Managing Law Firms in Transition

Managing Law Firms in Transition

Category Archives: Law Firm Leadership

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Improving the Odds with Law Firm Expansion

Posted in Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Merger, Law Firm Transition
  Virtually every week brings news about law firm expansion.  The news is exciting and of great interest in and out of the legal services industry. Although the firms that report lateral hires, mergers and acquisitions and new office openings are pleased with their news to share, the passage of time proves that not all… Continue Reading

Law Firm Succession Planning-Things Small Firms Can Do Just Like the Big Firms

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition, Uncategorized
Is the grass greener on the other side?  Some small firm leaders envy perceived advantages enjoyed by bigger firms.  Leadership at big firms likewise can be found yearning for simpler times when their firms were smaller and the issues seemed simpler.  Regardless of size, all law firms must work hard to succeed, especially in a… Continue Reading

Scoping Out Future Law Firm Upheaval-Four Places to Look

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs, Uncategorized
Law firms perpetually are in transition. In our changing legal environment, transition can arise when business strategy requires adjustment, merger is considered, layoffs are implemented, lateral hiring is pursued, leadership succession is at hand (see Cultivating the Next Generation), crisis arises or firm wind-up is decided and implemented. In addressing any transitional event and the… Continue Reading

Finding Your Next Law Firm Leader-What to Look for?

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
  The legal services industry is awash with profitability challenges, calls for innovation, and non-traditional entrants.  Long-time law firm clients are expecting more from their law firms at the same time they weigh the option of moving work in-house or assigning it to alternative providers.  Since 2008 flat demand and financial stress have fueled reactive… Continue Reading

The Challenge of Evaluating Law Firm Leaders

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
Improvement — in any position in any organization — begins with and is dependent on periodic feedback and performance evaluation. Without the objective assessment that comes with these two elements, attention to areas in need of focus is limited. Improvement is left to the realizations that arise from self-reflection. It is a paradox that organizational… Continue Reading

No Law Firm Succession Plan? Five Options

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
A Forbes article entitled Law Firm Leadership Survey:  Top Strategic Initiatives of 2017 shared some interesting information about the burning and not so burning issues for today’s law firm leaders.  The information was assembled through the work of David J. Parnell (the author of the Forbes article) and noted legal consultant Patrick J. McKenna. The… Continue Reading

Four Signs Your Law Firm is Not Ready for Leadership Succession

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
At many law firms that recognize the need for succession planning, preparation for leadership succession receives too little attention. Succession planning can languish for various reasons. In some instances, the press of regular law firm business distracts existing leadership from the issue. In other cases, the topic is an uncomfortable one so discussions are avoided.… Continue Reading

Law Firm Succession-A Future Leader’s Job Description

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
The topic of law firm succession is a hot one-discussed daily by commentators and law firm leaders alike. Of course, succession comes in two primary forms; client relationship succession and leadership succession. For many firm leaders, client relationship succession seems to have a heightened priority. But given the changing nature of the legal industry, a… Continue Reading

Law Firm Succession – Does Your Firm Care Enough

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Succession
  Succession planning isn’t for everyone. If your law firm doesn’t have interest in long-term, multi-generational, viability (never mind the whole idea of legacy, which seems increasingly out of vogue) then this post isn’t really for you. It should be acknowledged that a firm doesn’t have to transition from one generation to the next if… Continue Reading

Small Law Firms and Rough Seas-Navigating the Years Ahead

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
As December ends and January dawns, report cards on the legal profession are issued and crystal balls are studied. This year is no different with many articles offering assessments of the industry’s current state and its prospects. Two pieces recently written about the industry’s present and the future are worth review. Mark A. Cohen’s Something’s… Continue Reading

Will 2017 Bring You a Stronger Law Firm?

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
As we enter the New Year, chances are good you’re dealing with a predictable slate of demands on your time: setting compensation and budgets; managing details associated with the latest departure; and interviewing this week’s lateral prospect. All important activities, and worthy of serious attention; but none of these is likely to make the firm… Continue Reading

How Do You Measure Successful Law Firm Growth?

Posted in Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Merger
  I have shared numerous posts focusing on the dismal performance associated with non-organic law firm growth — that is, growth achieved through merger or lateral hiring. An excellent recent post by Eric Dewey, has prompted me to focus on a critical aspect of the lateral/merger conversation. Peter Drucker, (credited as the founder of modern… Continue Reading

Improving Your Law Firm’s Growth Prospects-The Importance of Discipline

Posted in Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Merger, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
  For many law firms client expectations, increased competition (from traditional and non-traditional sources) and unreliable demand present formidable challenges. These challenges can be compounded as a firm’s senior lawyers age and succession gets added to a firm’s “to do” list. Some firms have responded to these issues by growing through lateral hiring or merger… 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

Six Keys To Integration Planning and the Successful Law Firm Merger

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Merger, Law Firm Transition
We have discussed the substantial challenges associated with law firm mergers and their woeful success rate in previous posts. But a frequently overlooked piece of a successful merger — an element that warrants serious attention — is a comprehensive integration plan. Combining two groups of people, their clients, processes and systems is a daunting task… Continue Reading

Preparing Your Law Firm to Compete in a Changing World

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
As staid and conservative lawyers and their profession may seem, it is undeniable that change is a part of their world. The change that has confronted the legal profession since the collapse of 2008 has garnered a lot of press, but lawyers and their firms have had to adjust to an altering world for a… Continue Reading

Culture and Law Firm Stability

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring
  When you see the word “Culture” used in a discussion about today’s law firm environment, what comes to mind? A metric defying intangible that, though referenced in reverent tones in firm literature, bears little relevance to the bottom-line? Or, as a palpable reality that impacts human resources? Or as something in-between? Here’a a working… Continue Reading

Law Firms Today-The Downside to an Unearned Raising of Rates

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Over the last two weeks some attention has been given to the topic of law firms raising rates. Bill Josten recently wrote about information coming from Thomson Reuters’ Legal Executive Institute and Peer Monitor that suggests that raising rates may undermine firms’ goals of greater profitability. A similar report followed, also drawing on Thomson Reuters’… Continue Reading

Law Firms Today-Preparing for an Uncertain Future

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
Forbes’ article Cab Companies and Law Firms Are Taking the Same Route presents the provocative view that law firms face disruptive innovation similar to the kind experienced over the last eight years by cab companies. Ride sharing innovation through the likes of Uber, Lyft and others has undermined the once financially formidable cab business. The… Continue Reading

Challenges of a Law Firm leader

Posted in Law Firm Leadership
In a previous post I suggested some of the unique characteristics associated with effective law firm leadership. Today, let’s look at the unique dilemma facing a law firm leader. First of all, it should be noted that there is a clear correlation between the size and practice diversity of a law firm and the amount… Continue Reading
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