Law Practice Management News
Ideas for Lawyers and Managers That Dare To Be Different October/November 2010

in this issue

Hiring Lawyers That Are Children of Firm Owners or Partners

Are Your Law Firm Partners Onboard?

Characteristics of Successful Law Firms: Basic Building Blocks - Block Three - Management

Solo Question of the Month - Getting Paid and Collecting Receivables

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John W. Olmstead


Welcome to Olmstead & Associates Law Practice News, a law practice management resource for practicing attorneys, managing partners, administrators, and others that must keep updated on all aspects of law firm management.

Starting this month we will be publishing and distributing our Law Practice Management E-Newsletter on the first Wednesday of each month. Look for it and send us your emails with your ideas for topics that you would like covered. I wish to thank those who take the time to email me with their thoughts and comments. I encourage our readers to do so.

  • Hiring Lawyers That Are Children of Firm Owners or Partners
  • Dealing with family members can be a challenge to say the least. I have seen it go both ways. Many firms have brought children and other family members into the firm and have had excellent results. Others have not. In general I believe that law firms do a better job at this than do other business firms. Read on in re one firm' s question and our suggestions.

    Read on . . .
  • Are Your Law Firm Partners Onboard?
  • Getting your partners on board is always a challenge. The obstacles are almost too numerous to outline. Yet if law firms want to be successful in this turbulent environment they must embrance change and get their partners not only behind new strategies but often they must also be the ones to implement these strategies as well.

    Read on . . .
  • Characteristics of Successful Law Firms: Basic Building Blocks - Block Three - Management
  • Last month we continued our discussion on the topic of Charasteristics of Successful Law Firms and focused on leaderhip as a building block. The third basic building block is management. Successful firms have solid and effective management in place. This may be a single individual or a core group of individuals.

    Management is one of the major problems facing law firms. Attorneys have a hard time balancing their three roles as producer, manager, and owner. Successful firms have a good governance and management structure in place and effectively manage the firm.

    Read on ...
  • Solo Question of the Month - Getting Paid and Collecting Receivables
  • Question: I am a solo attorney and have had my practice for seven years. I represent primarily individuals but I do have small business clients as well. During the past year I am having a much harder time getting paid and collecting past due receivables. Do you have any suggestions?

    Answer: Regardless of whether economic times are good or bad cash flow is always a matter of prime concern for law firms. With it taking in general 3-4 months to convert client work to cash anything the firm can do to speed up the collection cycle is always desirable. Here are a few ideas:

    1. Do everything you can to keep receivables from going out to 90 days. Receivables aged one month are 93.2% collectable; three or more months are 72.3% collectable, and one year or more are 28.4% collectable.
    2. Call - don't waste time with mailing follow-up letters.
    3. Treat collection calls as an extension of client service. Calls should be treated as client service calls - not collection calls.
    4. Caller should be someone other than the attorney who did the work for the client, qualified staff member or outsourced Accounts Receivable Account Manager.
    5. Calls should be made by a trained Accounts Receivable Account Manager with client-friendly people skills.
    6. Calls should be made on each account as soon as it reaches the due date.
    7. Accept credit cards and offer it as a payment option.
    8. Discount bills when necessary if it will expediate payment and engineer payment plans.
    9. Diary, calendar, and follow-up.
    10. Consider outsourcing to an Accounts Receivable Account Manager - not a collection firm.

    Read on for other tips on getting paid
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