Managing Law Firm Transition

Thoughts on Leading High Consequence Change

Latest from Managing Law Firm Transition

While law firm change is scary, in today’s evolving legal services market the absence of change may be scarier.  Law firm leaders don’t need to read expert’s opinions about the quickly moving marketplace, they see it close-up as competitors proliferate and competition intensifies.  Simply standing still by relying on tried and true practices is not an effective response.  More is required to transform your law firm for a better future. Too often the press of…
The global consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, recently released a number of articles related to research they have done on transforming businesses. One in particular, Why your next transformation should be ‘all in’, resonated with me. In summary, the article presents a persuasive argument suggesting“all in” transformations— initiatives that address both services (or products) delivered as well as how they are delivered are much more successful than piece-meal transformations. Specifically, McKinsey attributes the majority of transformation-driven…
For a lot of law firms, “business as usual” is like a favorite pair of shoes-they seem to fit and sure feel comfortable. When that is the case, falling back on usual practices continues as long as there is no pressure to change.  But once a watershed event occurs that shakes the foundations of management practices and strategies, it is not uncommon for leadership to rethink its way of doing things. Unfortunately, if leadership awaits the…
 I don’t know where we should take this company, but I do know that if I start with the right people, ask them the right questions, and engage them in vigorous debate, we will find a way to make this company great. Jim Collins   So many law firms — big and small — continue to struggle in this increasingly competitive marketplace.. This might lead you to believe that building an enduring firm is a…
In an earlier blog, Law Partner Retirement in Place—Solving Won’t Work/Won’t Leave (Part One), we presented the vexing problem of having a partner that slows down workwise but still draws a full partnership share.  Unfortunately, this upsetting situation exists at more firms than are willing to admit. While eliminating the awkwardness the abuse represents can be one objective, excising the potentially significant and precedent setting financial hit is more important. TacklingWon’t Work/Won’t Leaveseldom is easy, but…
The measure of intelligence is the ability to change – Einstein     Adapting to change – At first blush the need to adapt is so obvious there would seem to be no need to discuss it. Then we see firm after firm, small to large, fail because of a reluctance, unwillingness or sheer inability to adapt. In our experience there are 4 steps to adapting: Acceptance Evaluation Planning Execution Step 1 -Acceptance It has…
Although many law firms are enjoying increased demand, revenues and profitability, not all firms are so fortunate.  For the firms seeing a sustained slackening of demand, there is no shortage of ideas on how to combat the problem.   “Work harder,” “get out and hustle,” and “reconnect with your relationships,” are but a few of the solutions often heard.  In these transitional times, an introspective look at the basic law firm model can even occur. Indeed,…
  How do you define greatness? Is it prestige? I was recently reading an article on the “Most Prestigious Law Firms In America.” Seeing Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (“Wachtell”) as #2 on the list, it struck me that the firm seems to frequently be at or very near the top of Vault’s list. I did some digging and found that Wachtell has been either #1 or #2 on the list for each of the last…
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…