Category: Management

Make Hay When the Sun Shines

“The time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining … ” (from the Memphis Business Journal)

When business is good, that’s the time to market your services, the time to make sure that your target market know what you do and that you’re available to serve their needs and the time to shore up your infrastructure for additional work.

By the time it rains, and cash flow is tight, it’s too late — There seldom is an umbrella laying around.

It’s this philosophy, among others, that made Jack Welch an effective CEO for GE.

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Disaster Recovery — Part III

One of the primary and most essential ingredients to disaster recovery is communication – communication with associate lawyers and with staff. Don’t forget vendors and clients and the courts, and others who make your business work.

But, setting up a good communications system must be in place before the disaster occurs.

After a disaster … (more…)

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Your prospects for 2006?

The American Lawyer(R) reports that managing partners of the nation’s largest law firms are bullish on their prospects for the upcoming year, predicting that their revenue and profit increases will outpace the economy in 2006. (more…)

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Business acceleration – Asking the right questions

In planning for next year, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What are the two most important business outcomes we are working to achieve in the next six months?
2. What behaviors will be necessary in order to increase the chances we will achieve those desired business outcomes?
3. Whom do we need to influence in order to get both the desired behaviors and the desired business results?
4. How will we influence these people?
5. Who will specifically provide the influence to the various individuals?

(Courtesy of Dan Coughlin, corporate & career catalyst)

If you want help in answering these questions, see our classic guide (called the “Bible of running a law practice”), Attorney & Law Firm Guide to The Business of Law

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Malpractice claims studied

A recent survey produced by the ABA’s Standing Committee on Lawyers Professional Liability contains some interesting statistics. First, this report focuses on malpractice claims. The results here are not necessarily consistent with Disciplinary Boards’ results. More clients tend to complain to the State Bars than they file malpractice claims in court. The information, nevertheless, is instructive. (more…)

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Plumbers get more education than lawyers!

Quite some time ago, I saw a statistic that shows plumbers get more treaining than lawyers do! They purportedly received 40 hours per year in order to keep their licenses. Lawyers are required to have approximately 25 hours in 3 years, or 8+ hours per year.

Is there something wrong with this picture?

Today, National Public Radio reported that the National Association of Manufacturers recommends to its members that they give 3% of their revenue to educating their employees.

What would that same percentage mean to lawyers? Assuming an average billable work load of 1500 hours, that would mean 45 hours per year!

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Principle of delegation

Question: How do I create my own blog?

Answer: Hire someone! The expense is far less than the time spent (no matter how easy with TypePad or other tools) which will take you away from other marketing activities.

Delegation is a principle by which I live. I want to do those things that only I can do, like coaching, consulting and marketing for more work. Other things that I need done can be done (and usually better) by someone else.

If you think of the creation of a blog or other web machinations as working in the garden, i.e., your time away from the office, then so be it. Mine is cycling. I get little enough time to do that … but if I did the other things myself, then I would get no cycling and always complaining about being overworked.

The issue of cash flow is important. But, if I can market for new business, I usually can get a client (with their cash flow) before or soon after I have to pay for the service I’ve delegated/ contracted to someone else.

Again, just my $.02 worth ….

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Fran Musselman — a visionary

This evening, in Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of meeting Fran Musselman, former chair of the ABA’s Law Practice Management chair. The occasion was the presentation of the LPM Section’s highest honor, the Sam Smith Award.

During his comments, Fran talked about the basic principles that guided him during his long, illustrious career and as chairman of the major New York law firm, Milbank, Tweed law firm.

His principles were:
1. The client comes first
2. The client comes first
3. The client comes first
4. The client comes first
5. The client comes first
He added that the lawyer must be the conscience of the client. The client is not necessarily “right” at all costs; the lawyer cannot allow the client to do anything, if that “anything” is inappropriate.

6. The staff must be considered; they are extremely important to the success of the law firm and are too often under-appreciated.
7. Take care of your staff.
8. Take care of your staff.
9. Take care of your staff.

10. Take care of your partners
11. Last, take care of yourself.

These are the principles which guided him to success. They are words to live by.

Parenthetically, I just learned that the Bar Association of the State Bar of Washington has rejected MCLE credit for a program focusing on “Managing Client Expectations.” In their words, the intent of the program is to teach marketing skills to lawyers. This is astounding! … And pathetic! Helping lawyers to understand the needs of clients and managing clients’ expectatins such that the rules of professional conduct are honored is the highest calling! Helping lawyers focus on clients, and concurrently make more money, also helps the clients by protecting lawyers from becoming marginal and likely invade the clients’ trust account.

Fran also suggested that the computer should be used as a management tool and lamented that the computer is too oftehn misused with the result that collegiality among lawyers is destroyed.

Wise words! Despite Fran’s 80 years, he is still active in the New York bar and very wise in his commentaries.

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