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Succession Planning Scenarios for Solos & Small Law Firm Owners

For solo practitioners and small law firm owners seeking retirement, here is a quick, down-and-dirty summary of the succession plan strategies available to you. Put another way, here are three structural ways that soon-to-be retired lawyers can “sell” their practices. ... Read More

How to Retain Clients When a Lawyer Retires: Plan for the Skill Gap

A critical component of a law firm’s succession plan is to figure out how to retain the firm’s best clients when senior lawyers retire. Most law firms quickly jump to determine who in the firm is either ready to step up or ready to undertake proper mentoring and training to step up in the future. Before making this determination, however, it is important to ask several questions. ... Read More

The ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’ Marketing Plan

If you’ve searched the web for marketing plans, you’ve likely noticed that most so-called legal marketing experts recommend putting together a formal marketing plan. I suppose I fall into that camp — having a marketing plan is a necessity. But I am a contrarian in one key respect. ... Read More

Preparing Your Practice for Sale? Don’t Do Stupid S**t.

Soon-to-be retired solo practitioners and small law firm owners who are thinking of selling their law firms frequently ask, “Is there anything special or unique that I should do now to maximize my practice’s value?” Whenever I hear that question, I can’t help but think of President Obama’s remark about how to best manage world affairs: “Don’t do stupid s**t.” That advice holds true for lawyers contemplating selling their practice. ... Read More

10 Questions to Answer When Creating Your Law Firm Strategic Marketing Plan

When putting together your law firm’s marketing plan as part of your business development and strategic planning efforts, don’t fall into the trap of simply doing what you did last year. Sure, that may be enough to keep the lights on for another year. But, don’t you want to achieve more for your firm? ... Read More

Want to Avoid Ethics Complaints? Follow These Three Service Tenets for Satisfied Clients

Unhappy clients often choose to file ethics complaints against their poor-performing lawyers. What leads to their unhappiness? It may come as a surprise, but most ethics complaints are not about incompetence. Instead, most complaints revolve around basic customer service expectations. They involve issues that, even without specific ethics rules in place, would make any reasonable person agree the lawyer should be disciplined. ... Read More

Succession Planning: Don’t Delay Identifying New Leaders

I recently attended a CLE with approximately 25 other people. Two individuals introduced themselves as managing partners of their small law firms. Both were in their 60s and both indicated their firms had not yet identified logical successor candidates to lead when they retire. The situation these partners find themselves in is not unusual. ... Read More

Appraising a Law Firm for a Buy-In: CPA’s Need Not Apply

You own a small law firm. For the first time, you want to make one of your associates a partial owner. But how do you determine the price of admission for the “buy-in?” ... Read More

Revenue v. Profits: Don’t Forget the Bottom Line

This lawyer fell into the trap that all-sized firms frequently do. They mistakenly believe the holy grail finance metric to be revenue. But if you ask anyone working in corporate America what the key finance metric is, you will hear one thing only: profitability. ... Read More

Email Networking Invitations: What Should You Say?

Have you set your New Year’s resolutions for business yet? If yes, I hope that improved networking is on your list. And if no, make 2017 the year that you finally “up” your networking game. ... Read More

A Rule of Thumb for Valuing a Law Practice Is Not to Use the Rule of Thumb

Solo practitioners and small law firm owners wanting to know what their practices are worth frequently rely on the “rule of thumb” valuation method. ... Read More

Should Your Career Expire When Your Lease Does?

Clients often ask me, “Roy, what’s the biggest mistake solo practitioners and small firm owners make when considering their retirement/succession strategies?” My answer? Attorneys permit their office situation, specifically a lease obligation, to muck things up. Continue reading this post at www.attorneyatlaw.com. ... Read More

Lawyers Must Make Room for the Future

Retirement often goes hand in hand with downsizing your living quarters, whether that means relocating to a warmer climate retirement community or buying the downtown condo in your present area. In either case, most senior attorneys are faced with the issue of finding a place for all of their “stuff.” It can be difficult to throw away items that represent so many sentiments from the past even when you know there is no room for it where you’re going. Welcome to the quandary of downsizing.  To begin, we’ll go over some of the conventional wisdom. Then I’ll throw in my own two cents based on recent personal experience.  (While I’m not quite ready to retire, I did recently downsize since my children are now all launched… ... Read More

Successful Networkers Follow Up

In my last post, I talked about meeting new contacts at large networking events. Just as a quick reminder, if you think that by simply meeting people at these events, it will lead to business, think again. It will not. You need to follow up with the ones who seem to be worth following up with. You have merely started a relationship at the event. Following up develops the type of relationship necessary to bring in new business. Now that you have these new business cards, here are the next steps: Put the names and contact information in some type of system so you know who they are, what they do and how you met them. Doesn’t have to be a fancy software solution. It just has be one where it can be relatively easy to access information about… ... Read More

Put Networking into Perspective

When most attorneys hear the word “networking,” palms start to sweat and inner thoughts turn to “You mean I have to do THAT in order to get new clients?” What is THAT anyway, and how often do you have to do THAT? THAT is attending some type of event (e.g. fundraiser, conference, reception) where there will be a large crowd, anywhere from 50 to 1000. ... Read More

How to Be Successful at Succession Planning

Mark Twain is said to have remarked, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” That quote came to mind when I heard about a new book by veteran law firm consultant John W. Olmstead, “The Lawyer’s Guide to Succession Planning: A Project Management Approach for Successful Law Firm Transitions and Exits.” The fact that such a book has been published indicates the legal profession is talking more about succession planning. Yet are today’s lawyers and firms actually doing anything about succession? Facts Don’t Lie In 1980, only a quarter of the legal profession was older than 55. Today, well over a third of lawyers are. That means that more than a third of those practicing today will likely not… ... Read More

Is it Time to Retire?

For most lawyers, the decision when to retire is rarely black and white. Instead, the choice comes with lots of gray (that goes along with your gray hair!). To help you find the right time, think about these questions: Do you still have the fire in your belly? Are you still excited about going into the office, or do you dread the thought? Have you been on the receiving end of subtle or not-so-subtle suggestions from family, friends or colleagues that perhaps it’s time to slow down? How do you feel physically? Is your mental edge still there? How often do you have “senior moments?” How healthy are your parents? Will you need to help them through their own sunset years? How is your spouse’s or significant other’s health? What are h… ... Read More

Achieving New Year’s Resolutions and Law Firm Strategic Planning Goals

New Year’s resolutions and strategic planning goals for law firms have a lot in common. They both generate a considerable amount of excitement once placed on paper. But fast forward a few months and most resolutions or goals typically end up entirely abandoned. Here are a few suggestions to improve the chances that you achieve both your personal New Year’s resolutions and your law firm’s strategic planning goals. ... Read More

The Flaws of the "Recruit Your Successor" Exit Strategy

One retirement exit strategy often considered by solo practitioners 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. During the initial stage of the transition (usually one or two years), the seller and buyer get to know one another. If the fit seems good, the parties then negotiate a “buy out” going forward (usually another one to three years). Continue reading this post at www.lawyerist.com ... Read More

Is Ohio Gagging Lawyers Speaking at Seminars?

Every few years, state ethics officials issue a questionable decision in the legal marketing ethics area. The ones that make you scratch your head and think, “Really? What planet do they live on?” . . . . . . Today, the spotlight is on Ohio. What? I Can’t Hand Out a Brochure When I’m Speaking? Every good legal marketer knows that speaking at seminars is a tried-and-true method of reaching potential clients and enhancing one’s reputation. A recent opinion issued in Ohio would limit the marketing benefits of speaking engagements . . . Continue reading this post on www.attorneyatwork.com ... Read More
I am a partner in a large law firm and have a seven figure book of business. The competition today is brutal for corporate clients. I can no longer rely on getting clients simply from internal referrals or based on my firm’s reputation. I need…" Read the rest
– Partner, large Kansas City, MO law firm

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