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Best Practice tips

Best Practice: The 3 types of realization rates

Posted on July 13, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. Our firm is reviewing its partner compensation system and one of my partners suggested that we incorporate realization rates. This term was new to me. Is realization the percent that we collect? Your comments would be appreciated by all of us.

Best Practice: Building a law firm brand

Posted on July 6, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a 14-attorney firm in the western suburbs of Chicago. I am 45 years old and I started my practice as a solo 10 years ago. The firm focuses on business litigation exclusively. Like many law firms the name of the firm is My Name, LLC. The firm has grown rapidly and we have been successful. However, I am concerned that I should be building more of a "firm brand" and the firm is too much about me. I would appreciate your thoughts?

Best Practice: Law firm succession - Discussing equity ownership

Posted on June 29, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a 14-attorney insurance defense practice in Baltimore. I started the firm 20 years ago after leaving behind my partnership at another firm. Of the other 13 attorneys, there are four non-equity partners and the rest are associates. I am 63 and beginning to think about retirement and how I am going to transition out of the practice. Two of the non-equity partners are well seasoned attorneys, have major case responsibility, and have developed solid relationships with clients. I have discussed equity partnership vaguely with them, but their interests seem lackluster and they have been non-committal. I would appreciate your thoughts and advice on what my next steps should be.

Best Practice: Associate satisfaction and retention

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the owner of a 20-attorney litigation firm in Seattle. The 19 associates are all in the same tier or category and are paid a salary plus bonus. Their time with the firm ranges from 1-15 years. I enjoy sole ownership but I realize that to continue to grow and prosper I must make some changes. I have recently lost several associates that I would have liked to have stayed with the firm. I am also getting stressed having all of the management responsibility since I currently make all of the decisions. Several associates have told me that the morale is low. I welcome your thoughts.

Best Practice: Managing performance reviews

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

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

Q. We are a firm is a 15-attorney firm in Kansas City, Missouri. Our management committee is charged with the responsibility of determining partner, associate and staff compensation. Several years ago we switched to a competency based, goal driven system for partners, associates, and staff. The system requires self-evaluations, peer evaluations for partners and associates, and self-evaluations. This requires extensive performance reviews, tracking, scheduling, and documentation. We are using Excel spreadsheets and MS Word documents and having a hard time managing all of this. Do you have any ideas?

Best Practice: How to set up a law firm executive committee

Posted on June 8, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a partner in a 12-attorney firm in Downers Grove, Ill. We have eight partners and four associates. We are managed by committee of the whole - all partners are involved in all decisions. We have been considering moving to an executive committee. How do we set it up?

Best Practice: Law firm succession - Transitioning clients to the next generation

Posted on June 1, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a member of a three-member executive committee for a 34-lawyer firm in Austin, Texas. We have been in practice for over 100 years. While we have had partners retire in the past with no issues, we are now facing a situation where seven partners are approaching retirement at the same time and each of them controls significant books of business. What can the firm do to ensure that retiring partners properly transition their clients so the firm can continue to flourish after the partners are no longer here? We would appreciate your thoughts.

Best Practice: How to use webinars to market your practice

Posted on May 25, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the managing partner of a six attorney boutique estate planning practice located in Madison, Wisconsin. We had a great year last year financially as we have the last several years. However, this year (2016) we are off to a terrible start. Our new matter intakes are down by twenty-five percent. We have a very proactive marketing program - print advertisements, directory listings, top notch website, and we do seminars for prospective clients. I know other estate planning attorneys that do more seminars than we do. Should we be doing more seminars? I would appreciate your insight. 

Best Practice: Should capital contributions be required for new equity partners?

Posted on May 18, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am the sole owner of a 25-attorney litigation boutique firm in Los Angeles. I am the only equity partner with nine non-equity partners and 15 associates. I am concerned that if I don't provide a path to equity partnership, some of my senior talent may gradually defect to other firms or split off to create their own firms. I also believe that providing a path to equity partner for deserving non-equity partners is the right thing to do. Therefore, I am planning on admitting two non-equity members this year. Should I require capital contributions?

Best Practice: What to do if you're losing clients

Posted on May 11, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

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

Q. I am a member of our firm's executive committee. We are a 16-attorney business transactional firm in Seattle. Recently the firm has lost several key clients and we want to know what we can do determine why this happened and what we can do to improve client retention. I would appreciate your suggestions.

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