The legal industry has done exceptionally well in response to the challenges brought by the global health crisis. According to a managing partner of a boutique legal search firm, many law firms were able to realize strong gains
Roger Hayse is a founding Director of Hayse LLC. For 30 years he has closely advised law firm management and legal industry service providers. His career is highlighted by consistently providing the counsel and leadership critical to successful law firm transitions. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and authored the 2002 book "Law Firm Strategy".
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…
Well-run businesses, including law firms, stay abreast of changes in the marketplace by monitoring shifting client needs. Successful businesses track the initiatives of competitors and seek to secure the premium assets needed to compete. For law firms, that means keeping clients, getting new ones, and preserving the talent in the workforce.
There are many ways to achieve this, but for nearly all law firms it includes staying focused on the bottom line. If a law firm operates profitably, it can be more responsive to its client’s needs, it can respond to its competition, it can innovate where appropriate and necessary, and it can retain its most valuable attorneys. Call it “staying focused,” “being on top of things,” or “keeping your eye on the ball”—each speaks to operating as if nothing is assured. Yesterday’s success is no guarantee of tomorrow’s survival.
A successful law firm is a busy one. New clients are landed, matters are opened, and legal advice gets delivered. The success enjoyed may be traced to the principles that drove the firm’s formation, the drive of the lawyers that came together as a firm, or a little of both. A brisk practice might also be due to increasing client demand. Whatever the impetus for the good fortune, few law firm leaders are naïve enough to assume that present success is a guarantee of future prosperity.
But if the fleeting nature of success is recognized, why do some firms fail to sustain the momentum they worked so hard to build?
Sustaining a law firm’s success, or even just ensuring that a firm survives, is a challenge faced by every law firm—every day of every year. And wherever the significance of the task is understood, focused and dedicated leadership can act and plan in firm-sustaining ways. For some firms, however, finding a way to continue the good times escapes leadership’s attention. And a struggling firm is an unstable one, less and less able to sustain its reputation and market position and increasingly putting itself at great risk.
Four fundamental lessons, if followed, can reduce risk and improve a law firm’s chances of surviving.
Continue Reading Thoughts on Building Long-Term Law Firm Health
Growth through lateral additions is a hit or miss proposition at best. Numerous survey reports indicate that far fewer that 50% of lateral additions meet the expectations of the hiring firm. There are a number of reasons for this poor performance. Three that almost always foreshadow disappointment in the near term include:
- Exaggerated estimation of
Following a pandemic driven drop in the number of law firm mergers in 2020, based on what our practice is seeing, 2021 will see a substantial increase in combinations. It seems like scarcely a week passes without an announcement of another law firm merger.
We have been particularly interested in the pending Thompson Knight…
The first: last week, Bruce Matson, former General Counsel of LeClair Ryan, reportedly (subscription required) admitted embezzling $2.5 million dollars from a client trust account.
The second situation relates to a…
The fact is, no single factor has a greater impact on the success or failure of a business than the quality of its leadership. During a period of increasing change in the legal services industry a well-defined…
First generation law firm leaders find themselves confronted by a classic “good news-bad-news reality.” The good news is that they are nearing the end of what for many has been a rewarding career. The bad? Most have no clear path of succession— for client relationships or leadership responsibilities.
There are a host of reasons…