Bringing retail to the law: 'Stores', 'Customers' and 'Footfall'
The UK's biggest?
Forster Dean Solicitors is - based on a 'number of branches' metric - the UK's largest law firm. The practice has 29 offices across the north-west and midlands region, despite having only 100 staff. In the last 6 years, earnings have risen by 170% with headcount increasing by less than 10%.
Such growth has led to Forster Dean being ranked a 'Lawyer Top 200' firm, with its CEO - Gregory Shields - listed in the 'Lawyer Hot 100' for 2012-2013.
Such growth doesn't happen by accident, and this type of expansion doesn't happen by throwing a handful of darts at a big map… so what is Forster Dean's strategy and what makes it unique?
Crunching the numbers
The firm has essentially adopted a 'supermarket' or 'retail' approach - such strategies are largely unheard of in the professional services sector (although the creeping number of commercial investors and ABS organisations is slowly beginning to bring a more 'transactional' lingo to the marketplace).
What does this 'retail approach' actually mean in practical terms?
This 'model' means that Forster Dean has in its hands a scalable business that can be replicated and expanded rapidly and uniformly. The retail analogy continues in the language that Forster Dean uses throughout the organisation:
It's a very investable model, and the firm's CEO, Greg Shields, makes no bones about the fact that he sees future external investment as very much part of his grander business plan.
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