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Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner with a fourteen attorney business litigation defense firm in Los Angeles. I am the member on our three member executive committee that is responsible for financial oversight. This year we put in place an 1800 annual (150 hours per month) billable hour expectation for associate attorneys. No one has ever reached 150 hours. Are our expectations unrealistic? What is our problem? I would appreciate your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the partner recently put in charge of marketing in our eight lawyer general practice firm. For years we have simply relied on referrals from past clients, lawyers, and other referral sources as our sole means of client development. A few years ago we invested in a website. We are now considering whether we should invest in social media. I welcome your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a six-attorney firm in downtown Chicago. I am sixty four and starting to think about retirement and would appreciate your thoughts on how where to start.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a twelve attorney defense litigation firm in Santa Monica, California. We have four partners and eight associates. Associates are paid a salary. We have several associates that are being overpaid - they are being paid $150,000 - $180,000 and just barely generating $300,000 in working attorney fee receipts. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a twelve attorney general practice firm in Upstate New York. There are eight partners and four associates in the firm. Our firm was formed five years ago when we broke off from another firm in the area. That firm was led and managed by a dictatorial founder and other attorneys in the firm including partners had no say in management matters whatsoever. When we formed this firm we decided that all attorneys including associates would be included in the decision-making process. All management decisions must be passed by all attorneys in the firm. When we were smaller this worked okay but now that we are larger we are having problems. I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a fourteen attorney firm in Orlando, Florida. We have Two equity members, five non-equity members, and seven associates. We are currently managed by the managing member. In order to be more inclusive we are thinking about eliminating the managing member position and moving to a three member executive committee with one of the three members being a non-equity member. I would appreciate your thoughts?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the firm administrator for a small personal injury five attorney practice in Des Moines, Iowa. The firm's owner is approaching retirement and is planning on approaching other law firms regarding sale of the practice or merger. He has asked me for reports in order that we can value the practice. QuickBooks is the only software that we use. What reports should I use to establish a value for the practice?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of an eighteen attorney firm in New Orleans. We have six equity founding partners, four non-equity partners, and eight associates. We represent institutional clients. Four of the six equity partners are in their sixties and two are in their late fifties. The six equity partners are concerned about the future of the firm as they approach retirement. If they retired today the firm would cease to exist - the non-equity partners would not be able to retain our existing clients and acquire new clients. We have not been successful at motivating our non-equity partners to develop and bring in new clients. We have harped on this for years and encouraged all attorneys to develop business. We implemented a component of our non-equity partner and associate compensation system to compensate them for new client origination. Unfortunately, we have not been able to motivate our non-equity partners and associates to develop new sources of business. Our non-equity partners and associates have a nine to five work ethic and an entitlement mentality. Would you share your thoughts?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a thirty attorney insurance defense firm in Arlington, Texas. While we are still in our first generation - several of our partners are approaching retirement and some of our relationships in our insurance company clients are also retiring. We are looking for ways to shore up and expand our client base. We would appreciate your suggestions.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a relatively new attorney. I graduated three years ago from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. After law school I started with a small firm in the northern suburbs. Now with three years under my belt I am considering starting my own firm. I would appreciate your suggestions on how to get started.