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

in this issue

Law Firm Advertising - Should a PI Firm Consider TV Advertising

Law Firm Overhead

Solo/Small Firm Question of the Month - Law Firm Succession/Exit Strategy for Owner of a Six Attorney Insurance Defense Firm

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.

Law Practices For Sale and Law Practices Looking to Acquire Practices. As a service to our clients looking to sell, acquire, merge, or otherwise join another firm we now have an area of our website dedicated to helping our clients connect and explore mutual opportunities. Click here to access the listing. Interested parties should contact John Olmstead via e-mail at jolmstead@olmsteadassoc.com.

  • Law Firm Advertising - Should a PI Firm Consider TV Advertising
  • I have personal injury plaintiff law firm clients that have had great success with TV advertising and other clients that have had poor results. High case volume/low case value firms have had the greatest success. In order to be successful you must have the budget to be able to stay the course and the infrastructure to support and manage the advertising effort and to support the work and cases. The worst thing you can "dabble" with TV advertising. Here are a few thoughts.

    Read on . . .
  • Law Firm Overhead
  • Recently the managing partner of an eight attorney firm asked us the following question.

    "Recently I was talking with the managing partner of a firm in the area and we were discussing overhead ratios and we seemed to have different definitions of overhead and I am wondering if we were trying to compare apples to oranges. Can you share your thoughts?"

    I advised him that I consider overhead to be the operating cost required to support the producers in the firm. This is a different statistic than expenses. Typically in a law firm overhead is all expenses except for attorney salaries (associate and partners) and benefits. Often overhead is used is various benchmark surveys. However, when determining net income or profit (the profit pool) expenses would include associate salaries and associate and partner benefits. In a professional corporation where officer salaries are expensed we typically add shareholder salaries back to the net income figure to determine the profit pool for benchmarking purposes.

  • Solo/Small Firm Question of the Month - Law Firm Succession/Exit Strategy for Owner of a Six Attorney Insurance Defense Firm
  • QuestionI am the solo owner of a six attorney insurance defense firm in Phoenix. The other five attorneys are associates - most of whom have been with me three years or less and had limited experience prior to joining my firm. I am 47 and am looking to start to wind down within five years and be totally out of the practice in ten years when I am 57. I want to start thinking about my succession strategy early so I have time to execute it properly. I would appreciate your suggestions.

    Answer:If you are like most small insurance defense firms you have a handful of insurance companies that sends you virtually all of your cases. I assume that you bring in all the business, hold the key to the client relationships, and guard those relationships carefully. This may be a double edged sword for you in that while controlling those relationships and using your associates as "worker bees" may keep them from getting close and stealing your clients this approach may also prevent you from developing suitable "bench strength" in the eyes of your clients that could constrain an internal succession/exit strategy down the road. Ask yourself this question - if you made a couple of deserving associates partners today and you left the firm next year would any of the clients stay? Often in situations similar to yours I am told - none. If this is the case you need to begin to hire the right associates - ones that actually want to become partners someday (not all do) and bulk up the team that you have. Otherwise, you may have to bring in lateral talent at the right time or merge with another firm.

    Unlike many law firms we are working with you are starting to think about this early - so you have time.

  • 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

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