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Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. – Napoleon Hill The market volatility during the last year and the increasing concerns about a coming recession foreshadow risk for many law firms.   Additional market disruption may lead to challenges for firms of all sizes and in most practice disciplines. In a Forbes article, Basha Rubin suggested that we might be seeing the end of the mid-tier firm. Rubin’s reasoning is that the…
Although the final numbers are not in yet, 2018 has been touted as a good year for law firms.  Based on various reports including the 2019 Citi-Hildebrandt Client Advisory, revenues were up, billing rate increases held, and client demand increased.  These improvements are not shocking as law firm performance has been ascending in recent years. Just because industry performance this past year was on the whole very good, not all law firms can look back…
Most firms are in the final stretch for this year, wrestling with collections, budgets, promotions and compensation decisions. All of these are important activities. But, while focused on wrapping up 2018 let me suggest one more subject that deserves attention — something that stands a chance of making a real long-term difference. I suggest that you spend some time really wrestling with this question: “What one thing, if accomplished in the coming year, will leave…
Law firm leaders understandably see lucrative client work as an important key to overall firm profitability.  Left to their own devices, those leaders would eagerly raise rates or otherwise take steps to ratchet up the yield on work.  In contrast, their clients often consider the containment of legal costs as a key component to valuable legal services.  If clients were in control, they frequently would reduce rates, or seek other ways to manage down their…
Succession and succession planning are hot topics in the legal profession. One statistic explains the focus on the topic – only about 30% of law firms make it beyond the first generation. Why Do So Many Law Firms Fail? Why do so few law firms make it to the second generation? Consider this progression of logic: Few goals are realized by happenstance; The greater the objective, the less likely it will be realized without serious…
The issue of succession planning at law firms is a topic of great importance.  The need to address succession won’t always wait until a convenient time and makes planning as important than ever. Succession planning among firms, whether leadership succession or client relationship transition, is a mixed bag. Some firms have thought about it deeply and are well prepared for succession. Typically, those firms recognized the issue some time ago and have prepared for the…
As we approach the the long Thanksgiving holiday I’m reflecting on my appreciation for law firm leaders who are accountable and drive a culture around that standard. Somewhere along the line the idea of being held accountable began to be viewed as punitive. Paying the price. Certainly this is part of the equation; but accountability is a much greater concept than merely calling one (or a group) to account for decisions and deeds. Today’s most…
As the calendar year comes to a close, there is a lot to do at most law firms. Activities like collecting bills, distributing profits and casting next year’s budget can occupy many a leadership team. The tasks at hand can be time consuming and all engrossing. Given the importance of these short-term issues, thinking about a firm’s long-term strategy often gets reserved for the next year. The importance of thinking long-term and planning for the…
Don’t waste your time trying to control the uncontrollable, or trying to solve the unsolvable, or think about what could have been. Instead, think about what you can control and solve the problem you can solve with the wisdom you have gained from both your victories and your defeats in the past.  – David Mahoney – Author Now that the mid-term elections are behind us, we can all get refocused on making our law firms…
There are two primary succession challenges law firms face.  Leadership succession is one and is a vitally important step to assure a firm’s longevity.  A second kind of law firm succession involves the succession of client relationships as senior-lawyers wind-down or retire. As hard as leadership succession can be, managing client relationship succession can be an even more formidable task.  In an era in which client loyalty is fleeting and personal skills can be as…