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Appraising a Law Practice in Different Settings

Law practices are often valued in divorce proceedings. As such, lawyers frequently assume that it should be relatively easy to apply similar valuation principles when trying to sell a practice. Nothing can be further from the truth.

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Pro Bono: Doing Good Feels Good

In these pandemic days, many Americans have taken economic hits that have only led to further legal problems. But those less fortunate are often left to face their legal problems alone because they can’t afford legal counsel. I strongly suspect that, for most readers of this post, the economic hit you’ve felt has been minimal in comparison. If you think you know where I’m going with this—you’re right. The time is ripe to pursue pro bono work if you’re not already doing it. Pro Bono Work Is Our Social Responsibility Lawyers have a special responsibility to give back. Why? Our society provides us with an exclusive license to do what we do. What we do provides countless opportunities to make a respectable and, for many, a lucrative… ... Read More

Buying a Law Practice: Not as Risky or Complicated as You Think

Purchasing another lawyer’s practice is fast becoming a popular and more common way to grow or diversify one’s law firm. There are three main reasons for this: ... Read More

Working Part-Time Before Retiring From Your Law Practice

For reasons that escape me, many people in the legal profession believe the practice of law is not amenable to working part-time. While this issue usually arises for new parents, part-time work is also a great option for senior solo and small law firm attorneys to consider before they completely exit the profession. Read More ... Read More

Paying a Premium for a “System”

Appraising a law firm requires assessing numerous factors. During the appraisal process, some attorneys will say to me something along the lines of, “In my law firm, I’ve got this great system that can…. That alone should be worth…” The marketplace for law firms doesn’t work like that, however. Here’s why. ... Read More

An Overlooked Obstacle to Succession Planning

Law firm succession planning is certainly getting its share of attention these days. It makes sense, too, considering one-third of the attorney population will be made up of boomer lawyers (those 65 years of age or older) within the next 10 years. ... Read More

Don’t Be Afraid to Raise Your Legal Fees

It’s getting to be that time of year when lawyers decide whether to raise their hourly rates or fixed fees when the new year begins. I suspect that many will fear doing so in the middle of a pandemic. Others always seem fearful of increasing legal fees, pandemic or no pandemic. My advice — with very limited exceptions — is to go for it. Clients are never as price-sensitive as you think. ... Read More

Assessing a Law Firm’s Revenue: All Is Not Created Equally

One of my truisms for valuing a law practice is that “all revenue is not created equally.” For example, revenue that stems from past clients or one’s referral network is far more valuable than the revenue generated from seminars or webinars. ... Read More

Succession Planning Challenges? Don’t Let Them Hold You Back.

With Baby Boomers retiring left and right, law firm leaders everywhere are talking about succession planning. Yet, much like the weather, no one seems to be doing much about it. Legal consultants Altman Weil report that only 31% of its surveyed law firms had formal policies in place. ALM Legal Intelligence puts the number at 33%. ... Read More

Your Competition Is Lazy: Three Things Small Law Firms Can Do to Find New Business Now

Thomson Reuters recently completed its fourth State of U.S. Small Law Firms survey. The findings were summarized here on Attorney at Work. That post’s title, “Small Law Firms Still Struggling With Finding New Business and Managing Administrative Tasks,” accurately reflects the overall state of the world of small law firms. ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Reassessing When to Retire During a Pandemic

Deciding when to retire, now more than ever, has become a moving target. In the best of times, it’s never a simple decision. Lots of variables to consider and assumptions to make. But with Covid-19, past careful thinking for many has been thrown to the wayside. Pundits galore have been making predictions about Covid-19’s impact on retirement. Here’s one more. ... Read More

Does Passion Equal Happiness on the Job?

During these pandemic days, everyone seems to be reevaluating many aspects of life, including career options. Have you recently wished you were more “passionate” about your work? And if you were, would it make a difference about how you felt about your career? ... Read More

What Can Law Firm Sellers Ethically Do During a Transition?

Rule 1.17 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct states that after a sale, sellers must “cease to engage in the private practice of law.” Does that mean you must hand over the keys, walk out the door, and immediately ride off into retirement sunset? And if the answer is yes, how is that realistically possible? ... Read More

Practice Makes Perfect, Even When Planning for Retirement

You should “practice retirement.” According to the 2018 Global Retirement Reality Report, only about half of Americans are happy in retirement even with financial security. If more retirees would have practiced retirement before retiring, the number of happy retirees would increase substantially. ... Read More

Is Strategic Planning Relevant in the Covid-19 Age?

Strategic planning provides a framework to make choices about how your law firm allocates its resources to maintain and improve upon its success. Yes, I know many of you are probably thinking, “We’re still fine-tuning how to get work done from home and the best ways to interact with clients. I can’t plan beyond a few days ahead, let alone a few years.” ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Hypocrisy and Selfishness Abound When Failing to Plan for Succession

If there was ever a wake-up call for solo and small law firm owners to create their succession plans, it is now. COVID-19 is a serious health risk that, as I write, is showing no signs of when it will go away. ... Read More

COVID-19 Impacts for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers: Beyond Remote Work

If you’re like me, you’re probably tired of getting email blasts about how to best work remotely. There is much more to this COVID-19 situation, from your law practice perspective, than remote work. If you practice in the solo and small firm world, here’s my take on a few other important things to consider in the pandemic age. ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Underbilling? Not Recording Time? There’s No Excuse!

Over the years, I’ve heard my share of stories about attorneys who have failed to properly record their time. You know what I mean. Finishing a task and then intentionally recording less time than what you actually spent on the task. Or, alternatively, simply forgetting to enter your time (e.g., phone conversations in the car). ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Recruiting Your Successor (Promising Premise, Perilous in Practice)

One retirement exit strategy often considered by solo practitioners and small law firm owners is the "recruit your successor" one. The idea behind this strategy is to find a young, inexperienced lawyer who is then groomed to take over the practice. ... Read More

If There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Comparing Succession Planning to Estate Planning

I was recently reading the business section of my local newspaper and came across an article on the importance of having a will. The focus of the article was on how to prevent people from delaying getting the task accomplished. The writer asked several financial planners for the best strategies they use to help their clients complete this task. ... Read More
Roy has never been shy about recommending that I raise my hourly rates. He insisted that clients would not react negatively. I listened to the advice and kept my fingers crossed. Boy, was he was right. One client remarked, “Over due. You’…" Read the rest
– Solo practitioner, Minneapolis, MN

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