Browse Archives | Subscribe | Home

LawBiz® TIPS – Week of August 27, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

The last 5 years have been very difficult for most everyone in our economy. The Bar is no exception. Membership is down and services are curtailed. Management of the Bar somehow just doesn't get it; it's the members that pay their salaries, and it's the lawyers who should be foremost in the minds and efforts of the staff. Yes, there are some great staff folks. Their hands, though, are often tied by management. All the more reason why I have become an ardent advocate of eliminating integrated bar associations. Make them all voluntary; licensing and discipline can be handled by a consumer affairs department as are other professions currently. The voluntary bar, then, will be responsive to its members. Less politicking, faster response and more meaningful results for members.

Ed with his AirstreamThe Oregon roads prove to be very hospitable. We had a great time driving south along the Pacific Ocean. Technology enabled me to stay in touch with both my office and my clients. Reminds me of the commercial where someone is resting on the beach in Hawaii, drinking a Mai Tai, while still being connected to her commercial world.
Ed signature

Did We Really Learn a Lesson?

It has become a cliché to say that law firms of all sizes - but especially BigLaw - have "learned their lesson" in the years after the Great Recession began. Of course, opinions vary as to what that lesson is, but generally it comes down to re-emphasizing that the interests of the client, rather than the law firm, come first. There are all kinds of ways this supposedly is being shown: by not indiscriminately adding lawyers or paying them beyond what clients will accept, by giving up automatic rate increases and developing hourly fee billing alternatives that clients want, by keeping costs under control rather than focusing on maximizing revenue. All of these are of course laudatory goals. How is the legal profession doing at meeting them?

Sadly, a good case can be made that these lessons have not been learned. The new 2013 Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition survey of leaders at nearly 800 US law firm with 50 or more lawyers shows that "business as usual" remains in 2007 mode for many of them:

  • Eight out of ten firm leaders believe "more non-hourly billing" is here to stay - but only 29% of firm leaders said their firms have significantly changed their pricing strategy since the recession.

  • Billing based on metrics other than hourly rates represents only 10% of fees collected at surveyed firms, and two-thirds of all AFAs were provided in response to client requests, compared to only about one third offered proactively by the firms.

  • Only 13% of respondents said they were "highly confident" their firms could cope with new competitive market conditions, and only 5% considered their partners to be "highly aware" of what it will take to be successful in these conditions.

  • Only 30% of firms said they have experienced a net reduction in overhead costs.

  • More than half of firm leaders still believe that growth in lawyer headcount is a requirement for their firm's future success.

  • Almost one-third of respondents said their firm's top challenge was increasing revenue and getting new business; 5% cited adding client value, and 3% said improving efficiency.

From the largest firms to the hundreds of thousands of sole practitioners, such responses are not just self-defeating - they are self-destructive. The need to build a collaborative relationship founded on communication and understanding the values of each client as an individual or organization is the one and only Great Recession lesson every firm should have learned.

Secrets of The Business of Law®

40% OFF!

Successful Practices for Increasing Your Profits!

Secrets of The Business of Law, Second Edition

Second Edition
Newly revised and expanded

until Sept 1
(reg. $49)

eBook: $19

To Order:

or order online at

Providing attorneys and law firms specific and practical suggestions for being more effective and making more money in the process. Learn more.

"This book is great. It's full of practical advice for lawyers who want to increase their bottom lines. The book is not overwhelming, the individual articles are short and to the point, and the writing style is friendly. I highly recommend it."

In this issue:

Did We Really Learn a Lesson?

Secrets of The Business of Law® - 40% OFF!

Video: Incentive Based Compensation

Featured Video:
(click image below to view)

Ed Poll on YouTube video

YouTube Life After Law
FaceBook Twitter

What Clients Are Saying:

"On a personal level, I'm not scared any more. The recession reduced my wife and me from a comfortable two-income family to a one person income and a capital drain. When I first called Ed, I truly was counting the months until we would have to put the house on the market... The things we have put in place and will continue working on guaranteed my business picking up."

Northern California

"Ed was coaching me during our firm reorganization when disaster hit! Key personnel departed and I was panic-stricken. Not only did he honor his commitment to 24/7, but his advice enabled me to refocus my priorities. Now, I'm eating, I'm sleeping, and I'm smiling thanks to his guidance."


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: