The pros and cons of the four main approaches to services and sectors

What do you want to be famous for? For nearly 25 years, I have posed this challenging question to both lawyers and law firms. It is not a new question – gurus like David Maister and Marvin Bower of McKinsey & Co have been asking it for several decades. The question usually helps to persuade people and firms to specialise, to focus and to find some point of differentiation that helps them to stand out from the crowd. In other words, it helps them to find and develop a niche and to direct their expected focus into either a sector/industry approach or a technical specialist approach. A conce...
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Why your Partners need to have Skin in the Game

Capital Introductions Driven by tax efficiency fail to address ownership issues Recent UK partnership taxes have apparently forced many firms to ask second tier partners to introduce some capital to the firm essentially in order to preserve self-employed status.  The problem is that capital introductions that are entirely driven by tax tend to obscure the real debate over ownership of law firms.  There are two sides of the ownership equation. The firm’s assessment of how much partner capital it needs to run smoothly and The more interesting question of how much capital a partner needs t...
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How You can Win through Practice Excellence

The attaining of best practice can often lead to an advantage in which true excellence becomes a winning competitive formula. What I love about strategic planning is its divergence, in that strategy takes an organisation in a distinctive and unique direction away from (and hopefully ahead of) its competitors.  In contrast, the achievement of best practice tends to be convergent in that most (if not all) firms are seeking to implement optimal quality standards, the best available systems, and the most streamlined efficiencies that are currently available.  Hence, whilst strategy ca...
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Efficient Meetings – an oxymoron or a practical possibility?

Decision-making in law firms can be slow, stifling and chaotic. Even where something has been agreed it is often undermined or subverted later or is simply impossible to execute because the action points are too vague. Almost every firm that I speak to has suggested to me that they spend too much time in meetings. Either there are too many meetings or the meetings are too long, circular in discussion or ineffective in reaching a conclusion. I have three main suggestions for making meetings more effective. The first is to focus on the right behaviours and attitudes on the part of members in o...
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