Managing Law Firms in Transition

Managing Law Firms in Transition

Tag Archives: law firm management

The Important First Step in Law Firm Client Succession

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
Succession planning of client relationships at law firms requires a thoughtful examination of a law firm’s past, present and future.  Managing the transition of a senior lawyer’s practice to younger counterparts is not easy.  Poorly understood and executed, it can result in a loss of both valuable business and a cherished colleague.  The stakes are… 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 Common Mistakes Law Firms Make When Entering a New Market

Posted in Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
A dynamic law firm growth tactic involves opening an office in a new geographic market.  To move a firm into virgin territory requires careful thought about issues that go beyond simply hiring new lawyers.  Indeed, expanding a firm’s footprint requires many considerations, including good intelligence about the new market’s practice characteristics, bar personality and mores,… 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 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

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 Firms in the Year Ahead-Is a Good 2017 That Much of a Good Thing?

Posted in Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
 Georgetown Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession and Thompson Reuters released their annual report on the state of the legal market last week and it is, as always, informative. The 2017 Peer Monitor Report is chock full of data and analysis respecting the tendencies in the legal market. While one might conclude… 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

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

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

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

Preparing Your Law Firm for the Future-Don’t Confuse Tactics with Strategy

Posted in Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Transition
Superficial solutions to the long-term challenges law firms face are seldom lasting. The right answers only come through disciplined strategic thinking that projects beyond a looming horizon. Unfortunately, some thinking in the guise of being strategic is anything but. And for the law firms trying to position themselves past that horizon, misinterpreting motion for progress… 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

Hiring Ross As Your New Associate-Five Additional Steps for Law Firm Innovation

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition
The march of change and innovation in the legal services industry continues.  Last week it was reported that Baker Hostetler has licensed “Ross” for its bankruptcy group. Baker Hostetler’s decision to use the Ross Intelligence artificial intelligence product to perform some of the basic functions traditionally the role of associates is innovative and signals change.… Continue Reading

Law Firm Capital Contributions-How Healthy an Investment?

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Warning Signs
Recent commentary on trends among law firms has highlighted the increasing popularity of requiring greater capital contributions from owners. As Law.com‘s Nell Gluckman notes, instead of capital requirements in the 20-25% range as was common for years, law firms more frequently are jacking up the owner capital requirements into the 30-35% level. In some cases,… Continue Reading

Law Firm Focus-When Positive Financial Performance Is Not Really Positive

Posted in Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Transition
In a time of increased competition among law firms, a firm’s positive news, developments or performance always seems welcome. Peer recognition for the firm is nice. Likewise, having clients show confidence in the firm by hiring it again and again naturally is a boost of confidence. And climbing revenues and profitability is almost always viewed… 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

Managing in Today’s Changing Legal Services Market-How to Avoid Obsolescence

Posted in Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
Another year for law firms is in the books and the numbers, to state it mildly, do not signal a return to the pre-2008 halcyon days. Based on a report from the respected Georgetown Law Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, it appears that challenges to the legal profession continue and are potentially… 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
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