Legal change management: Law firm operational changes

legal change management

Over the past decade, the legal profession has witnessed a wave of changes, from the implementation of fixed costs back in 2013, to the more recent whiplash reforms and upcoming extension of the fixed costs regime.

It is no surprise that the legal landscape is continuously changing, with many firms wishing to make changes to their legal offerings, or adjustments to the structure of their firms to stay competitive in an everchanging industry.

Having a well-planned legal change management strategy can assist firms in ensuring they attain continuous improvement and long-term success for their firm.

What is legal change management?

Legal or law firm change management refers to the process of implementing changes to a law firm’s policies, processes, or legal operations. This should be carried out in a structured and controlled manner. It involves identifying the need for change, planning and executing the change, and monitoring its effectiveness.

In the context of a law firm, legal change management may involve implementing new technologies, processes, or procedures to improve efficiency and productivity. Law firm changes may also be required to help the firm adapt to changes in the legal market, for example, a firm may wish to exit a specific market to focus on more lucrative areas of law.

Change management may also involve adjusting to changes in client needs or preferences, such as a shift toward alternative fee arrangements or increased demand for certain types of legal services.

Effective change management requires careful planning, communication, and collaboration amongst all stakeholders and legal professionals, including solicitors, support staff, and clients.

Change management may involve the use of project management tools and techniques, as well as training programs and other initiatives to ensure that all stakeholders understand the reasons for the change and are prepared to implement it.

Overall, law firm change management processes are essential for law firms to remain competitive and adapt to changing market conditions and client needs.

How Recovery First can assist with law firm change management

Exiting a market

One of the most prominent changes we see in the legal industry is firms making the strategic decision to exit a specific legal market so that they can focus on more profitable areas of law. When a firm decides to exit a legal market, there are many issues to be considered.

The law firm must ensure that it complies with all legal obligations related to the area of law it is exiting, such as ongoing client matters, contractual obligations, and SRA regulatory requirements. It is likely that the firm will need to transfer existing clients and cases to an alternative law firm.

The law firm must evaluate the impact of exiting the practice area on its overall strategic direction, including its ability to compete in the legal market and achieve its long-term goals.

Not least of all the firm needs to ensure that it received true value for their hard earned Work in Progress (WIP), repayment of any paid disbursements and any entitlement they may have to a proportion of any ultimate success fee. 

Merging with another firm

Law firm mergers and acquisitions are becoming increasingly popular. Again, this type of change requires careful planning and consideration to ensure a smooth process. In some circumstances, a merging firm may not wish to operate in all types of law offered by the other merging firm. In these circumstances, the firm may be required to exit one or multiple legal markets, and the transfer of ongoing client cases will need to be considered. 


One of the biggest changes a law firm can face is closure; whether this is due to financial difficulties, retirement, or issues in obtaining professional indemnity insurance, careful planning and management will be required.


The Recovery First Process

The Recovery First model can be used within any legal change management process to assist in the run-off of client files and ensure an SRA compliant change to the firm.

We provide a solution for law firms directly, as well as insolvency practitioners, accountants, restructuring and corporate recovery specialists helping law firms to withdraw from the market – even in very distressed situations where SRA intervention is a real and present threat.

As each project is unique; the flexibility of our model allows us to create a bespoke solution to ensure the best outcomes are achieved, utilising the specialist expertise of a combination of our panel law firms to ensure maximum value is recovered for the WIP assets.

As our model aligns all parties’ interests on success at conclusion of cases, there is no need for any lengthy due diligence, so we are able to act very quickly.

Our service provides a methodology which:

  • Is SRA compliant and ensures clients are protected
  • Provides compliant formal commercial contracts between all parties
  • Manages the transfer process of live matters from original firm to our panel firms
  • Provides financial management of the costs recovery process, including the allocation and distribution of funds
  • Provides you with access to a dedicated, experienced management team to oversee the process from investigation to conclusion


Why choose us to help with your legal change management?

If you have a significant change planned for your law firm and need to exit a legal market as a result, Recovery First can assist.

Our clients receive 100% of their recoverable WIP, plus their allocated entitlement to deductions from damages, anecdotally returning significantly higher value than a traditional WIP sale.

Our team manage the transfer of files from start to finish; placing case files with an approved law firm to protect the integrity of the client’s case, while at the same time maximising the value of the work in progress.

We guarantee 100% confidentiality for all clients. Get in touch today using the contact information below or click a button at the top of the page and we will contact you to discuss the process.


    It's never too late to speak to Recovery First. Contact us now in the strictest confidence

    Sally Dunscombe:

    David Johnstone:


    01357 440140

    Manchester Address

    106 Kennedy Building

    Murray Street


    M4 6HS

    Registered Address: 

    North Torfoot



    ML10 6QG