At The
Intersection
Where General Counsel and Law Firms Connect

Category Archives: Law firm practices

Subscribe to Law firm practices RSS Feed

How You’ll Know When Your Firm’s Been Fired

Posted in Law firm practices

UPDATE: This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week award! I sat in on a meeting recently when a major corporation’s General Counsel, CFO, and COO made the unanimous decision to fire a law firm that had been serving the company for over two decades. There had been no catastrophic we-bet-the-company-and-lost kind of screw-up, no egregious failure… Continue Reading

DISPATCH TO MANAGING PARTNERS: 5 Key Observations on Law’s Tectonic Shifts

Posted in Law firm practices

UPDATE: This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week. BigLaw is a weekly email newsletter that provides helpful information for the world’s largest law firms and the corporate counsel who hire them. For several years now, all us bloggers and pundits have been pushing the Chicken Little button and trying to get your attention. We all have… Continue Reading

It’s All in the Game: Managing Partners Come to Grips with “Gamification”

Posted in Gamification, Law firm practices

Many managing partners tell us they are struggling to get their arms around new tools and techniques for driving more efficiency and cost-effectiveness into legal service delivery. Firms are seeing more and more RFPs in which clients make increasingly draconian demands for better management and control of legal work. AFAs (alternative fee arrangements) are reshaping… Continue Reading

Adventures in Magical Thinking – Part III

Posted in Law firm practices

In our last two posts, we’ve been discussing “Magical Thinking,” the tendency of firm leaders to assume that rank-and-file partners can and will divine the reasoning of the Executive Committee and will take all necessary steps to keep abreast of firm economics, strategic decisions and operational guidance. This tendency produces frequent disconnects between the way… Continue Reading

Adventures in Magical Thinking – Part II

Posted in Law firm practices

In the last post we discussed “magical thinking” – the wishes and hopes of firm leadership that the lawyers they lead will exhibit certain desirable behaviors just because leadership wants them to or hopes they will. Magical Thinking Building Blocks There are five common components to magical thinking: 1)      Reality Disconnects: Leadership may “get it,”… Continue Reading

Lawyer Assessment and Client Development – An Emerging Trend

Posted in Law firm practices

As part of an innovative individual business development coaching program for a group of its high-potential partners, a forward-looking global law firm was persuaded to include a battery of personality and motivational assessment instruments to map out each partner’s “game face,” interpersonal style, motivational drivers and likely stressors or self-awareness blind spots. This firm’s Executive… Continue Reading

Is This In My Job Description? What Managing Partners Say About Their Job

Posted in Law firm practices

This post continues an ongoing series deriving from discussions by a group of leaders of small and medium-sized firms at a Managing Partners Forum recently sponsored by Edge International. This group of MPs report that daily they confront a bewildering – often seemingly crazy — variety of issues and frustrations they did not anticipate when… Continue Reading

Loneliness at the Top: Managing Partners’ Scary Balancing Act

Posted in Law firm practices

In our last post, we described the almost overwhelming variety of issues reported by firm leaders attending an Edge International-sponsored Managing Partners’ Forum, and we promised a more granular look at several of the challenges that really keep them up at night. In this installment: How do I balance my management responsibilities and the demands… Continue Reading

Up Close and Personal – Perspectives from a Managing Partners’ Forum

Posted in Law firm practices

Edge International recently co-sponsored and facilitated a Managing Partners’ Forum in Savannah for medium-sized firms in the Southeastern region, and I came away from the discussions both with some eye-opening impressions and a renewed sense of respect for how hard law firm leaders’ jobs are these days. My partners and I were there not to… Continue Reading

The Death of Lifetime Partnership?

Posted in Law firm practices

In a recent article entitled “Layoffs Threaten Law-Firm Partners,” The Wall Street Journal broke the startling news — irony intended — that “as firms grapple with continued lackluster demand for legal services, some are handing out pink slips” to unproductive partners. The article quoted one unnamed partner as saying, “you’re only as secure as the… Continue Reading

Battling the New Inefficiency Disease: Digital Distraction

Posted in Law firm practices

Today’s increasing drive for more efficiency in the delivery of legal services tends to focus on proactive tactics and technologies to achieve faster communication, faster results, and complete elimination of time that doesn’t add value. Ironically, however, today’s technological advances are creating an escalating and little-acknowledged source of inefficiency. How? By creating constant and unavoidable distraction… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management: Going for Broke and Turning Up the Heat

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

Heretofore, the burgeoning worldwide Legal Project Management (LPM) trend has shown what you see when the buyer turns up the heat.  It’s safe to say that if more and more clients were not demanding legal services that are on time, on budget, efficiently managed and predictably rendered, we’d still be back in the “good old… Continue Reading

Well, Isn’t That Predictable? Using Legal Project Management To Improve Client Satisfaction

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend

Whether you are planning to climb Mt. McKinley or to provide well-managed legal services to a key client, assaying the possible and probable changes to your plan is key to success. Recent headlines in Alaska told a tragic story about four climbers on Mt. McKinley, the highest peak in North America.  Because the weather had… Continue Reading

“Grubby Money” – Lawyers’ Reluctance to Talk About Fees

Posted in Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

It’s no secret – and no surprise – that in today’s competitive and cost-constrained legal landscape the Almighty Dollar has taken center stage: clients are increasingly fixated on tightened budgets and efficient service delivery. It’s also clear that discussing the dollars is something a lot of lawyers prefer to avoid. We recently led a Legal… Continue Reading

Why Lawyers are Lousy Collaborators

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

Guest Post by Douglas Richardson Partner, Edge International In an evolving legal profession in which the players are ever more functionally interdependent, the ability to collaborate has become a core competency. In managing law firms and legal departments…managing legal projects…in client service and client relations…and in marketing and business development, the ability to play well… Continue Reading

A Case Study at the Cutting Edge: Legal Project Management in Australia

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools, Legal Spend, New Normal, Outside Counsel

The legal profession, sad to say, rewards its denizens with relatively few breakout moments, a dearth of challenges that allow its movers and shakers to break new ground. All the talk about law’s “New Normal” notwithstanding, the legal landscape is a pretty conventional place, populated by more “first followers” than “first movers.” That’s why it… Continue Reading

A New Frame of Reference: Reflections on the Legal Industry from the Amazon River

Posted in Law firm practices, New Normal, Outside Counsel

It’s strange to find myself ruminating on the changes in the legal profession as I travel on the Amazon River in Brazil, 20 miles upriver from the city of Manaus.  What could the global legal marketplace possibly have in common with one of the world’s largest and most complex watersheds? A couple of similarities swim… Continue Reading

THE LOW DELTA FIRM: Demise of the Low Ball?

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

If you are racing to stay competitive in today’s rapidly-changing legal marketplace, you probably have learned some new words and acronyms. Convergence programs. Alternative fee arrangements – or AFAs. RFPs, those increasingly draconian client requests for proposals. LPM, that is, legal project management. LPOs, those legal process outsourcing enterprises. The Key Selection Criterion All of… Continue Reading

You Can’t Make Lawyers into Techies: 3 Lessons About Legal Project Management

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools

As a result of a conversation I had this week with David Rueff, a partner at Baker Donelson and an ardent advocate of Legal Project Management (LPM), right now I am particularly mindful of the adage, “never try to teach a rhino to dance. The results are generally unsatisfactory and it annoys the rhino.” Mind… Continue Reading

Extreme Magical Thinking: Technology Won’t Take You Off the Hook

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management, Legal Project Management tools

On the eve of LegalTech, I have been encountering a lot of magical thinking recently when talking with law firm partners about Legal Project Management.  One partner, hoping that the IT and KM folks can simply buy a tech solution so that he could avoid making any real changes to the way he manages matters,… Continue Reading