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Profitable Law Firm Management - Briefing
JOEL A. ROSE & ASSOCIATES, INC.
Management Consultants to Law Offices
P.O. Box 162, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Telephone (856)427-0050 | Fax (856)429-0073
WELCOME to Profitable Law Firm Management Briefing, a free, monthly newsletter that contains insight and information about law firm management and economics.
THIS ISSUE CONTAINS:
15 PROVEN HINTS FOR ENHANCING COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN A NEW MANAGING PARTNER AND OTHER PARTNERS
Joel shares 15 proven hints for enhancing communications between a new Managing Partner and other partners within the firm.
A PLAN FOR YOUR FIRM TO GROW ON
Any level of growth poses inherent problems involving the management of the individual lawyers, facilities and resources. The attorney in the smaller firm may keep informed about the firm's activities by personal observation and involvement, while his or her counterpart in the larger organization may rely more on the official lines of communication. Each of these attorneys will be adequately served so long as some formalization of the management processes has been imposed to ensure adequate control over all of the firm's affairs.
WHEN INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS BETTER THAN EVOLUTION
Any partnership, no matter the size, needs leadership. Good law firm management cannot be achieved until all the partners agree to subordinate some degree of independence to a managing partner or an executive managing committee. The partners must strike a balance between their rights as owners and their responsibilities as citizens of the firm. They must relinquish some personal prerogatives in order to achieve the overall results that they would not be able to attain on their own.
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CALL ON US to speak at Law Firm and Bar Association Events
We hope that you will call upon Joel A. Rose if you are looking for an effective speaker for your firm’s retreat, a partners’ meeting or bar association event, or desire assistance with the planning process. Below is a list of recent and future speaking engagements to look for:
- January 4, 2017: Clear Law Institute, Webinar, “Origination Credit and Partner Compensation: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due”
- February 15, 2017: New York State Bar Association, Managing Partners’ Conference, Joel served as the Panel Moderator, Live presentation and Tele-seminar, “Law Firm Business Development; Determining the Goals to be Achieved; Developing and Managing the Business Development Plan; Pitfalls to be Avoided; Compensation Incentives; Techniques for Evaluating Efforts and Results; and Strategies for Motivating Senior Partners to Transition Their Work, Clients and Networking Contacts to Other Members of the Firm”
- April 18, 2017: Clear Law Institute, Webinar, “Origination Credit and Partner Compensation: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due”
- April 19, 2017: New York State Bar Association, Managing Partners’ Conference, Joel served as the Panel Moderator, Live presentation and Tele-seminar, “How Mid-Sized Firms and Specialty Boutiques Can Survive, even Thrive” and “Law Firm Leadership Succession”
- April 27, 2017: Center for Competitive Management, Joel served as the Panel Moderator, Webinar, “Law Firm Collections: 101: Get Paid Faster; Avoid Legal Action (when possible) and Comply with Ethics Rules”
- June 9, 2017: Center 4 Competitive Management, Joel will serve as the Panel Moderator, Webinar, "Associate Compensation"
- June 20, 2017: New York State Bar Association, Joel will moderate the Managing Partners’ Conference, Live and Tele-seminar, “Planning the Orderly Succession of firm Governance and the Transition of Clients From Senior Partners to Other Members of the Firm.”
- June 15, 2017: New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Joel will serve as the Panel Moderator, Webinar, “To Merge or not to Merge”
- July 27, 2017: Clear Law Institute, Webinar, “The Orderly Succession of Firm Governance and The Transition of Clients from Senior Partners to other Members of the Firm”
- August 24, 2017: Clear Law Institute, Webinar, “Origination Credit and Partner Compensation: Giving Credit Where Credit is Due”
15 Proven Hints for Enhancing Communications Between a New Managing Partner and Other Partners
Below are several of Joel’s proven hints enhancing communications between a new managing partner and other partners within the firm.
- Position yourself as a leader who is eager to listen to the opinions of other partners.
- Build a working relationship with the departing Managing Partner
- Establish a constructive dialogue with key thought leaders and influential members of the firm.
- Delegate as much of the day-to-day administrative work as possible to the firm’s Administrator, Heads of offices, Heads of Practice Groups and seek the support of other members of the Executive Committee who may have experience with similar issues, as appropriate.
- Assisted by members of the Executive Committee, the Heads of each office and Practice Group, prepare goals and objectives for the firm, each Practice Group, office and partner.
- Take the time to schedule “warm and fuzzy” lunches with partners in each of the firm’s offices, as appropriate.
- Conduct at least annual management retreats for the Executive Committee, heads of each office, and the heads of each Practice Group to develop and discuss strategies for progressing the firm.
- Make partners’ meetings as productive as possible. Circulate proposed agendas before the meeting; discuss critical topics with the more influential partners; ask partners for input about topics/issues to be discussed; broadcast the results of meeting to partners.
- E-mails are a very efficient way of communicating with partners. However, be very careful when attempting to solve problems by e-mail. Even the best solutions to problems may be misinterpreted when they are sent via e-mail. Depending upon the issue to be addressed, it may be much more effective for the Managing Partner to meet briefly and personally with the partner who has asked the question.
- Avoid being chained to your desk. Make the time to walk the halls of your office and make it a point to regularly visit each of the firm’s other offices. Ask partners:
- What are the most promising and unexploited opportunities to enhance profitability and firm growth?
- What are the festering problems that this firm has just not been able to deal with to your satisfaction?
- Where would you focus your attention if you were me
- During partners’ meetings, be mindful of the vocal minority who constantly “revisit” issues because they may not agree with the majority of the partners, thinking that if they belabor the point long enough, the former will wear-down the majority who may be willing to concede to the minority to end the discussion. Appropriate discussion with the more influential partners about initiatives, strategies and policy issues in advance of the meeting (where the subject will be discussed) will build support for the proposal.
- Always try to obtain critical partner “buy-in” before “going out on a limb about certain questionable initiatives. Do your best to never go into a meeting at which a new policy issue will be discussed without discussing these issues with certain partners prior to the meeting so that you will not be surprised by the outcome of the discussion.
- Pay attention to your own personal habits. Every move you make as the Managing Partner will be subject to discussion and interpretation by other partners. That includes how early you arrive at the office; how you relate to attorneys and staff in the hallway; how you allocate your time; whether your time is submitted in a timely manner; how you prepare and conduct yourself at all meetings of partners, associates and staff; how attentive you are to following up on your accounts receivables and write-downs and write-offs; how long it takes for you to respond to partners’ requests; etc.
- Attend occasional practice group meetings.
- Assisted by the Administrator and/or members of the Executive Committee, develop action plans to implement your recommended initiatives before promoting these initiative to the partners – to see if they are doable.