Law Practice Management News
Ideas for Lawyers and Managers That Dare To Be Different June 2012

in this issue

Obtaining More Business From Existing Business Clients

Law Firm Strategic Plans: Are They Practical For Small Law Firms?

Solo-Small Firm Question of the Month - Law Firm Succession: Using Affiliation As a Phase I Pilot Test

John Olmstead to Present at Missouri Bar Association Solo Small Firm Conference

Download Our Profitability Checklist

Looking to Sell or Merge Your Practice - Let Us Know

Johns Photo

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.

  • Obtaining More Business From Existing Business Clients
  • On average it costs five times as much (dollars/time investment) to get new clients than it does to get more business from existing clients. It just makes good business sense to leverage existing relationships.

    I suggest that your first priority is to circle your wagons around your existing clients and insure that the quality of your services and the quality of your relationship with the client is beyond reproach. Then look for unmet needs and additional work from existing clients. Once this has been accomplished begin targeting new business clients and cultivating relationships one by one

    Many of our clients that represent business clients have found the following (listed in order of value to the firm) to be a few of the more successful marketing tools at the firm and individual attorney level:

    Read on . . .
  • Law Firm Strategic Plans: Are They Practical For Small Law Firms?
  • According to recent surveys, 70+% of the responding law firms (ranging in size from the largest to 45 attorney firms) have formal written strategic plans. Smaller firms have a much lower experience. In our experiences with smaller law firms we are finding that fewer than 15% have formal written strategic plans. I consider success to be achievement of measurable results as evidenced by achievement of the goals and objectives outlined in the plan and actual implementation of action items. Lawyers and law firms seem to do better at planning than they do at implementation. Larger firms usually are more successful in implementation due to availability of management resources, leadership and functional governance. Smaller firms tend to have problems with implementation. In fact, we frequently recommend that a firm address other management issues prior to engaging in strategic planning. If a firm is having problems implementing day-to-day operational decisions the firm will not be effective in implementing strategic planning initiatives.

    You might want to get your operational house in order first and resolve day-to-day operational management issues first and then move on to the future.

  • Solo-Small Firm Question of the Month - Law Firm Succession: Using Affiliation As a Phase I Pilot Test
  • QuestionI am sole owner of a law firm in Chicago with an elder law practice. I have two paralegals and two legal assistants. Although I want to continue to practice as long as I can I am in my late 60s and am beginning to think about what to do with my practice. I have recently had several discussions with another sole owner that is interested in buying my practice. Since I want to practice as long as I can I am concerned about the timing of selling my practice due to the current ethical rules. I also want to insure that the other firm would be the right fit for my clients and staff. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

    Answer: Making the right decision concerning the "Who" is usually more important than the "What" or the "How". Take your time to do the proper due diligence regarding the other firm. Get to know the owner as well as the employees of the other firm. Ascertain practice, client, and cultural compatibility. If you both determine that a a deal might make sense - then move to the "How". Even though you have done the best due diligence you can - you won't really know about the other firm until you try working together. So before you jump - consider taking a few baby steps first. You might start with an affiliation arrangement (Of Counsel) as a Phase I pilot test for six months. Under this arrangement you can both refer work to each other as well as have the other attorney work on some of your client matters at your office. Outline the details of the relationship in an affiliation (Of Counsel) agreement. After six months review the success of the arrangement and whether it makes sense to take the next step. If it does - a Phase II step might be to enter into a more formal practice continuation/transition arrangement with the other firm. Phase III would be either the eventual sale of your practice or merger with the other firm. Taking a phased approach allows you learn more about the other firm which will increase your odds of a successful transition and buys you time before actually selling your practice if that is the direction you should go.

  • John Olmstead to Present at Missouri Bar Association Solo Small Firm Conference
  • John Olmstead will be presenting again this year at the Missouri Bar Solo and Small Firm Conference, June 9, 2012, on the topic: - Law Practice Phase Two: Building a Plan for the Next Era of Your Career. We will also have a booth in the exhibit area as well. Drop by and see us.

    For information on the conference...
  • Download Our Profitability Checklist
  • Are you looking for a quick and dirty checklist to use to review the profitability of your practice. Click below for a copy of our Law Practice Profitability Checkup.

    Click here to download ...
  • Looking to Sell or Merge Your Practice - Let Us Know
  • We frequently consult and work with law firm clients working on implementing succession strategies that involve the sale of a law practice, merging with another firm, or hiring lateral talent. If you are looking to join up with another firm keep us in mind. We will be posting confidential listings on our website in the near future.

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

    To learn more about Olmstead & Associates visit their web site at www.olmsteadassoc.com

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