An Analysis of service differentiation strategies adopted by top law firms in Kenya

Kariuki, Esther Gathoni
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Strathmore University
The increasing pressure on businesses to curtail their costs has led to a challenging business environment for law firms, characterised by demand for reduction in legal spend, the demand for more use of technology, and more efficiency in legal service delivery. This study sought to examine how top law firms in Kenya have sought to differentiate themselves in a changing marketplace in the manner in which they price their services, harness technology to improve their processes, and endeavour to achieve efficiency in their operations. The study was premised on the market-based view that firm performance is primarily based on industry and market factors; and the survival based theory that companies have to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors in order to survive. The study adopted a cross-sectional and descriptive research design to identify the strategies that law firms had adopted and to examine the impact of the strategies on competitive advantage. The study population were the partners and senior associates from each of the 11 top law firms ranked as leading law firms by all of IFLR 1000, Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. Purposive and stratified sampling techniques were used to identify respondents with the requisite experience. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the data. The study established that top law firms perceive that there exists a moderate to strong positive relationship between pricing and efficiency strategies adopted and an improvement in the firm’s competitive advantage; but that the relationship between the use of technology and competitive advantage is negligible. The study recommends that law firms invest in the development of pricing strategy and integrate pricing strategy in overall strategic planning and the continued use of strategies that improve efficiency in service delivery. The study recommends that further research be carried out on a bigger population of law firms and that numerical measures of competitive advantage be used in further research.
A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Masters of Business Administration at Strathmore University Business School
Legal services, Service differentiation, Law firms, Business strategies, Competitive advantage