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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 […]

Management versus Leadership

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 […]

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Avoid Comments About Appearance at Business Meetings

Is it ok if, during a business meeting, a man says to a woman, “You have beautiful eyes”? Or how about commenting at a networking event that “I was sitting with the lovely Anne, Beth, and Cathy, and what could be better than that.”? Based on my recent experience, some lawyers persist in making comments […]

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When Lawyers Should Have Free Meetings With Clients

Lawyers who bill by the hour are understandably reluctant to work for free.  In particular, lawyers tend to shy away from having client meetings and then not billing them for it.  Too often lawyers wait until the client has expressed anger or threatened to end the representation before finally agreeing to have a free meeting.  […]

Now Hiring

The True Costs of Independent Contractor at Law Firms

Law firms have traditionally hired employees as opposed to independent contractors.  In the past ten years, however, there has been an increasing trend to hire independent contractors for a whole range of work.  For example, staffing companies now routinely provide lawyers to law firms on a project basis. Historically these were likely to be document […]

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The Myth of Feeling Indispensable

Many lawyers and law firms have a difficult time scaling their practices.  Too often lawyers are the bottleneck in the decision-making process. I used to think that this was largely a function of not being trained to delegate, combined with not fully understanding the financial benefits associated with leveraging time. Those factors are still relevant, […]

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Do Nice Lawyers Attract Fewer Clients?

Conventional wisdom is that people want to work with people they like. But is that true for lawyers, who are sometimes called upon to do things that are decidedly not nice? To what extent are lawyers selected precisely because they are perceived capable of being not nice, and does that put nice lawyers at a […]

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Selecting Resilient Lawyers

Many lawyers struggle to build a book of business because they are on average less resilient than entrepreneurs. Research has shown that as a group lawyers are dramatically less able to bounce back from negative events than most people. And law schools and law firms tend to go out of their way to find high-achieving […]

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Why Law Firms Mismanage Their Profit Margins

Too many lawyers don’t know how much profit they generate from different kinds of work they do on behalf of clients. When I ask potential clients questions about their margins, most say that they can track that information down for me. And most lawyers don’t understand why I think that they should know that number […]