Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership

Best Practice: Law firm business models - Alternatives to consider

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. Our litigation firm is located in Grand Rapids, Mich. and consists of 12 attorneys - eight partners and four associates. We started the firm six years ago as a result of several of us leaving larger law firms and wanting to start something new and different. We have been discussing our current approach to law practice and want to consider alternative business models. We would appreciate your thoughts.

A. The current economic climate has caused law firms to question many of the fundamental business models that have served at the core of law firm practice management for many years. Many law firms are exploring revolutionary business models while other firms are actively discussing whether changes to their traditional approaches are needed. 

I suggest that you start by conducting a review of the following areas and develop strategies for each area:

  • Infrastructure
  • Talent management
  • Legal services pricing
  • Work process improvement
  • Client acquisition and retention

The key is to look for ways that you can differentiate yourself, make your firm distinctive, establish a lasting competitive advantage, and determine your competitive strategy.

Click here for our blog on law firm strategy

Click here for out articles on various management topics

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC,( 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

Posted on Feb 12, 2014 by Chris Bonjean | Comments (0)
Filed under


ISBA Members login to post comments.