Law firm management
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Law firm management
Law firms face unprecedented change. Increasing regulation; greater competition; and more demanding clients. This stream looks at solutions, challenges ad opinions - and offers suggestions
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Ten tips to successfully audit your internal business operations

Ten tips to successfully audit your internal business operations | Law firm management | Scoop.it
An internal analysis can identify how employees are performing, what is working and what needs to be improved and can ultimately help set the organization up for success
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Some great ideas to review how you do what you do.

 

From having readable process manuals to getting employees involved in driving change, and suggesting we shape the future rather than immerse ourselves in the past.

 

Well worth reading.

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John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's curator insight, June 2, 2013 1:08 PM

Some great ideas to review how you do what you do.

 

From having readable process manuals to getting employees involved in driving change, and suggesting we shape the future rather than immerse ourselves in the past.

 

Well worth reading.

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"Are You Mad at Me?"

"Are You Mad at Me?" | Law firm management | Scoop.it
That surprising question packed a powerful lesson.A colleague I had worked with over the years came up to me in the hallway and asked if we could talk in a conference room. Sure, I said, wondering
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Worth thinking about - your public face becomes others weather forecast. 

Think about how you face the world, and how the world might interpret your world... 

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John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's curator insight, June 2, 2013 12:53 PM

Interesting article - one that chimes with me for pretty much the same reasons.


I would add that there's a similar lesson for those at Executive or Board level who come out of their meetings - formal as in Board; and informal discussions, too. One Board heard a presentation from me regarding some work I'd done for them, telling them they had some great advantages over their competitors; respected products; and a world-class reputation. However, I also confirmed that their costs were too high largely because their operations weren't taking full advantage of some of the technology they had bought, and so they were less efficient than the competition.


The Directors left the room with some great news about them, and an open opportunity to improve profits. However, their serious misdemeanour after a consultant had presented for an hour left many in the company worried for their jobs. The issue was spotted quickly (their culture was positive) and the matter smoothed over. That story became part of my signing off for new client work. Not every organisation can be so fortunate

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Law Practice Management: Is Passive Management Sinking Your Firm

Law Practice Management: Is Passive Management Sinking Your Firm | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Is anybody steering the ship at your law firm? Many smaller firms I've visited seem to have a passive practice management style, says Mark Bassigthwaighte.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Passive Management. Or, as I too frequently see, passive/aggressive management, where promises are made by every partner to each other that "something must change", and no-one does anything. Often until very late.

 

And in the current challenging economic, financial and regulatory times, there's far too uch going on which requires *active* management...

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Law firms missing out on SME work over cost concerns, LSB study finds

Law firms missing out on SME work over cost concerns, LSB study finds | Law firm management | Scoop.it
More than half of small businesses are handling their own legal matters amid widespread concerns about the value for money offered by law firms, according to a major...
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Client perception is the reality that law firms must deal with. No matter how well a lawyer thinks they can explain why they must charge by the hour, clients hear "unlimited costs". And when clients have to husband their resources and cash, they're less likely to want to hand control over to a lawyer.

 

Better communication, anyone? Improved legal processes? Legal Process Management, even? Perhaps. Some law firms get this; most don't. Shame.

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Should Legal Education Reform Include Law Practice Management Skills? | MyCase Blog

Should Legal Education Reform Include Law Practice Management Skills? | MyCase Blog | Law firm management | Scoop.it

Stephen Harper’s latest book “The Lawyer Bubble.” discusses what he believes to be a looming crisis facing the legal profession, caused in part by the ailing economy and our profession’s failure to respond to the changing times.


He suggests, among other things, that solutions include revising law firm structures and reforming legal education, in part by incorporating “practical skills” into law school teachings. 

John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Interestingly, although much further down the blog, 'practical skills' and 'practice management' skills also get a mention.

 

Yet many law firms are turning to professional managers to help them run their business. Wouldn;t it be just great if lawyers could be trained to manage business as well. For some, that's just too enlightened - lawyers have the innate intellectual capability to manage businesses. Apparently.

 

Except that's not how they're trained...

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Pricing – an emerging role in law firms - Totum

Pricing – an emerging role in law firms - Totum | Law firm management | Scoop.it
With pricing strategy becoming so critical to maintaining law firm profit, we have a strong sense that a specialist pricing role and function is likely to emerge over the coming years in many of the more sophisticated law firms...
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Pricing, process and project management. That's all with the term "Legal" in front, of course...

 

Read how one of the leading legal sector recruiters views this market, and its increasing importance to those law firms interested in being successful businesses.

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Launch of Coventry's largest law firm Band Hatton Button celebrated at St Mary’s Guildhall

Launch of Coventry's largest law firm Band Hatton Button celebrated at St Mary’s Guildhall | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Band Hatton, Button Legal and Varley Hibbs have now officially merged to create Band Hatton Button (incorporating Varley Hibbs)
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Congratulations. Good to read of a successful merger.

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Desperate PI firms breaking referral fee ban – AXA chief | The Law Gazette

Personal injury law firms are continuing to pay referral fees for cases weeks after the ban came into force, a leading insurer has alleged.

 

David Fisher, claims technical manager for the UK’s fifth largest motor insurer AXA, told a parliamentary event that existing legislation is not enough to prevent non-compliance with the ban

John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

We're hardly surprised. The SRA will pick up non-compliance in its usual regulatory work. How?

 

One the one hand, we have sympathy for those whose business has dried up, and are in desperate straits. However, there has been plenty of notice, and it's not yet clear how many took notice. Or contingency planned. Or, as we're seeing, business planning.

 

On balance, though - the only crime remains getting caught. It's a paradox that those breaking the rules are lawyers...

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Law firm takeover will lead to jobs boost for Shrewsbury ...

Law firm takeover will lead to jobs boost for Shrewsbury ... | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Up to 12 jobs will be created within three years following the takeover of a law firm in Shrewsbury, it has been revealed.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

In very good - and somewhat unusually - law firm merger leads to *new* jobs being created. The start of a trend, or simply extraordinary?

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Inside Straight: The Shoemaker's Children Going Barefoot - Above the Law

Inside Straight: The Shoemaker's Children Going Barefoot - Above the Law | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Above the Law Inside Straight: The Shoemaker's Children Going Barefoot Above the Law I wrote a year ago about one example of law firms ignoring their own advice: An English firm advised my corporation that we should eliminate all client...
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Amusing yet thoughtful article asking how law firms can tell businesses what they can and cannot not do to stay within the law...and then those same law firms flout the same laws.

 

Why is that? Could it be that some lawyers think the law doesn't apply to them. Surely not. Is it, though, symptomatic of the oft-quoted view that lawyers don't think of themselves as businessmen or women, but as lawyers. And thus, outside of the normal concerns of businesses...?

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Slater & Gordon in UK takeover triple as listed firm plans $64m raising

Slater & Gordon in UK takeover triple as listed firm plans $64m raising | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Slater & Gordon is set to continue its push into the UK market with the proposed $35.5m (£23.3m) triple acquisition of personal injury (PI) law firms Simpson Millar,...

Via Sally Calverley
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

More ambition from Slater and Gordon. Good to see some overseas faith in the UK market...

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Sally Calverley's curator insight, May 7, 2013 6:54 AM

Clear Strategy, brand and the finance to support their aspirations - Slater and Gordon continue their growth in the UK

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SRA investigates collapsed law firm Calibre - The Business Desk (registration)

SRA investigates collapsed law firm Calibre - The Business Desk (registration) | Law firm management | Scoop.it
The Business Desk (registration) SRA investigates collapsed law firm Calibre The Business Desk (registration) THE Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched an investigation into Calibre Solicitors, a Salford-based personal injury law firm...
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Another law firm collapse (and again, in or near Manchester!) brought to the #SRA by client complaints...

 

More problems; more intervention, more cost!

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Partner profits rise as law firms cut equity partners, statistics confirm - ABA Journal

Partner profits rise as law firms cut equity partners, statistics confirm - ABA Journal | Law firm management | Scoop.it
A decade of statistics confirm that America’s top law firms are shrinking their proportion of equity partners relative to overall lawyers, and the cuts are often improving profits per partner.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Fewer equity partners, when combined with higher profits and increased leverage, brings about greater profit per partner shock.

 

But how many law firms look to and then manage out their lower-performig partners, as a way to do just that? It's an increasing trend in the US. WIll it happen here?

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"Are You Mad at Me?"

"Are You Mad at Me?" | Law firm management | Scoop.it
That surprising question packed a powerful lesson.A colleague I had worked with over the years came up to me in the hallway and asked if we could talk in a conference room. Sure, I said, wondering

Via John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders
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John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's curator insight, June 2, 2013 12:53 PM

Interesting article - one that chimes with me for pretty much the same reasons.


I would add that there's a similar lesson for those at Executive or Board level who come out of their meetings - formal as in Board; and informal discussions, too. One Board heard a presentation from me regarding some work I'd done for them, telling them they had some great advantages over their competitors; respected products; and a world-class reputation. However, I also confirmed that their costs were too high largely because their operations weren't taking full advantage of some of the technology they had bought, and so they were less efficient than the competition.


The Directors left the room with some great news about them, and an open opportunity to improve profits. However, their serious misdemeanour after a consultant had presented for an hour left many in the company worried for their jobs. The issue was spotted quickly (their culture was positive) and the matter smoothed over. That story became part of my signing off for new client work. Not every organisation can be so fortunate

John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's curator insight, June 2, 2013 12:56 PM

Worth thinking about - your public face becomes others weather forecast. 

Think about how you face the world, and how the world might interpret your world... 

Scooped by John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders
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"Are You Mad at Me?"

"Are You Mad at Me?" | Law firm management | Scoop.it
That surprising question packed a powerful lesson.A colleague I had worked with over the years came up to me in the hallway and asked if we could talk in a conference room. Sure, I said, wondering
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Interesting article - one that chimes with me for pretty much the same reasons.


I would add that there's a similar lesson for those at Executive or Board level who come out of their meetings - formal as in Board; and informal discussions, too. One Board heard a presentation from me regarding some work I'd done for them, telling them they had some great advantages over their competitors; respected products; and a world-class reputation. However, I also confirmed that their costs were too high largely because their operations weren't taking full advantage of some of the technology they had bought, and so they were less efficient than the competition.


The Directors left the room with some great news about them, and an open opportunity to improve profits. However, their serious misdemeanour after a consultant had presented for an hour left many in the company worried for their jobs. The issue was spotted quickly (their culture was positive) and the matter smoothed over. That story became part of my signing off for new client work. Not every organisation can be so fortunate

more...
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's curator insight, June 2, 2013 12:56 PM

Worth thinking about - your public face becomes others weather forecast. 

Think about how you face the world, and how the world might interpret your world... 

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The pink car story: The next chapter | How To Make Partner

The pink car story: The next chapter | How To Make Partner | Law firm management | Scoop.it
If you have ever heard me speak about networking or referral generation, then you will have heard me talk about the pink car story. For those of you who haven’t, here is a quick recap of the story.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

How a pink cra can help you improve your referral rates and conversions.

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Parabis nudging towards Top 20 slot with latest merger

Parabis nudging towards Top 20 slot with latest merger | Law firm management | Scoop.it

Parabis also owns Cogent Law and the three businesses in aggregate will be turning over in the region of £150 million, meaning Parabis will be nudging a coveted top 20 UK law firm slot. The deal is expected to complete this ...


Via Sally Calverley
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Managing Relationships With Legal Project Management

Managing Relationships With Legal Project Management | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Effective legal project management is very much on the minds of law departments, outside counsel, and the business units that partner with both sets of lawyers.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

This article is about more than Legal Project Management - which is 'ordinary' project management for lawyers, by the way - it's about winning business.

 

And surprisingly to some, perhaps, clients are not looking for cheapest primarily. They want consistency, predictability, and communications - and a deeper understanding of business management and leadership issues. Corporate and Commercial clients are much less interested in transactional relationships than lawyers think. They're much more interested in managing the ongoing relationship. Which is where (Legal) Project Management and (Legal) Process Management comes in.

 

Read on...

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Law firms’ marketing plans | The Law Gazette

Law firms’ marketing plans | The Law Gazette | Law firm management | Scoop.it

I get to see a wide range of solicitors’ marketing plans ranging from the weighty dissertation to the single sheet.

 

Personally, I favour concise marketing plans for law firms as otherwise they tend to sit on a shelf and gather dust. However one that is too short may lack the essential SMART marketing objectives that mean it will bear fruit.

 

The latest edition of the Law Society Lexcel practice management standard requires a firm to develop a marketing plan which must include: ‘measurable objectives for the next 12 months’. Being ‘measurable’ is an important step towards a SMART marketing plan. By SMART, we mean specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

An astonishingly abrasive and frankly rude set of reponses from some lawyers to what is simply an innocuous article on marketing just makes one wonder - but not for long - how some lawyers really understand or expect to stay in business.

 

The article itself is a straightforward marketing summary about planning, and the need to make it pratcal and achievable. It even brings out the standard SMART objectives need, and tried to relate those to law firms.

 

Basic stuff for any business. But not, it seems, for lawyers - whose frustrations boil over with some personal and nonsensical attacks on the writer and the principles of making sure clients are profitable, servicable and growing. Why do lawyers think that managing their business is unlike any other? And why are so many law firms failing? Is it all down to marketing? Or more down to financial management and an inability to react to a changing market.

 

I've seen other blog responses - from the same 'Anon' I mention below - all blaming the SRA; the Legal Services Act; clients; Grayling; Jackson - in fact everyone...except themselves.

 

Interestingly, only one critic has seen fit to put her name to her critique, and identified two failed law firms whose lack of financial management was nothing to do with marketing. No cause and effect there, I'm afraid... Still, better that than simply 'Anon'! If you really believe your views, why hide behind anonymity?

 

Thankfully, there are plenty of law firms who *are* evolving into businesses. And will more likely survive the new normal than the antediluvian lawyers we read here and elsewhere...

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SRA’s popularity slips | The Law Gazette

Solicitors are less likely to speak positively of the Solicitors Regulation Authority than they were a year ago, a Law Society survey has found.

 

Firms who took part in the 2012/13 winter poll were less likely than a year before to give ‘good’ ratings for the regulator in setting standards of behaviour, promoting and securing standards, protecting consumers and upholding the rule of law.

John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Who'd a thought it?

 

On a positive note, fewer see the SRA as 'poor'; although more firms see the actual and time cost of regulation increasingly burdensome. Worryingly, more firms (almost two-thirds now) think that the SRA do not make OFR clear enough.

 

The outgoing CEO says that costs are largely 'one-off'. He's clearly forgotten the increased costs of intervention...

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Weightmans - Overview | The Lawyer

Weightmans - Overview | The Lawyer | Law firm management | Scoop.it

North West firm Weightmans saw one of the biggest turnover rises in the UK 200 2012 following its merger with Mace & Jones and the acquisition of the insurance arm of Vizards Wyeth at the start of the 2011–12 period.

 

John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

Good news from Weightman's in reporting a 33% improvement in turnover. Later in the article we learn that profits have dropped, and borrowing has risen.

 

So. Turnover is vanity; profits are sanity - and cash is reality.

 

We're told that the reduction and increase are due to costs of merger, and ower than budgeted performance. 

 

As we say in one of our older blogs, both areas are likely to be the result of mergers, needing strong continuing business management *and* separately focused integration team. So it's good to read that those areas are respectively completed or under review...presuming they are completed and under review.

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Law firm Dentons expands into crisis management - PRWeek

Law firm Dentons expands into crisis management
PRWeek
WASHINGTON: Global law firm Dentons US is moving into the crisis management space with the launch of a consultancy in partnership with advisory firm Wirthlin Worldwide International.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

More evidence of major law firms starting up consultancies. See my earllier observations in a previous post here on Scoop it!

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Growth forecast for global legal services but tough times for high street lawyers - The Law Society

Law Society's most comprehensive ever study forecasts growth in global legal services market, but pressure on high street law firms.
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

So a real opportunity for those law firms and Managing Partners  who can get their act together. 

 

Those who *want* to be successful will be those who *can* be successful, if they're prepared to embrace strategic planning, new structures including effective decision-making, effective partner management, efficient cash management, first-class process and project management. Oh, and provide clients witht he legal services they demand at a price they want to pay. Without racing to the bottom.

 

A challenge. Is it within the capacity of most law firms, though. We believe not...

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Client Care - Legal Eye

Client Care - Legal Eye | Law firm management | Scoop.it
From the reviews that Legal Eye Ltd have completed within law firms, we find that the main challenges around client care letters and terms of business are: ... SRA Code of Conduct compliance ....
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

We pretty much find the same issues with our clients. Our approach is to be proportionate when improving compliance, performance and profit increases

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SRA calls on largest law firms to publish diversity data in push to improve ... - Legal Week

SRA calls on largest law firms to publish diversity data in push to improve ... - Legal Week | Law firm management | Scoop.it
SRA calls on largest law firms to publish diversity data in push to improve ...
John Wade: pragmatic support for law firm leaders's insight:

...this in the same week as we read that the SRA predicts more law firms to go to the wall; and an investment banker predicts 80% of law firms will disappear in the next ten years...

 

Or is it me?

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