Law Practice Management News
Ideas for Lawyers and Managers That Dare To Be Different April 2014

in this issue

Estate Planning Firm Marketing - Improving Advertising Results

Law Firm Administrator/Business Manager - Essential Skill Sets

Solo/Small Firm Question of the Month - Lawyer or Businessperson

Download Our Profitability Checklist

Looking to Sell or Merge Your Practice - Let Us Know

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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.

  • We represent a firm in Chicago Southwest Suburbs looking for solo/small firm acquisition opportunities in Chicago suburbs and Central Illinois.
  • We represent an estate planning firm in Chicago suburbs looking to merge or sell practice.
  • We represent an estate planning firm in Peoria, Illinois area looking to sell practice.
  • We represent a small practice owner Denver, Colorado, looking to transition out of the practice.
Interested parties should contact John Olmstead via e-mail at jolmstead@olmsteadassoc.com.

  • Estate Planning Firm Marketing - Improving Advertising Results
  • Recently an owner of a 5 attorney estate planning/elder law firm advised us that their business volume has been stagnant for the past several years and down substantially this past year. They tried to do all the marketing they could including at least one seminar a month, listings in key directories, good website, sending out paper and print newsletters, etc. In the past they have experimented with TV and radio advertising where they used professional narrators/actors. The results were dismal at best. They asked us for our thoughts.

    Click here for our thoughs and comments . . .
  • Law Firm Administrator/Business Manager - Essential Skill Sets
  • Recently the managing partner of an eight attorney firm asked us the following question.

    "Our firm is an eight attorney firm located in Minneapolis. We have 5 partners and three associates. I serve as the managing partner and frankly I do not have the time or the skills to do an effective job. My performance as managing partner is marginal at best. We have recently been discussing hiring a professional legal administrator to manage the firm. What are the essential skill sets that we should be looking for?

    I advised that Larger firms that have several administrators/managers can have the luxury of having specialists - for example a HR manager, a IT manager, a Marketing Manger, a Finance/Accounting Manager, Executive Director, etc. In a firm his size the firm needs a hands-on generalists that can perform all of these roles. The top three skill sets that the firm should look for are:

    1. Accounting/Bookkeeping/Financial Analysis Skills
    2. Human Resources - especially leadership and strong interpersonal skills
    3. Marketing

    I would look for someone with 5 years or more experience in managing a law, CPA, or other professional services firm and a B.S or B.A. degree in business, management, or accounting.

  • Solo/Small Firm Question of the Month - Lawyer or Businessperson
  • Question I am an attorney in Miami. I have been out of law school for five years. I worked with a small firm for a year and then went solo and have been doing contract work for other law firms for the past four years. For the past year I have been trying to get a position as an associate with a small firm - but have not had any success. Recently, I had an interview with a 2 attorney (2 partners in their early 70s) firm and I thought the interview went well - I believe that I impressed them with my legal knowledge and skills. However, I did not get the position. They advised me that they were looking for less of a lawyer and more of a business person. What am I doing wrong?

    Answer:I help many of our law firm clients hire lawyers for associate and lateral positions as well as search for merger candidates. One of my favorite questions is - are you more of a lawyer or a business man or woman. Small firms are more often than not looking for candidates that are both. In a small firm you must be able to bring in clients, manage people (clients, lawyers, and staff), and perform quality legal work. There are a lot of good lawyers available on the market - there are less good lawyers that are also good business persons.

    I suspect that the firm you interviewed with is looking at this hire to be part of the firm's succession strategy and the partners are looking for a lawyer/business person that can carry the firm to the next generation of practice.

    Next time you interview with a firm in a similar situation - blend in a discussion of business topics as well. Even though you are a solo doing contract work you can still share some business experiences. You have had to bill for your services, manage your receivable and payables, market yourself and your practice, etc. Share your thoughts.

  • 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 post confidential listings on our website.

    Click here for a link to view listings
  • 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

    To View & Print the FREE Guide

    ::Phone 314-241-5665