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Why Attorneys Should Provide Non-Legal Support to Their Clients

An accomplished large law firm corporate attorney recently told me, “I want my clients calling me for everything.” This statement was made in the context of him describing how he regularly refers a variety of service providers to his clients, many of whom aren’t lawyers. He wants to cultivate a sense in his clients’ minds […]

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How to Evaluate a Lateral Partner Move

Attorneys are changing law firms at an unprecedented rate. Many of those who are changing employers are of counsel, non-non-equity partners, and even associates with a relatively modest book of business. As a result, law firms need to evaluate a wider array of lawyers. Too often, neither the law firm nor the lawyer has a […]

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How to Keep Law Firm Rainmakers Happy

Law firms that thrive take care of their rainmakers. And too many firms act as if compensation is the only issue that matters in this context. In the last decade originating partners (i.e., the partner that is primarily responsible for bringing in a client or who have the primary responsibility for maintaining the client relationship) […]

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When Law Firms and Family Members Don’t Mix

There are two scenarios in which law firm leaders mismanage how they interact with family members who are in a direct business relationship with the firm.  On is when a family member becomes a client of the firm on something other than the normal arrangement that the firm has with other clients.  The other is […]

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When to Walk Away From an Uncollected Attorney’s Fee

In my experience consulting with law firms, almost every attorney knows what the rules say about collecting unpaid fees from an existing client.  That’s because the applicable rules and regulations are relatively straightforward.  Generally speaking, a lawyer may end a representation if the client isn’t paying the lawyer.  But the ethics rules sometimes prohibit a […]

law firm partnerships

Two-Person Law-Firm Partnerships Are Unusually Risky

Forming a law firm partnership is the business equivalent of getting married.  And with any partnership, it’s critical to choose the right partner.  In a law firm, there is a risk that the person who has the title of partner or shareholder doesn’t possess the skills or temperament to be a good business owner.  My […]

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How Lawyers Should Determine the Amount of a Flat Fee

Most lawyers approach the process of quoting a flat fee in the wrong way. They often determine how much the flat fee should be based on an estimate of how many hours it would take to perform the work. Thus, for example, if a law firm believes that it will take 200 hours to represent […]

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Leadership Language For Law Firm Partners

The partnership structure of law firms creates specific communications challenges for law firm leaders. Some communications styles are more effective when leading a group of people over whom you have little absolute authority, and with whom you have to interact on an ongoing basis. Unlike some corporate structures, the people at the top of a […]

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Successful Law Firms Do More Than One Thing At A Time

Too many law firm partners and leaders confuse multi-tasking with multi-goaling and multi-achieving. Multitasking is trying to do more than one thing at a time, such as drafting a brief while listening in on a conference call. Research shows us that our brains don’t multitask well and that we are better off just doing one […]

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How Much Should Law Firms Pay Associates For Making Rain?

There seems to be a magical belief in certain law firms that emphasizing the importance of rainmaking is the same thing as actually increasing revenues. Nowhere is this conflation of intent and result more obvious than in discussions of how to pay associates for their successful rainmaking efforts. In the past few years increased attention […]