Category: Management

Diversity increases revenues and profits

As quoted in the Mercury News, citing a recent study from the University of California, Davis:

“For every nine men holding executive posts or seats on the boards of California’s largest public companies, there is only one woman, according to a study released Thursday by the University of California-Davis. (more…)

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Job descriptions

Job descriptions will disappear, according to futurist Roger Herman. eplacing them will be role descriptions and individualized

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In the land of the fee

Profit is an insidious word in New Zealand. According to a recent study, the setting of goals, driven by the desire for profit, is the reason for overbilling. (more…)

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Departing lawyer copies firm’s documents

The question was asked: Can a departing lawyer copy documents from files of the “old” firm?

There may be consensus that that is not appropriate where the objective of the departing lawyer is to take clients from the firm as he/she leaves.

There is less agreement where there is not “some other nefarious purpose” such as seeking to have a body of work, form files, from which to commence new work for new clients in the new law firm.

The “other nefarious purpose,” however, relates to violation of copyright law. Even if the lawyer created the product himself, the copyright protection attaches to the documents and resides with the law firm … analogous to “work for hire” in which the creator has no proprietary rights. Those rights belong to the person/entity that paid for the work.

Stealing the client need not be the issue, but “stealing” the work product of the firm is …

And there is another perspective: “The file and its contents always belong to the client, and neither the firm or a departing lawyer. You need permission from your client to move the file…I personally think you can keep a copy, but you would not have property or intellectual property rights attached to it since the work product belongs to the client.” Joan M. Swartz

What is correct and what is enforced, however, may be two different things … and the suggestion that agreement and being up front is better and always the safest bet, especially if there is any possibility of getting future referral work.

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Managing litigation

Noted physicist Freeman Dyson once said: “The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple.” While he was most likely not referring to index cards in particular, he was referring to the fact that sometimes the simplest solutions work best.

Reference here is to an article about the use of 3 x 5 index cards. Very simple, yet ingenious.

I recommend that you look at www.technolawyer about this subject … an interesting article.

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How do you define service?

Tom Collins makes an excellent point: “Do you believe that law firm clients are happy to have their e-mail and phone calls returned the following day? Do you think clients are happy to deal with someone hiding behind their phone system? Would they be happy dealing with someone who places a greater priority on their own efficiency than yours?”

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M & A already!

It’s only the first day of the new year, and I received notice of more large firm mergers! What does that portend for the rest of the year?

“A British trade publication reports that St. Louis law firm Bryan Cave LLP is in merger talks with Cleveland-based Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP. A deal would create one of the 10 largest U.S. law firms, with more than 1,500 lawyers.”

This seems to reflect the American dogma: Growth is good, stability is bad.

At the same time, however, this will cause change and change creates opportunities. Keep your antennae up for new opportunities for lateral hires of lawyers who become dissatisfied with the new structure and for clients who may prefer the more personal service of a “smaller” law firm.

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The Remote Control CEO

Another lesson can be learned by lawyers from industry: Empower your staff to make decisions. We’re talking about process, obviously, not legal advice. There is much in the running of a law office that paralegals and other staff can handle without the lawyer. This involves, among other things, the delegation of authority from the lawyer to the staff … without micro-managing the process. (more…)

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