Managing Law Firms in Transition

Managing Law Firms in Transition

Category Archives: Law Firm Crisis

Subscribe to Law Firm Crisis RSS Feed

Relieving Pressure in the Law Firm Restructure/Turnaround

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision. – Peter Drucker We have previously written  about the unique nature of the law firm turnaround and how commitment from owners is one of the keys to turnaround success. In Part 2 we will look at resource management (or cost management) as a… Continue Reading

Denial and Law Firm Demise

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Uncategorized
“Hope is the denial of reality. It is the carrot dangled before the draft horse to keep him plodding along in a vain attempt to reach it.”  – Margaret Weis Most business people are familiar with Built to Last and Good to Great, both terrific books by Jim Collins. He published a less known book, How The… Continue Reading

Is it Time to Restructure/Reposition Your Law Firm?

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Uncategorized
One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!    Winston Churchill Law Firms, like all… Continue Reading

The Makings of an Exceptional Law Firm Leader

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
A few weeks ago I shared some thoughts on the pivotal role leaders play in a post titled, “The Role of Leadership in Law Firm Success or Failure.” In today’s post, in an effort specifically designed to help identify the quality leader, I want to point to what we believe to be clear leadership characteristics.… Continue Reading

Five Leadership Steps for Confronting Law Firm Crisis

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Law firm crisis can surface at any time.  Its roots can be deep within the firm, or can be the outcome of unforeseen developments. However, or whenever it arises, the affected law firm must react promptly and strategically. A tardy reaction, or a misstep in action, can leave a firm in great danger and on… Continue Reading

Five Signs Your Law Firm Needs New Energy

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
Law firms that lack energy dim their prospects for the future.  Too often law firms pass over the issue of their own vibrancy (whether by a failure of recognition or simple indifference) and plod along without taking corrective action.  A becalmed law firm, especially in these times of legal industry disruption, is flirting with danger.… Continue Reading

Law Firm Departures 2016/2017: A Likely Source of Disputes

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
(As many law firms see their fiscal year close simultaneously with the calendar year-end, the risk of partner departures rise.  The lessons identified in the March 2015 blog Law Firm Departures: A Likely Source of Disputes have not lost their relevance as 2016 closes and 2017 begins.  That blog is reprinted here in its entirely) Most law firms… Continue Reading

Avoiding the Unplanned Law Firm Closure-Five Steps Every Law Firm Should Take

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Liquidation, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
As the calendar year comes to a close, there is a lot to do at most law firms. Activities like collecting bills, distributing profits and casting next year’s budget can occupy many a leadership team. The tasks at hand can be time consuming and all engrossing. Given the importance of these short-term issues, thinking about… Continue Reading

Is Your Law Firm’s Market Disappearing?

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
  There continue to be reports addressing the challenges facing the legal profession related to a falling demand for legal services and the increasing number of alternatives to traditional law firms. At a macro level the demand for legal services has been flat to negative for the last decade. While larger firms have faired slightly… Continue Reading

Opportunity and the Law Firm Turnaround

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity. John F. Kennedy   The Crisis at Kaye Scholer I was sitting reviewing law business related articles recently. As the stories of doom and gloom and struggling law firms big and small continue to occupy… Continue Reading

Managing Excess Law Firm Growth-Spinning Off the Struggling Office

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Law firm growth is a popular strategy or tactic among law firms seeking to compete in today’s ultra competitive legal services market.  Growth often is achieved through mergers, practice group acquisitions and lateral hiring.  And in some cases, the growth initiatives result in new offices being opened in markets previously not served.  New offices create… Continue Reading

Denial and Turning Around The Troubled Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
Hope is the denial of reality – Margaret Weis       As a law firm in decline continues to struggle, there are two primary scenarios in which denial furthers the rate, or degree, of decline: undervaluing the risk associated with a significant undertaking; or disregarding mounting evidence of decline. Denying the Risk Associated With… Continue Reading

Lexit: How to Respond to Lawyer Exodus from Your Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Modest attrition at law firms is to be expected-it happens continually and few firms are exempt. But when the lawyer departures spike, or the particular resignations are from your most important lawyers, management must respond quickly. Lawyer departures don’t just happen for any reason. Unexpected and damaging departures often can be traced to problems a… Continue Reading

Is Your Law Firm Slipping Into Trouble

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! Winston Churchill   The first key… Continue Reading

Addressing Your Law Firm’s Declining Demand Through Change-Five Considerations

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Although pockets of law firms are enjoying increased demand, revenues and profitability, the general news about the industry as a whole is tepid. A recent article by Chris Mondics about law firm financial performance cites a common problem these days of law firms lacking enough work to keep their lawyers busy. The article (drawing on… Continue Reading

Boomer Law Firms: Some Demographic Challenges

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
Ward Bower’s Existential Threats to Law Firms provides an excellent review about a few of the economic and demographic issues that threaten today’s law firms. As Mr. Bower notes, some of the law firms previously fixtures in league tables and in the AmLaw 200 have either failed, been acquired or otherwise have disappeared from view-all… Continue Reading

Is Your Law Firm in Transition

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
  With the on-going market challenges associated with the legal profession, firm leadership is smart to periodically stop and evaluate the state of the firm. Is it in a transitional state? Here are four questions that can help serve as a baseline diagnostic. Is your firm: Facing a decision that addresses the fundamental way the… Continue Reading

5 Easy Steps to Destroying a Perfectly Good Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
It has become an all too frequent occurrence — the story of yet another law firm closing its doors. The headlines rarely convey everything — displaced personnel, inconvenienced clients, and the pain and disruption for the firm’s owners. What drives this result? How has this become almost commonplace? I believe any one of five things… Continue Reading

Kirkland’s Attrition is a Case Study for All Law Firms, Big and Small

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
The American Lawyer article about recent attrition at Kirkland & Ellis gained attention in no small part because Kirkland’s reputation for success runs counter to the idea that people want to leave. While departures from even the most successful firms is inevitable, the depth of attrition at Kirkland reported by The American Lawyer was surprising.… Continue Reading

A Five Step Process For Turning Around the Small to Medium Sized Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
Bold headlines tend to focus on the spectacular failures. But consequential transition — even crisis — are equally traumatic for the small to medium sized law firm. Given the fact that fewer partners must carry the load, the impact across the smaller firm may be even more intensely felt. If you are part of the… Continue Reading

Seeing Softness in Demand? Steps for Law Firm Stability

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
One current report signals that the legal services market is suffering from a decline in demand. Reed Smith’s inabilities to keep its full complement of lawyers busy lead it to layoff 45 lawyers recently. According to Peter Zeughauser of the Zeughauser Group, other firms have been stealthily bleeding layoffs here and there for some time. Altman… Continue Reading

Like Divorce, Law Firm Crisis is More Likely as the New Year Starts-Reprised

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
(This post previously appeared on January 15, 2015 and noted some of the similarities between marital divorce and one of the more extreme forms of law firm transition-breakup.  As we reach the end of 2015, for some firms the joy of another year completed may be supplanted by the tension and stress that often accompanies a… Continue Reading

Merger As A Solution for the Underperforming Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Merger, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
  As we approach the close of another year, a number of law firms are finding themselves underperforming relative to peer firms. For some, it is deja vu…for the second, third or fourth consecutive year. You don’t need anyone to tell you that this is not a great way to venture into a new year.… Continue Reading
.