Browse Archives | Subscribe | Home

LawBiz® TIPS – Week of June 11, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

Television commercials tout the "fact" that mattresses need to be changed every few years. Since ours was at least eight years old, it seemed like a good idea to at least check out what is available. We walked into the store, apparently as "primed" customers. Despite being astounded by the prices, we walked out of the store quite a few dollars lighter in the pocket but with a new mattress and the promise of heavenly sleep.

If they can sell beds for the outrageous prices we paid, then lawyers can charge (almost) what they want ... it's a question of demonstrating the value of what you offer and what new state of mind or condition the purchaser will be in after you deliver.

What new state of mind or condition can you help the client reach, what pain can you alleviate, what problem can you solve for the client? If the difference between their current condition and the new plateau the client wants to reach is great enough, your fee will not be an issue. If you are providing a commodity service (where the difference is not great or anyone can achieve the desired outcome), you must be efficient and competitive in fee.
Ed signature

Associate Transition or Associate Takeover?

Transitioning out of a legal practice is above all an issue of planning. If the practice is not sold or closed, the best alternative is grooming a successor brought on board as a younger associate. Ideally the succession plan can be structured to transition over a period of years, as client responsibilities gradually transition to the new lawyer. But this raises a valid concern. What if an associate so ingratiates him/herself with clients, at the expense of the firm, to the point that such a lawyer can start his/her own practice and take the clients along, leaving the former firm high and dry?

This question is perhaps best addressed by looking at what the older lawyer in the firm should have done to prepare the associate's future role. In a small firm it is essential to ensure that the client transition process to a successor is not only planned, but noncompetitive. The goal is to maintain and nurture the client relationship, allaying any fears that there will be service gaps or other issues that will jeopardize the quality of legal counsel that the client has received and has a right to expect in the future. The successor must be willing to be part of this process, which should be carried out according to a well-considered and thoroughly researched strategy.

Essential to that strategy is for the successor to attain, with the guidance of the senior lawyer, mastery of all specifics about existing client relationships as preparation for introducing the successor to those clients. There should be an accountability plan and a written timeline for all the discrete elements of the client transfer. This plan should be accepted by both the senior lawyer and successor before meeting with each client so it can be presented as a transition framework to which the client can have full input for modification. The goal is to make sure there are no mismatches in personalities, perceptions or understanding of what is to happen. Clients should be assured that there is a mutual effort to continue meeting their needs, one in which all sides will continue regularly to evaluate how well the transition plan is working and to make adjustments as needed.

Such a smooth transition will eliminate problems over the issue of goodwill when the time comes for the successor to assume the practice. Goodwill embodies the reputation of the firm, and with that reputation comes the client list, the phone number and the on-going nature of the practice. Adequate preparation in grooming and transitioning a successor from inside the firm can eliminate discord over this issue.

Selling Your Law Practice and Life After Law
55% OFF - Special Combo Package!

Life After Law

until July 1
(reg. $538)

What Will You Do with the Next 6,000 Days?

To Order: 1-800-837-5880 or order online at

With an eye on balancing the professional and personal fronts, Ed guides readers through the steps:

  • Choosing retirement on your own terms

  • Determining the value of your practice and its sale price

  • Transferring client and rainmaking responsibilities

  • Negotiating the sale more effectively

  • Charting an exit from a multi-partner firm

  • Strategizing the sale or closure of a practice

Learn more.

In this issue:

Associate Transition or Associate Takeover?

Selling Your Law Practice AND Life After Law...55% OFF!

Video: Training Your Partner

Featured Video:
(click image below to view)

Ed Poll on YouTube video

YouTube Life After Law
FaceBook Twitter

What Clients Are Saying:

"Ed helped me assess my situation and cut to the core issues that needed to be dealt with to improve it. Ed's no-nonsense approach to setting and achieving goals helped me get on track. I can recommend Ed to anyone who's ready to come to grips and take charge of their practice or career."

Horan, Lloyd Law Offices

"I wanted assistance from someone outside the firm: an expert who knew and understood the practice of law, business development and marketing, and law firm dynamics, ethics and politics. I needed someone who knew the practice of law to give me good and solid advice on how to raise my professional profile in the legal community and within the firm and to address challenges associated with working in a law firm environment. Through Ed's invaluable coaching and no-nonsense approach, he enabled me not only to stay employed at the firm, but to make partner and have a future with the firm. Since I began working with Ed, my family has noticed the positive effect on my confidence level, goals, and direction. My wife has been supportive of Ed since Day One."

Los Angeles, CA

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2013 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is categorized for the following audience(s):

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is listed under the following categories: