This article is co-authored by Bruce MacEwen, President, Janet Stanton, Partner and Antonio Leal Holguin, Director – Adam Smith, Esq.

Lots of folks have their “Year of….” custom, often retrospectively, but here at Adam Smith, Esq., we’re more about “what’s next?”  Hence we are dubbing 2020, in advance, our own Year of Law Land Segmentation.

This means not much more or less than that we plan to invoke and practice that as a theme in the year just getting off its feet.

“Segmentation” is hardly a new concept, but if we’re dedicating an entire year to its honor, our readers are rightly entitled to a little background, context, and discussion.  First and foremost, we’re focused on analyzing ways of segmenting law firms (the supply side), not law firm clients (the demand side).    We note this only because when “market segmentation” is invoked, many people think naturally of categories like one of the classic segmentation models in Corporate Land: Psychographic–geographic–demographic–behavioral.

Segmentation should matter to you because why?

Simple:  Without a clear-eyed and honest analysis of where your firm is in the market, what it can do well and not so well (and therefore what it should consider jettisoning in the interest of focus)–and how your clients truly make that same assessment–you are a ship stranded in a fog bank with only primitive navigational aids.

On the more positive side, it’s important for quite tangible reasons to accurately triangulate on your firm’s position in the market.  It enables you to invest with confidence in what you’re best at–why clients seek you out–and enjoy the realistic hope that your competitive set of law firms may not have quite the same astute and dispassionate view of themselves that your firm has.

We mentioned that segmentation is not a new topic for us:  Indeed, we have long scoffed at the widely held assumption that law firm businesses are all alike (see our 2014 Taxonomy book) or that law firms are all offering pretty much the same type of service:  See our recent four-part series on the “Maroons & the Grays:”

So we will be focusing our analytic, published work this coming year on the varieties of segmentation, what it is and is not, instructive and not-so-instructive  models, ways it tends to play out in mature and newer markets, and the importance of looking beyond “today/this” to “If that, then tomorrow/what?”

Sit back and relax; this should be fun.



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