Managing Law Firms in Transition

Latest from Managing Law Firms in Transition

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…
A few law firms have had the benefit of organic preparation for succession. Their natural tendencies led to grooming the next generation for the transition of client relationships and management responsibilities. A small percentage of firms have actually executed carefully prepared formal succession plans. But, the overwhelming majority of law firms are not prepared for or even preparing for succession. Admittedly, succession planning isn’t for everyone. If your law firm doesn’t have interest in long-term,…
At a growing number of law firms, the Boomer generation is reaching the age when retirement among the ranks has partners leaving in increasing numbers. Numerous industry focused writings have noted an array issues faced by law firms experiencing retirements. As partners retire, financial ramifications can be felt. The monetary payout associated with the retirement benefits is one. While some firm’s retirement plans are fully funded, many plans require a “topping off” of a guaranteed…
“Focusing is about saying No!”   Steve Jobs   I was reviewing an article regarding the 13th Annual America’s Best Corporate Law Firms study and was struck with how consistent the same names appear on this list — year in and year out. Even if you haven’t seen it, chances are you can name many of the firms that have a stranglehold on a position on this enviable list. It begs the question for firms…
Law firm growth gets a lot of attention. Among the various approaches to law firm growth is the tactic of merger. Almost weekly we are treated to another announcement about two law firms fulfilling their desire to grow by combining. And although law firm mergers have been part of the landscape for years, the incidence of law firm growth through merger has become commonplace. When law firms get involved in the merger game typically little…
This post is inspired by a recent interaction with a former colleague that has done very well with her career. 15 years ago, she was an entry level law firm HR professional that was smart, had lots of energy and a passion for excellent work. She has advanced through a variety of positions in the law firm management arena and recently accepted a position which includes primary responsibility for developing and managing strategic initiatives. Following…
It almost seems like a broken record to hear about the popularity of law firm mergers.  Legal industry publications report on the latest mergers and hot market trends.  Indeed, just recently The American Lawyerreviewed the merger opportunities that abound for mid-size firms in its Mid-size Firm Leaders Awash in Big Law Merger Offers. Despite the popularity of mergers among many firm leaders today, positive outcomes are not assured.  Mergers can fail-depending on how success is…
What is your law firm worth? This question is paramount when the owners of a firm consider the possibilities related to a merger, a succession plan involving existing firm members, or the outright sale of an established practice. There are variations by state as to what can and cannot be sold as part of transitioning of ownership of a law practice; and even given the existence of suggested formulas for valuation, when it comes to…