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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.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is a 25-lawyer firm with 10 partners. Six of these partners are in their 60s. What should we be doing concerning planning the succession of these partners?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of an eight attorney estate planning firm in Jacksonville, Florida. Our firm handles estate planning and estate administration. For this entire year our financial numbers are way down and I am getting concerned. For example, compared to last year:

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We are a 16-lawyer firm - eight partners and eight associates located in Memphis. We handle business transactional work and litigation for small to mid-size companies. However, for the past 40 years our mainstay has been small community banks. With recent bank mergers and new banking regulations, our banking business has dropped off significantly. We have reached a desperate stage and we must replace this business quickly or consider possible dissolution. We have talked with a possible lateral partner that has a $300,000 book of debtor bankruptcy business. Is adding a lateral partner a good strategy for us?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We are a 12-lawyer firm in Austin, Texas. We have been approached by the owner of a three-attorney firm in an adjacent city who has a complimentary practice consisting of institutional business clients. He is looking to retire within the next 30 days and he would like us to acquire his clients. We have reviewed his practice and we would be willing to take over his clients but not his personnel or other fixed assets. He has no interest in a merger or a lengthy relationship with us. It could add $800,000 per year to our practice. We would appreciate your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a seven attorney firm in New York City. I have a bookkeeper that handles the accounting function. I receive monthly financial reports - but I believe I need a better tool to stay on top of my firm. I feel that I am lost, I don't want to take time to access different software modules such as our billing system, accounts payable system, general ledger system, etc. to get the information that I need to effectively manage the firm. We use Timeslips for billing and QuickBooks for bookkeeping. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the firm administrator of a 16-attorney firm in San Diego. We have six equity members, four non-equity members, and six associates. We also have four paralegals and six staff members. We are managed by a three member executive committee. Each month I provide the equity members and the executive committee with the same reports from our software system. They are quite numerous. The equity members and the executive committee complain that they get too many reports and they don't look at them while the non-equity members and the associate complain that they don't get access to any financial information. Do you have any suggestions?