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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...

'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...

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...

When Stealing is Good

(Hang on, we'll get to the application of this principle to Legal Project Management in a while.) To paraphrase Gordon Gecko, stealing, for want of a better word, is good... in baseball. Or so I've been trying to teach my son. "But what if I get thrown out?" he asks. ...

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...

Looking for a best friend

"Best friend" strategies really do work for law firms, but they require thorough research, a solid business case, and realistic expectations. Going global has become a two-way journey. Since the late 1990s, firms in mature legal markets in Europe and North America have looked...

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...

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...

The Tao Of Law Firm Strategy

Differentiation is getting harder for law firms. We all know that. Clients constantly state that they want their lawyers to have deeper knowledge of their business and environment. As the market changes, more and more firms are re-examining their business model and questioning how they are...

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...