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Lawyers are quick to blame the competition when challenged about why their firm’s revenues are not better. Before you keep on with the finger-pointing, you might want to stop and assess how your firm performs in light of some of the findings from the latest Clio Legal Trends Report.
There are a variety of ways to find buyers. Some attorneys try to do it on their own. From a DIY perspective, usually the best ways to get the word out that you’re looking for a buyer are through networking and advertising. Others who don’t want to take the time and effort to find buyers on their own rely on consultants and brokers. Besides saving time, using outside experts provides other advantages from the DIY method. They include:
Lawyers are notorious for thinking of ways things can go wrong for their clients and then determining the best ways to protect their clients from them. One calamity few lawyers ever consider, however, is their own unexpected disability that puts their career on hold—or worse, their death.
Although the market for legal jobs has vastly improved since the Great Recession ten years ago, it is hardly a robust one for recent law school graduates. One popular job-of-last-resort is document review—a job that many of my coaching clients assert is “mind-numbing.” And, of course, it does not pay particularly well; usually around $20-30 per hour.
Small-firm owners and solo practitioners looking to sell their law firms frequently believe that their particular office space—whether owned or leased—significantly enhances the value of their practice. They usually base this belief on the office’s superior location or their upscale furnishings and design.
When talking to law firm leaders, it’s not often that you hear complaints about the strategic planning process itself. Planning for the future is always a good idea. Implementing that plan is where the rubber hits the road, though. This is also where things often become problematic.
Back in the day, conferences were perhaps the most popular networking activity for lawyers. Today? Not so much. Many lawyers, especially younger ones, turn to social media as a substitute for in-person networking. Even with lower attendance numbers, however, conferences still provide excellent networking opportunities. More specifically, they are a great place to meet new people, thereby expanding your network and broadening your opportunities.
When it comes to planning your law firm’s succession, a primary area of concern for your successor is whether your clients will choose to work with that successor after you leave. One way to assess that is to evaluate the type of goodwill that exists with your clients and whether that goodwill carries any transferrable value.
Most definitions of strategic planning focus on the idea that an organization needs to step back to look forward so it can determine its future goals for success. According to one definition, strategic planning involves “envisioning a desired future and translating this vision into broadly defined goals or objectives and a sequence of steps to achieve them.” Another definition is “the development of an organization\’s purpose and goals, beyond the immediate future, and actions to achieve those goals.”
How many times have you been at a restaurant and forgot to bring your pair of reading glasses? If you’re like me, more times than you can remember. And when you ask if there are any extra pairs around, few restaurants have any. But for those that do, what a difference that pair can make at the end of a meal, capping off the whole experience on a high note.
Valuing a law firm for sale is never as straightforward as one might like. This is especially true when looking to sell to an insider.
A sole owner of a small law firm recently hired me to create a strategic plan and a succession plan. During our initial conversations, I asked questions to discern more about the firm and its culture. The owner went out of his way to tell me that he values and respects everyone, including staff—not just the lawyers. I responded, “That’s great!”
Last month, I went out to dinner with some friends. One friend announced to the group that, after working for a large telecommunications company for more than 25 years, he was being offered an opportunity to retire early with some very nice incentives. He further informed us that he had intended to retire within the next year. So, the offer was not going to change his planned retirement date in any significant manner.
“I can never be successful at rainmaking because I’m an introvert.” Does this sound like you? I have one word in response to this common refrain from lawyers: Bulls***. Quite frankly, this is a myth that provides an easy excuse to avoid doing what all attorneys know they need to do: get out of the office to create and develop relationships with potential client and referral sources. So, simply put, you can be successful at rainmaking even if you’re an introvert. Here’s how.
If your firm is like many solo and small law firms, a significant portion of your firm’s value derives from the amount of business your website generates. When selling a law firm—be it an actual sale or a transition to another firm as “of counsel”—it is therefore critical that the buying firm retains the benefit of the seller’s previous website traffic.
Like most attorney business development coaches, I’m a big fan of one-on-one networking. It’s in this setting that you’ll have the best opportunity to develop a genuine relationship—one that will hopefully lead to new business.
More lawyers are working well into their 70s. Indeed, I am no longer surprised when I meet lawyers still practicing in their 80s. What’s behind this growing trend of aging attorneys?
As a small law firm owner thinking about retirement, you are likely looking to your own associate to be your successor. This decision is not one to enter lightly, however. Before you make anything official, you need to consider whether your associate has the talent and the skills to pull it off. Just because the associate handles files well has no bearing on whether they can successfully operate a law firm.
You’ve heard it from me and others; the key to satisfied clients is managing client expectations. And fees are perhaps the single client service area where lawyers fall short the most when managing expectations. Failure to manage fee expectations will not only lead to an unhappy client, it could also subject you to possible discipline. Remember, Rule 1.5 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (Fees and Division of Fees), states in relevant part:
A key aspect of any law firm succession plan is keeping the firm’s best clients when the rainmakers are gone. As more Boomers retire or start their winding down efforts, concerns about client retention and proper compensation are at the forefront of succession plan conversations.