Managing Law Firms in Transition

Managing Law Firms in Transition

Category Archives: Law Firm Crisis

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Minimizing the Risk of an Unexpected 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
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 At Risk?

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs, Uncategorized
Don’t waste your time trying to control the uncontrollable, or trying to solve the unsolvable, or think about what could have been. Instead, think about what you can control and solve the problem you can solve with the wisdom you have gained from both your victories and your defeats in the past.  – David Mahoney… Continue Reading

Five Warning Signs That Your Law Firm is Headed for Uncertain Times

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Growth, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
As business organizations go, law firms are different because they can face greater stability challenges.  Sure, law firms with iconic names seem to rock along year after year.  But for every bedrock firm there are others that struggle to survive.  And even some of the firms regarded for their steady state are like the proverbial… Continue Reading

Is it Time? Five Developments That Demand Action from Law Firm Leaders

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
Running a law firm successfully is no easy task.  It is a multi-dimensional effort that requires leadership, discipline, vision, and some luck.  Getting all firm lawyers to row a boat in unison can be tough.  Even if some of the oars irregularly go into the water, progress is still possible. When attentive leaders work hard… Continue Reading

Law Firm Merger-A Way to Solve the Succession Dilemma

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Merger, Law Firm Succession, Law Firm Transition
For many law firms, succession to the next generation presents a formidable and daunting challenge.  Leadership may have been too busy to plan ahead for succession.  Turnover at the firm may have dealt a blow to the goal of grooming someone to step in as the next leader.  Sometimes the next generation’s business development abilities… Continue Reading

Merger and the Underperforming Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Merger, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Uncategorized
As firms consider their strategic position , 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 navigate in this increasingly volatile environment. A… Continue Reading

Underperforming Law Firms Risk Failure

Posted in Law Firm Crisis, Law Firm Repositioning/Turnaround/Restructuring, Law Firm Transition, Law Firm Warning Signs
The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year. — John Foster Dulles Former Secretary of State    We’ve Got Trouble…With A Capital “T” Most law firms go through a similar cycle. Initially partners share an almost blind… Continue Reading

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
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