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Today a package of materials from a new client of mine arrived overnight, first AM delivery. The delivery surprised me and exceeded my expectation as our scheduled meeting is weeks away. There was nothing urgent about me receiving the materials, but it sure was nice to have them in hand so far in advance...

Client interviews: do-it-yourself or get outside help?

I participated earlier today in a discussion group on LinkedIn about client surveys. This posting provides a few additional comments and observations that would have made my comment on LinkedIn too long. The question concerned whether a law firm should do its own client satisfaction interviews...

MS. found in a law firm

There is a good article in the 7 May 2011 issue of The Economist, "A Less Gilded Future." Although I do not agree with a few minor points, it describes how easily a well-established law firm (in this case, the U.S. firm of Howrey, LLP) can go over the edge. The two issues that Howrey's...

In The line of Fire: Executive Pay in 2010

Join our panel of experts for a complimentary breakfast briefing and discussion of the findings from The Wall Street Journal/ Hay Group 2010 CEO compensation study. As companies faced unprecedented pressure to rein in executive pay, how did the nation's largest companies change their pay...

Building consensus in compensation: the Addleshaws case study

Another well-intentioned and innovative reform to a law firm's partner compensation system has been aborted. The senior management team at one of the United Kingdom's better-managed law firms, Addleshaw Goddard , has been forced, by what appears to be unexpectedly strong opposition from...

New legal project management book published today

The material below is an excerpt from the second edition of my Legal Project Management Quick Reference Guide , which is now available. Copies have already been shipped to purchasers from firms with a total of over 16,000 lawyers, who pre-ordered the book after the initial announcement in this blog...

The Emergence of Knowledge Analysis: Change and Knowledge Management in Large Law Firms

When: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 1:00 PM EDT Where: Webinar Presented by: The National Law Journal | Legal Times | LexisNexis ® Topics to be discussed include: The importance of traditional KM at Squire to service clients As it relates to her Employment and Education practices...

Project Management Lessons From the TEPCO Tsunami Mess

The Associated Press now has a copy of the tsunami plan for the TEPCO Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex. It's two pages long and ten years old. (The AP calls it one page, but it's a double-size page.) There's some discussion of whether two pages was enough. From a project management...

Business plans for gigantic canoes

For several months now, I and some of my colleagues in the Public and Professional Interest Division of the International Bar Association have been reviewing the business plans of the PPID committees and other entities. These groups range from very small task forces and working groups of fewer than...

Good surprises

Are you better than you think you are? One of the most unpleasant surprises in the practice of law is to learn that a client is dissatisfied with something that you believed that you did quite well. Bad news like this is unwelcome, but it can be the first step to managing a major vulnerability...

The epic failure of the world’s best presenter

Over the past few weeks I've been out and about in the legal community and seen a number of presentations from eminent QCs. The verdict was in. EPIC FAIL! Now for those of you outside the UK, Queen's Counsel (QCs) are the creme de la creme of that part of our legal profession that...

After the honeymoon

What happens when things don't work out after a merger as well as the partners had hoped? There are almost always some rough spots after any merger of two businesses. However, these can be become life-threatening for recently merged law firms, which, like most law firms, typically have lower...

While timesheets rule but chargeable hours suck

There was something deliciously ironic about me trying some new time recording software this week. It's many years after I left life as a private practice lawyer but I can still remember that huge sense of freedom at escaping the tyranny of the timesheet. The feeling of being able to work on...

How not to network

I returned from a working vacation (mostly working) to find a discussion thread on one of the social networks started by a lawyer looking to build a network with lawyers in other countries. It is not surprising that a lot of hands, mostly from solo practitioners and lawyers in small firms, have been...

A textbook example of international expansion

Allen & Overy's opening of its new office in Washington, D.C., announced today at legalweek.com demonstrates the smart way to plan and execute an international expansion strategy: Go only where you need to go, but go there with the best. The London-based global firm will build its Washington...

My Technology Wish List

By Scott Kadish Technology has revolutionized our practice. Faxes used to be the greatest thing ever, and we have moved way past faxes in the last 10 years. Technology will continue to evolve. My wish list: 1. Phones as we know them are eliminated . All phone calls will be video calls over...

Lawyers – Just. Do. Something.

It seems like there was some sort of psychic alignment in the UK legal blogging community last week. As the news came rolling in on changes facing the UK market (Neil Rose's site Legal Futures is often a good place to start), the Entrepreneur Lawyer Chrissie Lightfoot wrote a great post...

Year-end countdown: accounts receivable

As we approach the end of September, firms with fiscal years ending in December should already be taking the first steps in their year-end fee collection campaign. Your firm's billing team will probably do most of the heavy work, but in well-managed law firms the billing partner for each file...

Lawyer with a video game addiction

I just received the monthly newsletter of the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board. Not Fun and Games: Lawyer with Video Game Addiction Suspended This month's most interesting disciplinary decision is the case of Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Matthew J. Eshelman . By order dated August 17...

Getting beyond the myth of the rainmaker

Too many lawyers believe that only "natural rainmakers" can win new clients. This is possibly one of the biggest factors in poor marketing and business development in law firms. Not believing that they can be good at marketing, many lawyers discourage themselves, and sometimes are discouraged...

Year-end countdown: individual business plans

Do partners in your firm have individual business plans? My colleagues and I have observed that in some law firms the combined strength of the individual business plans of each partner can be more important that the overall quality of the firm's business plan. This is not to say that firm...

“Dead files” — but do they need to smell bad?

One of the best sources of entertainment about professional ethics is the monthly newsletter of the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania (USA) Supreme Court. Because I cannot begin to approach the wittiness of their writers, I beg their pardon for quoting this month's example of bizarre professional...

Leadership: actions and words

In September and October 2011, our firm conducted a worldwide survey about law firm leadership, as part of our ongoing support of the Law Firm Management Committee of the International Bar Association . 374 lawyers participated, more than half of whom are or have been managing partners of law firms...

The challenges of change in managing lawyer careers

Our firm is currently advising several law firms about improvements to their career management policies and procedures. In some legal markets this has become a very important strategic issue - not just one of internal human resources management. In order to make the improvements that are necessary...

Market leaders lead the market

When a group of law firm partners discusses significant changes in their respective firms, one of them will almost certainly say: "But no other firm in our market does this..." We have three responses that we ask our clients to consider: First, are you sure? We have frequently discovered...