Strategic Planning For Law Firms
Law firms could for many years succeed without devoting much effort to strategic planning. This was because the underlying market conditions were favorable for most law firms. The demand for legal services equaled or exceeded the supply, so law firms needed to focus on finding new clients and doing good work for them and their existing clients. But those days are long gone for an increasing percentage of law firms that serve businesses and other sophisticated consumers of legal services.
Now firms need to make conscious decisions about where to position themselves in the market place. And that decision can trump even the best marketing plan. Thus, for example, some law firms that relied on serving clients who extended commercial credit saw the supply of deals decline by 90% in less than two years. And no amount of marketing or networking was going to bring in enough work to make up for the market change. The new reality is that law firms need to make conscious decisions about a whole range of issue that impacts their profitability.
Strategic Planning Projects for Clients
We have since 2005 helped a variety of clients grow and achieve their business objectives by helping them make conscious decisions about their goals and how to reach them. These decisions have impacted almost every major aspect of running allow firm including the following:
- Working with a mid-sized litigation boutique to reduce their A/R by charging a flat fee for the initial phases of the representation.
- Working with a mid-sized IP firm to evaluate whether to open a foreign office located in a country where one of its biggest clients was located.
- Working with the Executive Committee of a firm to determine which practice areas to expand and whether to sever ties with a long standing but underperforming partner.
- Working with real estate litigation firm to find a larger law firm with which to establish an of counsel relationship.
- Working with a white collar defense firm to strengthen its banking relationship so it could position itself to increase its line of credit.
- Working with an immigration law firm to raise their fees for new clients by raising the rates of every lawyer in the firm by a slightly different amount.
To some extent strategic planning is the essence of all the work we do behalf of clients. Succession planning, compensation, mergers & acquisitions, and talent acquisition and retention are specific examples of the strategic planning process at play.
How We Work
Because of the wide range of issues that could arise in connection with a strategic planning project, we begin by talking to the relevant individuals at a firm to determine their sense of what the priorities are for the firm, department, or practice area. Our initial conversations last until we have reached a consensus with the client about an initial aspect of the problem or issue to address. This gives us an opportunity to confirm that we feel confident that we are in a position to put together a plan that if implemented would benefit the client. As with the practice of law, there are no guarantees, but we will not go forward with a project unless we conclude that there is more than a reasonable chance that we are in a good position to help the firm.