Control or Consensus? The Stifling Points in Law Firm Decision-Making

Control or Consensus? The Stifling Points in Law Firm Decision-Making This article first appeared in Managing Partner 28th Feburary 2011 I have recently been involved with two quite different mid-sized law firms, each of which is managed very differently.  I cannot, of course, mention any names.  Firm A has around 60 partners of whom less than 20 are equity partners, and has just less than 200 lawyers in all.  Firm B has around 40 partners, but only five (all founder partners) are equity and the firm has around 150 lawyers in all.  In Firm A, the Managing Partner has many responsibilities bu...
More

Conference in Delhi 12th March

I am one of the main speakers at a conference in Delhi this coming Saturday 12th March. With the remarkable development in the Indian economy, the legal fraternity is facing intense competition from within and from international peers to leverage their profitability. In this situation it is difficult for a law firm to follow traditional ways of business. In today’s world the emerging trend of Law Firm’s business management is to approach/connect to potential clients and offer them before they seek your assistance. The day-long Legal League business workshop — “Creating Sustainability and enh...
More

Facing Even More Facts

Facing Even More Facts Dear Friends and Associates Towards the end of last year, I wrote an article called Facing Facts in which I exposed seven of the most common fallacies and dangerous half-truths evident in law firms today. In this newsletter, I propose three more to add to the list to make up the top ten tendencies for self-deception that I see in law firms today. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback Facing even more Facts My “Facing Facts” article highlighted the following delusions and dangerous half truths 1. “We only do High Level work” 2. “When the recession is over, al...
More

Praise for "Facing Facts"

Praise for "Facing Facts" I was delighted to get an email recently from a Managing Partner who had read my article "Facing Facts" (see earlier posting). The email said "I do not want to go over the top, but I just wanted you to know that I thought it was one of the best management articles I have ever read and that I am adopting it as a text to prepare this year’s business plan."
More

Stress Testing Strategic Plans – the Seven Essential Elements in Strategic Planning

Stress Testing Strategic Plans - the Seven Essential Elements in Strategic Planning In my view, there are at least seven elements which must be covered in any planning exercise.  These elements can be used as a checklist for stress-testing an existing strategic plan or to inform a strategic planning review. First the strategy must be futuristic – it should look at the future and consider trends and developments which may affect the Firm for better or worse. To be able to compete in the future, someone somewhere in every law firm (hopefully more than one) is going to have to form a view of th...
More

Market Positioning – A diagnostic guide for law firm development

Market Positioning – A diagnostic guide for law firm development (A slightly shorter version of this article was first published in Law Business Review, Summer 2009) At first sight, a recession may not seem the best time to overhaul radically a law firm’s strategy.  It seems more intuitive to batten down the hatches, trim overheads, tighten up the operation and wait until the recessional storm clouds recede before attempting any dramatic change of direction.  If, however, past recessions are anything to go by, this is just the moment for bold and agile firms to make any move which can perha...
More

Partner Roles and Responsibilities

Partner Roles and Responsibilities This posting sets out to introduce some suggested methodologies for a firm to follow in order first to clarify what the firm expects of its partners and then to define what roles and responsibilities it needs them to perform.  Partners equally need to be clear how they are to discharge their various roles as owners, managers and producers. Law firms have at last accepted the importance of developing management and leadership skills in their partners.  This recognition is somewhat patchy and inconsistent and there is often a mismatch between what law firms ...
More

Facing the Facts – Confronting the fallacies and half-truths which can delude law firms

The November 2010 issue of Managing for Success is now out and includes an article by me on the above topic.   A slightly fuller version of the article is reproduced below Facing the Facts – Confronting the fallacies and half-truths which can delude law firms By Nick Jarrett-Kerr One of the biggest challenges facing law firms today is not an external threat but an internal problem. It is, in short, the capacity which lawyers have for self-delusion. The purpose of this article is to address and suggest solutions for the biggest areas of danger for law firms both large and small over the next...
More

Internal Affairs – why todays lawyers need and advanced set of life and business skills

My article on the above appeared in the October issue of New Law Journal, and is reproduced below Internal Affairs - the attributes of the truly professional lawyer There was a time, several decades ago, when solicitors were widely regarded – in what was then a male-dominated profession – as “men of affairs”, able to advise clients holistically on a wide range of their life, business and personal issues of which legal issues formed only one element. However, the mushroom-like growth of other professionals such as accountants, financial advisers, property experts and wealth advisers steadily er...
More

Strategies For Tomorrow's Law Firms

Strategies For Tomorrow's Law Firms I gave a two hour presentation on the above topic at the Law Society last Friday and my talk was very well received.  Amongst the comments were "a sincere thanks for the show on Friday - it was really very impressive" "I very much enjoyed your lecture this afternoon" "It was certainly thought provoking" "I really enjoyed your  seminar on Friday and could have listened to your views for much longer! It was great to hear you bring the propositions in your book to life and help us with their practical application." "Excellent Course" In the talk, I went ...
More