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To Grow Your Law Firm, Hire A Professional Administrator

Law firms chronically under invest in training and developing their people.  One manifestation of this is the curious persistence of the part-time, combo secretary/paralegal/office manager role in many firms with more than five attorneys. For a variety of reasons, too many law firm managing partners and executive committees are reluctant to hire professional, full-time office […]

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How to Avoid the Most Serious Mistake Lawyers Make on LinkedIn

Although many lawyers are fairly active on LinkedIn, they often don’t take full advantage of it to grow their practice and book of business.  In my experience coaching attorneys, lawyers primarily use LinkedIn to establish and accumulate first-level connections.  Thus, for example, a lawyer attends a networking event and hands out a business card or […]

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How Law Firms Select The Wrong People To Become Partners

Many law firms could do a much better job of selecting partners.  Law firms routinely create a process for evaluating partners, but too often that process is critically flawed.  Here are five recurring problems I have observed over the years in my role as a consultant to law firms: Failing to set clear criteria in […]

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Demanding Payment When a CA Lawyer Can’t Withdraw From a Representation

What can California lawyers do when they haven’t been paid, but they can’t withdraw from a representation?  For example, suppose that the lawyer is representing a client in litigation and is being paid by the hour.  The client owes the lawyer money on the eve of trial. California Rule of Professional Conduct 3-700 provides the […]

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The Scrouge of Face Time

This is not a rant against video conference technology for your tablet or phone. This is about a different kind of face time.  This face time refers to the policy that requires lawyers to be physically present at the office even if they can work just as productively elsewhere. Twenty years ago, law face time […]

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Part-Time Lawyers Willing To Work For Cheap

The ratio of legal talent and what it costs to hire it is extremely favorable for law firms.  That is the unmistakable conclusion I reached after reviewing applications for three different part-time positions.  The positions were being filled by three different law firms with whom I am consulting.  For two firms, I placed an ad […]

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Running A Law Firm As A Business

Many lawyers are urged to run their firms more like a business.  But what does that mean?  It can be confusing to know given the variety of scenarios in which business owners and executives justify a decision by saying “It’s just business.” Maximizing behavior is often justified on the grounds that it’s needed to run […]

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How to Avoid A Shot Gun Law Firm Business Divorce

Many law firms are under economic stress.  One of the manifestations of that stress is an increasing number of partner divorces.  Most commonly, the law firm partners go to work for different law firms or start their separate, individual firms.  In these circumstances, much of the divorce process involves negotiating who will take what client […]

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When Law Firm Staff Ignores Junior Lawyers

When I was a second-year associate at the Los Angeles office of Skadden Arps, I shared a secretary with one of the most prominent partners at the firm.  I was warned that my work would be ignored because secretaries would focus all of their efforts to serve the partner.  Fortunately in my particular case the […]

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How Many Networking Organizations Should A Lawyer Join?

Lawyers tend to join bar associations and stay as members without regard to whether their membership results in quality referrals or new clients.  In my role as a business consultant to lawyers and law firms, I have spoken with attorneys who have belonged to a bar association for more than a decade even though they […]