Law Practice Management News
Ideas for Lawyers and Managers That Dare To Be Different August 2011

in this issue

What Makes an Effective Law Firm Managing Partner or Administrator

Marketing a Personal Injury Practice

Solo-Small Firm Question of the Month - Starting a Virtual Online Practice

John Olmstead to Participate in Illinois State Bar Association Solo Small Firm Conference

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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.

Our Law Practice Management E-Newsletter is distributed 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.

  • What Makes an Effective Law Firm Managing Partner or Administrator
  • Managing partners and firm administrators frequently ask us what skills and practices they need to have to effectively manage and lead their firms. Here are a few ideas.

    Effective law firm managing partners/administrators:

    1. Ask - what needs to be done
    2. Ask - what is right for the firm
    3. Develop and implement action plans
    4. Take responsibility for their decisions
    5. Take responsibility to communicating
    6. Focus on opportunities rather than problems
    7. Run productive meetings
    8. Think and say we rather than I
    9. Are "Firm First" focused rather than Lone Rangers "Me First" focused
    10. Know that you have to spend money to make money and encourges the firm to invest in the firm's future

    Read on . . .
  • Marketing a Personal Injury Practice
  • We are hearing similiar stories from our PI plaintiff law firm clients across the U.S. Case counts are down, quality of cases are not what they used to be, competition is fierce, and cases are getting harder to settle. The strategy is different from a firm that wants to build a high volume practice (build a factory) from a firm that desires to build a reputation-based practice. In essence you need to determine whether you want to build a high volume practice (a factory) or continue with a high quality reputation-based practice. Assuming that you want to continue your reputation-based practice here are a few suggestions:

    Read on ...
  • Solo-Small Firm Question of the Month - Starting a Virtual Online Practice
  • Question I am a partner with an 8 attorney firm in central Illinois. Earlier this year I attended the Illinois State Bar Association web-cast that you and others presented on Building and Managing the Virtual Law Firm. I thought the program was excellent. I do have a couple of questions.

    1. I can see how such an approach might make sense for a solo - but why would a 8 attorney firm with a brick and mortar office that has been in practice for 20 years consider such a delivery model?
    2. How would we go about it?

    Answer:If your firm has a sufficient volume of work, does not have a need or desire to capture more commodity type legal work that it is either not doing at all now or is losing to lower priced competitors (law firms or content providers), or does not have a need or desire to extend its reach geographically a virtual delivery model make not make sense. However, if your strategic (business plan) requires you to extend your geographic reach or be competitive in a commodity practice area supplementing your brick and mortar practice with a virtual delivery model might warrant consideration. Also consider that the younger generation that is growing up using the internet to shop, bank, and pay taxes may appreciate and or expect such an option. As we mentioned during the session certain practice areas are more appropriate than others. I have some firms your size that are supplementing their brick and mortar practices with on-line delivery models just to service one practice area that they could not effectively deliver in the traditional manner. Keep in mind the value curve that we discussed during the session.

    During the session I illustrated a continuum and we discussed the difference between virtual practices (doing virtual things) and a total on-line virtual practice. Even if you decide that the firm is not ready for a total on-line virtual practice, you may want to consider doing some of the virtual practices (virtual things) that we discussed to offer your clients more delivery options and more flexibility to your attorneys and staff.

    Start with your strategic plan and if you don't have one begin developing your long range plan. If you want to move in this direction you can use my handout as a resource guide.

  • John Olmstead to Participate in Illinois State Bar Association Solo Small Firm Conference
  • John Olmstead will present a session entitled - Managing Client Trust Accounts: Setting Up Client Trust Account Software October 27, 2011 at Hilton Springfield, Springfield, Illinois. The program will be part of the Illinois State Bar Assn 7th Annual Solo Small Firm Conference.

    For more information ...
  • FREE Guide to Law Firm Management Best Practices
  • Download a FREE copy of our Guide to Law Firm Management Best Practices.

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