Law Practice Management News
Ideas for Lawyers and Managers That Dare To Be Different January 2015

in this issue

Law Practice Management - 5 Ideas for Jump Starting Your Law Firm in 2015

Law Firm Insurance Defense Work - Opportunity or Commodity?

Solo/Small Firm Question of the Month - Law Firm Business Development - Individual Attorney Personal Branding

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.

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 Practice Management - 5 Ideas for Jump Starting Your Law Firm in 2015
  • Happy New Year and best wishes for both a personal and professional 2015. Here are a few ideas to help you jump start your practice in 2015.

  • Law Firm Insurance Defense Work - Opportunity or Commodity?
  • Insurance defense work can be a blessing and a curse. Working for insurance companies often does result in a steady flow of work but at the following costs:

    1. Low billing rates - often in the range of $145 - $175 for partners and even lower for associates - auto mechanics and plumbers often fare better
    2. Unrealistic controls.
    3. Mandated billing guidelines regarding what can, what cannot, and how much time can be billed
    4. Strict litigation guidelines that dictate how the case is handled and managed
    5. Case budget requirements
    6. Audits of your legal bills
    7. Limited loyalty and inability to develop close relationships with the client due to centralized claims offices and restrictions on social activities

    So, in exchange for a flow of cases you may be selling your freedom, independence, and your soul. It is hard to be successful if you dabble in insurance defense. You either need to be in or out and if you are in you would have to leverage the practice in order to be profitable at the lower billable rates. Be careful about relying on a large volume of work from one just one company. Consider diversifying your case portfolio to include a mix of higher stakes cases, if you are able, such as professional liability, products liability, medical malpractice, commercial litigation, and major construction defects.

    Realize going in that insurance defense work is commodity work and insurance companies are shopping for the best deal and the best price - so is your competitive strategy to be a low cost provider?

  • Solo/Small Firm Question of the Month - Law Firm Business Development - Individual Attorney Personal Branding
  • Question I am the owner and founder of a 7 attorney personal injury plaintiff firm in the southwest. Over the years we have become the "go to" PI firm in the area. We have an extensive advertising program including TV, radio, and other mediums. I bring in all the business and the other six associate attorneys are primarily worker bees. I have discouraged business development by the associates and now as I approach my retirement years I am realizing that this may have been a mistake and it make take more than a "firm brand" for the firm to transition to the next generation. I would appreciate your thoughts.

    Answer:While I believe that a solid firm brand is important and can provide practice value when you transition and retire from the practice of law the failure of your attorneys to develop their own brands or identities will make the transition more difficult and could even result in your firm becoming a "one generation law firm". Clients of law firms tell us they hire lawyers - not law firms. Even through you advertise - your reputation and rainmaking skills have had a lot to do with your success. Your associates must develop their reputations and hone their rainmaking skills as well and you need to help them do this. Here are a few ideas:

    1. If you do not have a marketing plan for the firm - develop one. This will help focus the firm's initiatives and serve as the glue for individual attorney personal plans.
    2. Announce that business development is important and that business development goals and plans will be developed for associates and incorporated into performance reviews and compensation determinations.
    3. Initiate business development training sessions for associates.
    4. Require each associate to prepare a personal marketing plan (business development plan) each year. These plans should be goal driven with specific SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and on a date specific timeline), approved by you, results monitored quarterly, and incorporated into annual performance reviews and compensation determinations.
    5. Get your associates networking, writing blogs and articles, speaking, and press coverage when possible on case results.

  • 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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