Why project management is becoming increasingly important to law firms

This week's post comes from the preface to my new book . The preface starts by explaining how to use the book's tools and templates to improve profitability and client service, then transitions to the material below, explaining why project management is becoming a critical component of many firms'...

Overcoming resistance to change (Part 2): Short-term wins

Last week I wrote about a simple strategy to promote change: find the feeling. Sounds great in theory, but exactly how do you do that? Of course the answer will depend on your firm's culture and on the change you are promoting. Here's one example: in many of the firms that we talk to these...

Overcoming resistance to change (Part 3): Raising the urgency level

Last week I wrote about how short-term wins can help to promote change in law firms. In the book Leading Change , John Kotter also talks about the value of "raising the urgency level," and even provides a table listing nine ways to do this in the corporate world (p. 44). While some would...

How to improve pitch meetings

A few months ago, I wrote about "The biggest mistake lawyers make when trying to develop new business" : they fail to listen. As I wrote in that post: The familiar term "pitch meeting" shows just how pervasive this mistake is. Most lawyers seem to think that when they meet with...

Time management

The simplest way to increase productivity is to manage your time better. While many time management techniques sound like common sense, that does not mean they are easy to implement. Start by identifying troublesome areas: How often are you interrupted? How do you manage disruptions? Can...

How to train lawyers in project management

Training professionals often talk about the importance of distinguishing between two types of goals: education and behavior change. Of course, almost every training program aims at both. But clients get the greatest return on their training investment when they think carefully about the tradeoffs between...

How to improve the management of legal teams (Part 1 of 4)

When lawyers participate in our Certified Legal Project Manager TM program , one of the topics that they are most interested in discussing is how to manage teams. What should you do with the associate who insists on turning over every rock? Or with the partner who consistently fails to meet deadlines...

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...

Book review: Winning legal business from medium-sized companies

Silvia Hodges' Winning Legal Business from Medium-Sized Companies is based on her Ph.D thesis at Nottingham Law School . Most legal marketing books are based on anecdotes and experience. This one is based on the type of systematic research evidence that lawyers love. (I do too.) Hodges'...

An introduction to legal project management (Part 3 of 3)

This series of posts is a slightly extended version of an article that appeared in the July 2011 issue of Managing Partner magazine . To download a PDF of the published version of my article, click here. Firms that are looking for more affordable solutions sometimes start by focusing on the...

How to manage budget risks – The example of enforcing a non-compete

This guest post was written by Richard Rosenblatt , a partner in Morgan Lewis's Labor and Employment Practice. It is an edited version of an essay he wrote as a participant in our Certified Legal Project Manager TM program . When we represent clients seeking to enforce non-competes, there are...

The nine most common types of alternative fees

When I interviewed chairmen, senior partners, and C-level executives from AmLaw 100 firms (in the LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees ), nine types of AFAs were reported most frequently: Fee caps : In a fee cap, hourly rates are charged up to an agreed maximum amount for a particular matter...

Should you use social networking to develop new business? – Part 1 of 2

Of all the topics discussed in my new book on legal business development , the role of social networking in legal marketing is the most controversial. Some experts believe that social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging and more are transforming the way lawyers develop new...

Should you use social networking to develop new business? – Part 2 of 2

The internet is full of testimonials and case studies from lawyers who have had marketing success with social media (online tools for sharing and discussing information) and social networking (groups of people with common interests mixing together on social networking sites to build relationships...

Pricing (Part 1 of 6): What lawyers need to know and why

Some law firms are going to large companies and offering to do all their legal work for one fixed price, but the firms don't know how it will work out in the long run. I suspect in some cases it will come out really ugly. This prediction was made in 2009, by a senior partner from an AmLaw...

Pricing (Part 2 of 6): The cost-plus approach

A few weeks ago, when I gave a speech at the retreat of a 1,000 lawyer firm, a senior partner asked: "In your experience, how do large firms determine costs?" I replied: "Mostly, they don't. Until recently, most firms were making so much money they didn't need to precisely...