competences with competences in often areas far from the law. Lawyers supplementing knowledge, equipped with soft skills and able to use new technologies will win. We’re on the verge of change. Every change is a challenge and an opportunity. It depends on us which path we will follow and whether we will achieve success on the market. I believe that this report will make it possible. I am convinced that it will be a source of inspiration and ideas for many legal advisors.

The latter pointed out that the presence on the Internet brings measurable results to law firms, and what is important, this task is relatively simple to implement. – It is also worth using the help of specialists, business advisors from outside the industry, because they can open their eyes to things that we do not see. They teach microcompetence and how to prepare for negotiations – advised Aleksander Gałek. Marcin Maruta, a partner at Maruta Wachta, agreed with him. – Lawyers still do not recognize the importance of technology, the need to introduce systems to facilitate the work and management of offices, as well as to promote on social media.

The interlocutors agreed that it is more about self-promotion, credibility and promotion of the profession of legal advisers than typical advertising. President Maciej Bobrowicz reminded that in the case of legal advisors in the Code of Ethics there is no definition of advertising, but certain permitted and prohibited activities are defined in terms of informing and acquiring clients. In the opinion of Maciej Bobrowicz, there are two key areas that can give councilors an advantage on the market – it is soft and IT skills.

– There is a problem with IT at all, because generally 45% of employees in Europe have inappropriate competences in this area. In turn, the importance of soft competences lawyers still underestimate. For us, analytically minded lawyers seem to be meaningless.

Maciej Bobrowicz also pointed out that the skilful use of these competences could help to attract and retain customers. The interviewees also pointed to the need to look for market niches. – We are a niche office specializing in technology – said Marcin Maruta. – But this niche concerns 80% of business.

During the panel, it was emphasized that one way to facilitate access to justice is to develop alternative dispute resolution methods. Recommendations for the law firm pointed out that the most important factors increasing competitiveness are the improvement of soft skills, communication, as well as new ways of promotion and efficient organization. Report “Strategies for competing individual law firms. How to develop your internships in a competitive environment ”was passed to the District Chambers of Legal Advisors. It is also available to everyone on the Internet:

Włodzimierz Chróścik, chairman of the Professional Development Support Committee KRRP, Dean of the Council OIRP in Warsaw.

The professional legal services market is evolving rapidly. The changes concern both the manner and conditions for providing legal assistance, as well as the clients’ expectations. This is due to the wider use of new technologies in the lawyer’s daily work and the growing needs of clients. Representatives of the high-tech young generation are putting ever greater challenges before professional representatives. Knowledge of the law ceases to be sufficient to conduct effective and beneficial legal practice. It is soft skills, negotiations, empathy, ease of communication, and non-trial forms of settling cases and disputes that will become a determinant of the professional position of a modern legal advisor. The local government should enable its members to gain knowledge on the effective use of modern tools, including preparing legal advisor trainees to practice. Modern technologies are necessary to build a competitive advantage of legal advisors.

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