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To determine the financial stability of a law firm, how far should legal departments inquire?

When coalescing its group of outside counsel into a smaller number of primary firms or selecting a firm for a multi-year commitment, a law department rightfully wants to select firms that are financially solid, that will prosper during the term of the agreement. That desire prompts questions in the Request...

The keys to new business in a changing economy (Part 1 of 2)

When the economy changes, lawyers must change too. New client demands and new levels of competition are requiring lawyers to rethink the way they develop business. When I wrote the book Legal Business Development: A Step by Step Guide a few years ago, I outlined the steps each lawyer should take to find...

The keys to new business in a changing economy (Part 2 of 2)

Whether you choose to focus on current clients and referral sources or to spend your time looking for new ones, the marketing tactic that is most critical in this changing economy is increasing the value you provide. This need is hardly limited to the legal world. In his book, What the Customer Wants...

The Revenue Impact of Alternative Fees (Part 2 of 2)

Last month, Of Counsel, the Legal Practice and Management Report , published an article based on The LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees , which they described as "the most lucid and comprehensive study that we have seen on this topic." This post reproduces the second part of the article...

In-house law departments and trust

When I published the results of our national survey of alternative fees, one of the most discouraging sections concerned the lack of trust between in-house law departments and the firms that serve them. Although the interviews were focused on alternative fees, the findings also have implications for...

What every lawyer needs to know about project management, Part 2 of 5

Is it possible to control the costs of legal matters? While some lawyers have been working on a fixed price basis for years, others still believe that fixed fees simply cannot be applied to complex legal matters. The cost of defending a suit may be very low if your opponent is willing to settle early...

Fear of Facebook Part III: Fan Pages for Law Firms?

"There's a lot of business done in country clubs, but you'll never see a company open a booth in the club's dining room. Instead, individual business people network quietly there, blending into the scene and using the social atmosphere to their advantage. That's how I feel about...

What every lawyer needs to know about project management, Part 4 of 5

If we lived in a perfect world with unlimited resources, no one would need project managers. But here on Earth, resources are limited and managers are constantly forced to make difficult choices. For example, when computer programmers develop a new product, no matter how good the product may be, someone...

Legal Project Management (Part 5): Six Sigma and Lean

When I started this series of posts, I thought it would have only five parts. However, a significant amount of new information has been published on this topic since I started the series a few weeks ago, so I will continue with several additional posts. When experts talk about increasing legal efficiency...

Legal Project Management (Part 6) – Budget problems and solutions

Many lawyers believe that it is simply not possible to predict the costs of complex legal matters. As the managing partner of a firm with more than 1,000 lawyers put it in The LegalBizDev Survey of Alternative Fees : [Some] litigators say [a fixed fee] just doesn't work at all, because who knows...

Law Firm Branding: Hocus Pocus or Results?

Baker McKenzie beat Skadden in gross revenues in the 2010 AmLaw 200 list taking over the top spot for the first time since 1994. That's a big deal, I guess. Ben Hallman writes in " Behind the Numbers : A Change at the Top", ( The American Lawyer , April 19,2010) that Baker McKenzie,...

Legal Project Management (Part 8): McDermott’s Deal Dashboard

If you believe what's been written on the web lately, you'd think that the idea of applying project management principles to legal matters was brand new. In fact, however, some lawyers have been focused on these ideas for years, developing new tactics and tools, often under the radar. For...

10 Cheap But Effective Marketing Tips For Today's Realities

Earlier this year there was an article by Jessica Sharp published in The Legal Intelligencer , and republished this week on Law.com's Small Firm Business . Since the "10 Tips for Lower-Cost Law Firm Marketing" don't get old with age, their worth mentioning. They include (with my...

How to Write a Blog Post: content ideas for lawyers who blog.

Setting up a blog is easy. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you, it will probably be the last easy thing you do in your life as a lawyer who blogs. The rest of your life as a lawyer who blogs will revolve around an empty white box-a box longing to be filled with your nifty ideas...

Are Your Web Site Images Effective?

Marketing professionals have for years gotten a pretty good laugh over the too often used pictures lawyers have on their web sites (and brochures). That is, courthouses, gavels, scales of justice, law books, etc . Can't remember if I've mentioned before how boring and predictable these images...

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;...