Best Practice: Law firm management - Planning ideas for 2013
Asked and Answered
By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC
Q. Our 16 attorney firm is having our first planning retreat next week to plan for 2013. I have been charged with putting together the agenda and program. Do you have any suggestions that we as a firm might consider or think about adopting?
A. Here are a few ideas that you might want to consider.
- Take a serious look at the firm's present position in the marketplace. Review financials, compare against financial ratios, compare with both the firm’s past history and against law firm benchmarks. Examine how well the firm is competing. Is the firm too dependent on a narrow base of clients? Is the practice at risk? Conduct a client survey and obtain client feedback both on firm performance as well as possible unmet needs and opportunities. Consider a comprehensive management review.
- Formulate business goals and develop a strategic business plan as a roadmap for the future. Design and simplify business reports designed to measure the goals identified in the strategic business plan. Strive for a one page summary as the primary report.
- Require all timekeepers in the firm to submit personal one page business plans which in addition to outlining goals for the year provided fee revenue goals with an element of stretch. The goals should have a stretch component but yet be realistic and attainable. These plans should be approved by the Executive Committee, Managing Partner or the Partnership.
- Find ways to focus the firm and foster accountability from all.
- Undertake a few projects at a time that can be realistically accomplished. Delegate tasks across the firm.
- Law firms must adopt management structures that enable the firm to act decisively and quickly. Structures that do not support such a culture must be replaced.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC,(www.olmsteadassoc.com) is a past chair and member of the ISBA Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics. For more information on law office management please direct questions to the ISBA listserver, which John and other committee members review, or view archived copies of The Bottom Line Newsletters. Contact John at email@example.com.