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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of September 22, 2015

LawBiz(r) newsletter

We saw "Steve Jobs" movie. Another perspective of the man.

"Musicians play an instrument. I play the orchestra..." he said.

A visionary, like many, who was driven. So much so that he ignored the signs of his own mortality while his drive and creativity changed the world. His vision created innovation, but it was his determination and will power that succeeded in fulfilling his vision.

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Management: Staying at the Top of the Roller Coaster

Poor business management has killed many a large and small law firm alike during the economic roller coaster of the past years. If firms expect to climb to the top of the roller coaster and stay poised there, they must heed the following lessons:

  • Firms cannot indiscriminately add lawyers without regard for demand. The law school hiring lockstep that used to be a thing of the past should remain a thing of the past.
  • Firms cannot pay compensation out of scale with what clients will accept. New, lower associate payscales and partner compensation tied to performance should become the norm.
  • Firms cannot indiscriminately pursue mergers with each other. Combining law firms should be done only to enhance synergies and eliminate redundancies.
  • Firms cannot automatically raise rates. The billable hour may not be dead, but alternative billing is here to stay, and the casualty in the process is unilateral rate increases.
  • Firms cannot try to grow without a clear client-development strategy. The only practical focus should be on profitable clients with highly desirable work.
  • Firms cannot ignore budgeting. Budgets define successful business planning, and any business can and should operate according to a budget.
  • Firms cannot ignore technology. Rather, they must use it to reduce labor (and legal) costs to leverage lawyers' per-unit fees.
  • Firms cannot put a premium on offices since remote work tools and the virtual practice of law increasingly make physical locations less important.
  • Firms cannot be banks for their clients as millions of dollars in unpaid receivables sit on their books. Enforcing the engagement agreement is essential.

Law is as much a business as it is a service, and lawyers who do not understand this basic principle will fail at the business end and thus be incapable of providing their services.



Management: Staying at the Top of the Roller Coaster

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LawBiz® Registry: Buy or Sell Your Practice

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"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."


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London, England


Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |   |


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