Managing Partners -- who is your successor?

KPMG's Audit Committee Insights for July 14, 2010 featured a Corporate Board Member article about CEO succession planning. A new research study of 140 public and private CEOs and boards in North America released by Heidrick & Struggles and Stanford's Rock Center revealed serious planning...

The top ten ways for lawyers to increase client satisfaction

In the current economy, other lawyers will be coming after your clients. Every lawyer would therefore be well advised to increase client satisfaction and protect the relationships that ultimately pay your salary, bonus, and rent. You can't make clients too happy. Review these best practices from...

Case study of a law firm failure… and its aftermath

The final demise of the British firm Halliwells, reported last week in the on-line edition of The Lawyer , is a good case study in the financial failure of a law firm. The Lawyer summarized the factors that led to Halliwells' failure earlier this month . The failure and breakup of Halliwells is...

5 Business Development Tips For These Economic Times

It certainly is no secret that the buyers of legal services are closely scrutinizing the costs associated with outside law firms, especially during this economic downturn. There are two things that some firms recognize in that climate: first, there is a need to re-think their approach to developing business;...

'Do you come here often?'

Sometimes finding the right strategic partner is like looking for a new romance in a bar. The key to success is finding points of affinity upon which to build a relationship, whether for the rest of the evening or for a lifetime. This is a second of a series of posts about common mistakes law firms...

Starting Young Pays Big Dividends: Increasing Business Development for Female Associates

This article was co-written by Janet Brichard, Transformation Management Women associates who learn business development skills can become significant business generators as they hone their legal skills. Based on a study of 426 women attorneys, we find that 53% of survey participants report that one...

Legal Spending Is Down, Opportunities and Project Management Will Rise

An article in Tuesday's ABA Journal online reports that legal departments cut spending for the first time in 10 years. This is based on the Hildebrandt Baker Robbins 2010 Law Department Survey. The results are significant because the 9 previous yearly surveys showed a 5% to 9% increase each year...

Two very important new articles on psychology and law firm management

My partner, Lisa M. Walker Johnson , has recently written two articles applying counseling psychology to two important challenges to law firm management. Until Death...or Retirement: Thinking Differently About the End of a Law Firm Career This is a pioneering consideration of how a trend toward...

Managing Social Media in Your Law Firm | The Next Big Thing

We've come a long way, baby! Three years ago, when I founded my company Law Gravity , I talked to a lot of law firms about their "plans" for using social media. Their response: "What plans?" There were firms that had a blog or two, but few looked beyond into opportunities presented...

All the ingredients, but no cake

My colleagues and I at Walker Clark, LLC, occasionally encounter a law firm that should be much more successful than it is. It has all of the ingredients: Smart, experienced lawyers Admirable dedication to the client An almost religious devotion to professional excellence A strong work...

I hope that I am wrong, but…

In the past few weeks a number of our firm's clients have asked me what our firm thinks about the economic outlook for the United States in 2011. I have to be less than optimistic about 2011. As Paul Krugman pointed out in his column in yesterday's New York Times , the U.S. economy is still...

Six steps to better budgets (Part 2 of 2)

Step 4: Look for ways to lower costs In the current competitive environment, if your budget perfectly reflects past history, it may not be low enough to win the work. For many years, there was little pressure on lawyers to lower costs or to work more efficiently. Then the economy headed south, and...

Getting serious about associate profitability

Associate profitability could be the most important management issue for many - maybe even most - law firms over the next three to five years. One of the central features of law firms that have managed to increase profits against declining fee revenues has been a serious inquiry into the profitability...

Risky business

The new year brings an upsurge in risky business. To hire a partner from another law firm is one of the riskiest decisions that lawyers and law firms make. As we begin the new year we are already observing an upsurge in lateral recruiting and hiring of law firm partners. This is the time when partners...

The 10% Solution

I was recently asked about the improvements that law firms can expect to achieve when they establish a serious quality assurance program. "Does all this quality stuff really produce results?" We need to be clear that quality assurance is not just a lot of slogans or exhortations to the...

Why take the risk?

This is a the second in a series of nine posts about successful - and profitable - innovation in law firms. As readers of this blog already have observed, Walker Clark, LLC, takes a strong risk-management approach to many aspects of law firm strategy and management. However, we also recognize that...

Prudent planning for innovation

This is the fifth in a series of nine postings about successful innovation in law firms. Today we look at the third secret of successful innovation. Write a conservative plan. Conservative - even skeptical - planning might seem to be antithetical to concepts of energetic innovation; but it is actually...

How to improve the management of legal teams (Part 2 of 4)

Legal teams come in so many shapes and sizes that it is impossible to come up with a short list of rules that apply to every case. But if you review all the ideas discussed in this series, you are sure to come up with a few action items that could help manage your legal team more efficiently. Part...

How to improve the management of legal teams (Part 3 of 4)

Rule # 4: Evaluate the competition "I don't believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be prepared to play a good game." - Tom Landry Evaluating the competition is second nature...

How to improve the management of legal teams (Part 4 of 4)

Rule # 8: Motivate the players "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." George S. Patton Rule #1 in this series was to identify what drives your team: the inherent intellectual challenge of legal matters, the relationships...

Are you at risk of losing a client? 10 diagnostic questions

As my colleagues and I interview the clients of law firms, we hear a consistent set of complaints about the service that they receive from law firms. Here is a short checklist to help law firms consider whether they have the basic management structures and systems in place to allow them to keep...

Law Firm Staff: Overlooked Marketers

Most employees of law firms are in a great position to help in the firm's business development efforts - or help damage them. A lot of that depends on how they are treated, how much that love or hate their job, and are otherwise engaged in the business of the law firm. This is particularly...

What lawyers can learn from the high standards at Niman Ranch

Last night I attended a special event at Abacus , one of my favorite Dallas restaurants -- a Niman Ranch dinner hosted by chef Kent Rathbun and Niman Ranch farmer, Paul Willis. If you enjoy four and five-star restaurants, you will be familiar with Niman Ranch products and its mission of: "...

Clients Still Hire Lawyers Not Law Firms, So Get Off Your Duff!

Over the years I have met many a lawyer who wasn't into marketing or sales. The reason: the firm will do it. Well, the firm can't do it. Individual lawyers must, because clients continue to hire lawyers, not law firms. In a recent article entitled "How to Make It Rain By Marketing...

LexisNexis Introduces Due Diligence Dashboard

LexisNexis is pleased to provide you with yet another tool to manage your risks and provide exceptional client service : Due Diligence Dashboard! What is Due Diligence Dashboard (DDD) and what does it do? LexisNexis® Due Diligence Dashboard (DDD) empowers law firms to mitigate their financial...