Aston University and Higgs transform legal services

Higgs and Sons

Award-winning, West Midlands based law firm, Higgs & Sons, has successfully completed a two-year collaborative Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with academics from Aston University’s Business School to implement an innovative programme of change in the culture and operations of the firm.

Due to unprecedented changes in the legal services sector triggered by recent deregulation, medium-size firms such as Higgs are facing increased competition. In order to develop a sustainable competitive advantage and offer enhanced value-adding services to clients, Higgs wanted to revolutionise its business processes, resourcing models and client communication.

The KTP research project with Aston University helped to facilitate the required organisational change by providing Higgs with the opportunity to examine their current working practices, fully understand their clients’ needs and expectations on service, identify the scope for change in operational systems that underpin efficient service delivery and address the costing and pricing strategies. The project enabled Higgs to offer the best value propositions and enhance service experience for clients which will ultimately result in business growth and help build greater client loyalty. 

This KTP has given Higgs the chance to work with leading academics from Aston Business school and use their knowledge and expertise on operations and change management. Novel academic techniques and theoretical frameworks such as Process Oriented Holonic (PrOH) Modelling for redesigning the service lifecycles, and the Change Kaleidoscope for designing and monitoring cultural change, have been extensively applied throughout the project to create tangible business impact.

The partnership has resulted in various outcomes such as growth in revenues and profit for the firm, cultural transformation towards embracing innovative practices, an established methodology for managing and delivering change within a law firm and a number of academic and trade publications presented at national and international venues.

Working with Aston University has enabled us to access a range of expertise to develop a new approach to our business model."

Dr Ben Clegg from Aston Business School and academic lead on the project said of the KTP: “Aston Business School was delighted to work with the Higgs team on this project. It has allowed us to show that theory can work in practice to help organisations prosper at times of change and uncertainty.”

Higgs’ Director of Finance and project champion, Glyn Morris said: “This is an extremely exciting project for Higgs. We have been able to uncover insights that will change the way every lawyer thinks about price and service. Working with Aston University has enabled us to access a range of expertise to develop a new approach to our business model helping us to become sustainable in the workplace and remain ahead in a competitive market.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnership programmes aim to help businesses and organisations to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. Aston University is world renowned for excellence in applied business research. This KTP is jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Technology Strategy Board.

Higgs boasts an impressive array of clients including high profile families and individuals in the West Midlands and beyond and high quality businesses that include household PLC names.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email bpu@aston.ac.uk or call 0121 204 4242.