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Let’s face it, the hugely important issue of law firm succession has a lot to do with senior attorney retirement.  Recognizing that, more law firms have prepared for coming retirements by infusing new leadership, transferring existing client relationship responsibility, and coaching the next generations to be business developers. When succession is done right, a firm enjoys continued strength while orchestrating a seamless and gracious retirement of its senior attorneys. The retirement of a senior attorney typically…
Let’s get real for a moment. Most law firms are woefully unprepared for any significant economic downturn — let alone a prolonged, decrease in demand. This is a startling reality; but here are a few undeniable facts: Starting in 2008, during the “great recession,” the demand for legal services fell dramatically approaching 10% by 2011, and consequently so did productivity and profits for most law firms. Since 2009, the U.S. economy has experienced the longest stretch…
“[L]eaders must have a sharp eye on the future, always considering how the law firm will evolve and succeed in the years ahead.” from Decisions That Matter:  Tales of Law Firm Leadership in Moments of Consequence Sustaining a law firm’s success is a nice challenge to have. For one, it means that the founders already have agreed on common aspirations, have tested them, and to some degree or another, are in sync.  That early success also…
Let’s start by defining terms. There are a number of characteristics that might be used to bring definition to   “potential”  – size, profitability, locations, and so on. But, for purposes of this discussion, I define it as achieving the professional goals of the firm’s professionals. If, over the span of a career, the dreams, goals and aspirations of every one of a firm’s professionals were met, it would be hard to argue that the…
The concentration of law firm financial strength narrows as fewer AmLaw 200 law firms can be counted among the fortunate. As Mark A. Cohen argues in his The AmLaw 200 Is Down to 50 – Maybe 20.  What does It Mean?  a fiscal separation among bigger firms has occurred and continues.  Cohen concludes that the separation presents challenges for all but the elite firms of the world and that smart firms not among the elite…
“When a law firm embarks on a plan to grow, ultimate success … [directly relates to] leadership’s ability to make the right decisions while navigating the high seas of growth.”             from Decisions That Matter:  Tales of Law Firm Leadership in Moments of Consequence  It is not unusual to hear “Growth” as the response when law firm leadership is asked about a firm’s strategy.  Indeed, almost daily mergers of law firms are announced—many times with a…
“Preparation is very important.” “Albert Pujols, one of the best hitters in baseball’s modern era, used this four-word phrase to describe one of his keys for success. It is not overly complicated and it is easily understood. The fundamental quality of being prepared—of keeping his eye on the ball figuratively in addition to, in the moment, literally—held him in good stead throughout his career.” from  Decisions That Matter: Tales of Law Firm Leadership in
Law firm succession is a huge issue for many of today’s law firms.  Not surprisingly, more firms than ever before are focusing on succession by adopting written succession plans that address leadership succession and client relationship transfer.  Despite the importance of succession, many firms have no written plan and remain unprepared for transitioning leadership or client relationships. But even when law firms draft succession plans that address leadership and client relationships, too many of those…
“Every little thing counts in crisis”  -Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian statesman          “For law firm leader, there is little room for error when crisis ensues. A mistake here, a misstep there, and lawyers at the firm begin to lose confidence in the firm and its leadership”             from    Decisions That Matter: Tales of Law Firm Leadership in Moments of Consequence   Realizing that your law firm is…
“Law firm disasters are almost always of the man-made variety…. Once a storm is brewing, add the fact that as business organizations go, a law firm is among the most fragile, and you have the climate for a series of catastrophic events.”             from Decisions That Matter: Tales of Law Firm Leadership in Moments of Consequence  Most law firm leaders confront crisis as a newbie.  Their prior leadership experience typically delves…