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Best Practice Tips

Asked and Answered

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

Q. We are a 25-lawyer insurance defense firm in Northwest Dallas. We are managed by a managing partner, firm administrator, and director of human resources. We have been discussing the need for a marketing director. Are we too small? If we decide to hire one what should we be looking for and where should we start our search?

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a lawyer from the Carbondale area. Last week I attended your Illinois State Bar Association CLE Webinar - Law Practice Succession and Transition - Ideas for Getting Started. I am 66 years old and I fit the "Sole Owner" model that you discussed. I am the practice. I have one associate and one legal assistant and my associate has neither the desire or the ability to take over my practice. I am tired and want to retire by the end of the year. With no successors in sight, I am thinking I should just close the doors. I welcome your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing member of an 14-attorney firm in Miami. We initiated discussions with a large firm in Boston concerning the possibility of our firm merging with their firm. We met with one of their partners recently at their offices and he presented our interest to his other partners. He has advised us that there is an interest in having us meet the other equity partners and taking discussions to the next level. He would like some initial financial information from us. We feel we must provide them with some financial information at this point, but are unsure what to provide at this stage. I would like to hear your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a solo practitioner in Orlando, Florida with two secretaries and I am planning on merging my practice with another attorney in the same office location. He has three staff members. We have both been on our own for 20 years and have enjoyed our independence. We have decided that we want to setup an eat what you kill type of compensation system. We would appreciate your thoughts.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a five attorney firm in Austin, Texas. My accounting/office manager has just advised me that she is resigning her position as a result of her husband's job being relocated. She is the best employee I have had the pleasure of working with and I am not sure where to start regarding finding her replacement. She will be hard to replace - not just her skills - but her manner, relationship with me and other members in the firm, clients, etc. She is truly a class act. I would appreciate any thoughts that you may have.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a member of our firm's executive committee. We are an 18-attorney firm in Baltimore with four equity partners, five non-equity partners, and nine associates. Recently we asked one of our non-equity partners to join the equity ranks and he said no. We were shocked and taken by surprise. Is this a common occurrence? We would like to hear your thoughts

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for a Personal and Professional 2016

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

As 2015 comes to an end we begin with a clean slate for 2016. As with anything new - the uncertain future can be scary and exciting at the same time. Year-end provides an opportune time for reflection on the past year and setting goals for the next year - both personal and professional. Goal setting can improve your personal life and your practice.

Setting and achieving goals is one of the best ways to measure your life's and practice's progress and to create unusual clarity. The alternative is drifting along aimlessly with hope and a prayer.

I am a strong believer in the power of goals. This year I finished writing my book, The Lawyers Guide to Succession Planning published by the ABA which is scheduled to be released in January. I never would have even started, alone completed, such a project without very specific goals and timelines.

I strongly suggest that you established a few SMART goals for both your personal life and your practice for 2015 where each goal is: 

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in an eight attorney firm in downtown Chicago. Last week you participated in a discussion at an Illinois State Bar Association meeting where you indicated that four out of 10 of your law firm clients have had an employee embezzlement at some time or another. I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on how we can protect ourselves.

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a senior partner in a 14 attorney intellectual property firm in Memphis. We are planning on having a firm retreat in January 2016. We have never had a retreat before. Our plan is to have a one-day retreat facilitated by a consultant with specific focus on competitive strategy and marketing. We have just decided this week that we would like to do this and are just beginning the planning process. I would like to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

A. Here are my thoughts:

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of our six attorney civil litigation firm in Lexington, Kentucky. We are in the early stages of merger discussions with a 14 attorney firm in Lexington. My partners have asked me how other firms integrate their assets when the merger become effective. We would appreciate your thoughts?