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Law firm management
Law firms face unprecedented change. Increasing regulation; greater competition; and more demanding clients.
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Law firm Shakespeares sees integration as key - Telegraph

Law firm Shakespeares sees integration as key - Telegraph | Law firm management | Scoop.it
The achievement of Shakespeares in becoming the second-largest law firm in the Midlands and the 50th biggest in the UK should not be underestimated.
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Good news from a great firm, focusing on what really matters when acquiring other practices. Integration of people, systems and processes is a key operational focus, post-completion.

 

And the right strategic choice in the first place is their key strategic focus. The legal sector is changing, and increasingly quickly. Shakespeare's are taking advantage - and in the process are moving into the top50 UK firsm.

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Legal process outsourcing grows by leaps and bounds | Legal Post | Financial Post

Legal process outsourcing grows by leaps and bounds | Legal Post | Financial Post | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Technology will facilitating outsourcing, and that could be good news to recent law grads looking for alternative places to work
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

It's one way to save money - providing, of course, the price is right, confidentiality is tight, and quality of product is paramount. When outsourcing work, law firms need to get their own processes, oversight and strategy spot-on. Else they'll lose out.

 

So, this timely article looks at what the more advanced legal services firms do, these days. Interesting...

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More law firms adopting non-legal consulting practices | International Business Development

More law firms adopting non-legal consulting practices | International Business Development | Law firm management | Scoop.it
International law firm Withers LLP has set up a non-legal consulting practice, the Withers Consulting Group (WCG), which the International Advisor reported
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Could there be a future for law firms in the non-legal field? Another way to leverage the knowledge that lawyers build up, perhaps.


Except that those law firms already ahead of the game, will already be initiating or developing these services. Already...

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New from David Maister: How to Build Accountability in a Law Firm

New from David Maister: How to Build Accountability in a Law Firm | Law firm management | Scoop.it
In March 2013, I spoke at a law firm retreat on a Friday afternoon, after which David Maister emerged from retirement to speak for three hours on Saturday morning.  If you get nothing else from this blog post, I hope...
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

David Maister comes out of retirement, not just to shoot the breeze, but shoot the pigeon!

 

It's all about behaviour, fairness - and true equity of treatment. Yet lawyers and law firms, full of bright, intelligent people just don't get the human side of managing their peers right.

 

Read on for more...

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Troubled Ashton Fox bought by Antony Hodari in pre-pack deal | The Law Gazette

North-west personal injury firm Antony Hodari has announced the acquisition of Preston firm Ashton Fox in a pre-pack deal. Ashton Fox went in to administration last month.

 

The deal, for an undisclosed amount, includes all work in progress, totaling around 8,000 cases, predominantly on mortgage mis-selling and right to buy. All 24 Ashton Fox staff have been retained to ensure a smooth transition.

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

More evidence of 'pre-packs', following Cobbetts and DWF; and supporting evidence for the recent claim that 300 firms in the North-West are thinking about closing.

 

In the meantime, the SRA are 'reviewing its policy'.

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Laid-off lawyers secure new jobs

Laid-off lawyers secure new jobs | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Most of the lawyers made redundant when law firm Semple Fraser collapsed recently have already found new jobs, administrators say. (Laid-off lawyers secure new jobs: Most of the lawyers made redundant when law firm Semple Fraser collapsed rec...
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Some very good news for the staff affected by the Semple Fraser collapse. Although we deeply regret this failure, we're delighted that so may have been able to secure new positions.

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Perspectives on Practice Management: The Regulator and the Practitioner | SlawTips

Perspectives on Practice Management: The Regulator and the Practitioner | SlawTips | Law firm management | Scoop.it

...so to start, I posed this question:

What are the three most common practice management issues each of us encounters in our respective day-to-day roles, and how do we address them?

David provided his list:

Complaints from clients that they don’t hear from their lawyerFees are too highMatters take too long

I provided mine:

Staff supervision without micromanagement.Maintaining client communicationsCreating templates to establish best practices
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

From Canada, a 'conversation' between someone who works for the Law Society of British Columbia, and a lawyer.

 

And, perhaps not altogether unsurprisingly, many of the issues are the same.

 

And, less surprisingly, so are some of the answers both respondents provide. Because we've been preaching them for some while. Get your strategy, processes - and most of all, get your culture - right, and some of the thornier issues will reduce. Sometimes significantly.

 

Law firms should be treated in a more business-like fashion than many of those who see today.

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SRA commits millions to interventions | The Law Gazette

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has already used 10% of its entire annual budget intervening in failed firms in 2013, the organisation revealed today.

Since the start of the year, the SRA has required around £2.2m to secure the files of firms going into administration

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

This warning after Blakemore's and Atteys, and excluding Cobbetts, total spend so far £2.2M. Annual intervention budget £1.3M. Either the situation was badly misread, or badly underbudgeted.

 

And there are 56 *more* firms where intervention is 'highly probably' and 'possible'.

 

How many law firms are taking action to manage their business, cashflow and costs?

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SRA reveals financial instability indicators as it relaxes rule on reporting non-material breaches - LEGAL FUTURES

SRA reveals financial instability indicators as it relaxes rule on reporting non-material breaches - LEGAL FUTURES | Law firm management | Scoop.it

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has outlined the three key financial ‘warning signs’ against which it will assess firms’ financial stability as a key element of its supervisory work over the next year.

 

It also announced that in an effort to “focus on the issues that really matter”, law firm compliance officers will soon no longer have to make an annual report of non-material rule breaches – but they will still have to collect the information.

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John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's curator insight, March 18, 2013 2:15 AM

Three key indicators of financial instability which may "...sound obvious..."

 

Unfortunately, too many firms do NOT consider their financial situation objectively enough, preferring to bury their head in their sand.

 

What isn't clear is how the SRA will identify 'the real and present danger' without some kind of regular reporting. Especially when the Annual Report hasn't been resolved yet...

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SRA paints grim picture of financial instability among law firms - LEGAL FUTURES

SRA paints grim picture of financial instability among law firms - LEGAL FUTURES | Law firm management | Scoop.it
SRA paints grim picture of financial instability among law firms

Desperate solicitors are pillaging their VAT receipts, inner circles of managers are sitting on bad financial results, and firms are borrowing heavily to maintain drawings, according to a bleak risk assessment by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Wow. Bleak - or scare-mongering? Either way. law firms are under more financial pressure than ever before.

 

Figures released by the SRA show that nine interventions took place during the first two months of the year alone. Indications are that the banks, understandably, are seeking to reduce exposure. A far cry from when I used to lend money to solicitor practices - back in the day, they were considered blue chip, rock-steady, borrowers.

 

How times have changed. One piece of good news in this, from our experience of managing law firm offices who had been losing significant money, there are a number of ways in which cashflow can be improved. If you have the focus - and this news should bring the need for cash management into sharp focus!

 

The first step, though, is admitting you need some help - not from an SRA intervention, perhaps - and being prepared to change.

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5 Lessons About Navigating Change

5 Lessons About Navigating Change | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Change is like going on an expedition: It can be a trudge or a hike. Take it all in and enjoy the view, or focus on the faults -- it's absolutely a choice.
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

I enjoyed reading this - a different and reflective look at  change, and we might treat it.

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250 jobs go as Lawyers2you becomes latest PI casualty

All 250 solicitors and employees of Midlands firm Blakemores, owner of the consumer brand Lawyers2you, were today told to clear their desks and go home after an intervention by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

 

The innovative and fast-growing firm appears to be the latest casualty of a crisis in the personal injury sector. One analyst blamed cashflow problems against the ‘toxic combination’ of legal aid cuts and the shrinking of the PI market.

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

A sad day for those concerned.

 

Another law firm bites the dust through cashflow problems, with a probable combined cause of legal aid cuts and PI market problems. Banks and clients will want to be sure their debts and instructions are safe, and staff will want to know their own futures.

 

Of more concern is the likelihood that this will not be the last law firm to suffer cashflow problems. More than ever, law firms need to be run as businesses.

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Law firm 'regrets' advising the Cup Trust's corporate trustee

Law firm 'regrets' advising the Cup Trust's corporate trustee (Third Sector) http://t.co/Z2BUrzn1YN
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

We bet they are.

 

But before you chortle too much, to what extent do *you* know which clients your law firm is advising? Do clients like this get subject to any kind of review, or do you trust to lawyer judgement? Those same lawyers you're exorting to bill more...

 

Risk Management includes managing reputation...

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SRA confirms one in four conveyancers victims of fraud

SRA confirms one in four conveyancers victims of fraud | Law firm management | Scoop.it

The latest research from the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has confirmed that law firms could be over-optimistic about their exposure to fraud.


The figures revealed that a quarter conveyancers have experienced attempted fraud with clients either attempting to commit property-related offences or money laundering, Legal Futures reported.


Yet despite this high volume, only three-quarters of the firms which reported fraud felt they’d encounter similar problems in the future; the respondents which had already experienced fraud felt as though it was unlikely it would happen again.

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

If nothing else, this piece highlights not only the risks that solicitors run in conveyancing (25% of all cases, according to the SRA); but the need for risk management, good processes, systems and controls.

 

And to those who say they don't have time, I'd ask them to balance the need for a few small steps for each case, many of which firms are legally obliged to take anyway, against the cost of insurance and fee earner time in putting things right. After it's too late...

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Firms still failing to ask for client feedback, survey shows | The Law Gazette

Most law firms are failing to get proper feedback from clients after carrying out work for them, new research has found.

 

A YouGov SixthSense survey of more than 2,000 adults found just 20% of those who had used law firms and solicitors in the last three years were asked to complete satisfaction surveys.

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Feedback on a lack of feedback - showing that despite (some) lawyers becoming increasingly aware that clients are important to their future, and knowing that they need to be responsive to client's views, feedback is not sought.

 

Amazing. Yet does your firm have a process for collecting data and understanding client satisfaction, or lack of it? And even if it does, will it get acted on? We know of one firm who paid for a (very expensive) client feedback survey,,,and two years later the report was unearthed in response to a question of ours. Nothing had been done. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

 

Is your firm any better?

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Vehicle incident manager FMG to launch ABS with NewLaw - The Lawyer

Vehicle incident manager FMG to launch ABS with NewLaw - The Lawyer | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Vehicle incident manager FMG to launch ABS with NewLaw The Lawyer FMG, which has received regulatory approval for the venture, becomes one of the first fleet management companies to set up a new legal entity and will direct the freshly launched...
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

More evidence that the legal landscape is changing. Even three years ago, this would never have happened. Now, more than ever, law firms and Managing Partnres need to think about their strategy and forward planning.

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New Managing Partner at Cartwright King

Birmingham law firm seeks further expansion, after tripling turnover in seven years.

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Good news from the Birmngham legal sector. Expanding firm with ambitiions based on good foundations. Tough market, though - so we wish them well.

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Law firm tie-up helping 'create opportunities' - Herald Scotland

Law firm tie-up helping 'create opportunities' - Herald Scotland | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Herald Scotland Law firm tie-up helping 'create opportunities' Herald Scotland The tie-up between Burness and Paull & Williamsons was formalised on December 1 last year in a move that jumped the mid-tier players towards the top of the Scottish law...
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John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's curator insight, March 25, 2013 2:29 PM

Yet more good news from a legal business in Scotland. Great to read that new business is being won as a result of a successful merger. Many firms focus on the integration piece so much, they forget the business side of retaining existing and winning new clients.

 

We've blogged about the merits of making mergers work. It's good to see when they do.

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Trouble for personal injury law firms means trouble for claimants

Trouble for personal injury law firms means trouble for claimants | Law firm management | Scoop.it
Joshua Rozenberg: While there is little public sympathy for solicitors the truth is that people will soon find it harder to claim compensation
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

The Unintended Consequences of legal cost management by the government could well be that claimants suffer - as well as law firms. The latter will get less sympathy than the fomer, but the former will eventually end up paying more.

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Poll predicts cull of north-west firms | The Law Gazette

Poll predicts cull of north-west firms | The Law Gazette | Law firm management | Scoop.it

Almost a fifth of law firm managing partners in north-west England are considering closing down their firm, according to a survey published today.

 

 

The poll of 300 firm leaders by Liverpool firm O’Connors found the vast majority of respondents believed that planned changes to civil justice would reduce their profits.

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John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's curator insight, March 18, 2013 11:16 AM

On top of the recent more high-profile failures of Cobbetts, Blakemores Lawyers2You, Atteys and Semple Fraser, comes this news. Law is not the success it once seemed.

 

Interestingly, disturbingly perhaps, two-thirds of firms that pay referral fees will 'continue to do business' on a 'self-referral' basis. Wonder what the SRA will say about that, especially as this area is now covered by Indicative Behaviours...

 

Others are planning to increase their direct marketing spend. Let's hope they do it wisely to get an ROI from the investment...

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Bitter reaction to closure of Birmingham law firm Blakemores

Blakemores, in Great Charles Street, Birmingham

Regulators have been accused of “destroying” long-established Midland law firm Blakemores and throwing around 250 employees out of work with “farcical” haste



Read Morehttp://www.birminghampost.net/birmingham-business/birmingham-business-news/other-uk-business/2013/03/15/bitter-reaction-to-closure-of-birmingham-law-firm-blakemores-65233-32989790/#ixzz2NsjrUuKx

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What to say...

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Strategy vs Operations: Understanding The Difference | Leadership In Action

Strategy vs Operations: Understanding The Difference | Leadership In Action | Law firm management | Scoop.it
In today’s competitive business world, effective managers need to understand the difference between the operational side of the business and the strategy
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

A different way of looking at these two separate aspects of business leadership and management. I love the analogy, and the emphasis that both aspects need to work together to maintain directed forward momentum.

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Process design and mapping 101 for lawyers

Process design and mapping 101 for lawyers | Law firm management | Scoop.it
1. What is process design? Process design is the activity which shapes the form and purpose of the services that a law firm delivers to its clients, and the process that produces them. 2.What is pr...
John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

Clear overview of process mapping - something we believe more law firms need to get to grips with. This and project management are two key skills for law firms going forward - at least, those who expect to continue to grow profits.

 

Process improvements and project management can help increase efficiency, improve effectiveness; meet client demands for cost-management and better communications skills; be compliant with regulations; and enhance working practices. As more clients expect fixed fees to cover more types of work, process and project management become critical.

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SRA Handbook – Changes Easy as ABC? | Wilkins Kennedy

SRA Handbook – Changes Easy as ABC? | Wilkins Kennedy | Law firm management | Scoop.it

he Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) have announced new rule changes effective of January 2013 which sees a difference in the way that Financial Services are regulated in the areas of conduct and compensation.


Some of these changes are likely to affect the way that your practice operates, so here is a summary of a few key changes that the new Handbook (version 6!) will be including:

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

A useful insight into the most recent SRA changes - they could affect you, especiallt around the referral Outcomes and Indicative Behaviours...

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SRA approach to referral fee ban receives LSB green light - LEGAL FUTURES

SRA approach to referral fee ban receives LSB green light - LEGAL FUTURES | Law firm management | Scoop.it
SRA approach to referral fee ban receives LSB green light

SRA: told to be transparent about ABS applications around referral fee ban

The Legal Services Board (LSB) yesterday put the seal of approval on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s plans to regulate the referral fee ban.

 

 

The news came as the Law Society pressed the LSB to provide reassurance that the way referral fees are regulated will be consistent across the entire legal profession.

 

 

The LSB formally approved the changes to the SRA Handbook that will from 1 April introduce two new outcomes – that those regulated by the SRA should not pay or be paid a “prohibited referral fee” as set out in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 – supported by three new indicative behaviours.

John Wade: Coach; consultant; mentor's insight:

...more Indicative Behaviours. Interesting. Allows firms to manage their business more appropriately - we've come across one firm who have been advised by their regulation consultant that they need to get agreements with EVERY referral source over the last six years. Whether or not they are paid (this form doesn't pay) or not; and even if the referral came from one who rarel makes referrals.

 

Is it really necessary? Or are some creating work? Or have we misunderstood what 'Indicative Behaviours' means?

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