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In this short opinion piece (June 2010), Nick discusses the perils of over-hasty decision making and suggests ten decision-making rules which firm leaders should apply
Surveys and studies show a link between planning and performance: even brief, informal and straightforward business plans help firms perform at a higher level than those that make no plans. To reap the full benefit that business plans can deliver, follow these guidelines for the preparation and implementation of law firm, practice group, and individual business plans.
Law firm partners and leaders ought to have some plans to cope with some of the obstacles to their projects and the implementation of them which could occur along the way. Anticipating such barriers can often lead to them being headed off. Nick considers some of the main obstacles to change in law firms and sets out six communication and implementation steps which should be applied in any change programme
As a law firm grows, many of the governance and management systems need to change as well. Firms can find that their management and decision-making can become stifled either by the need for consensus in a growing partnership or where the founder partners just get too busy to make decisions quickly. In this article(March 2011) – which first appeared in Managing Partner Magazine – Nick examines the stifling points in law firm governance and decision-making
This article (October 2010) – which first appeared in Managing Partner Magazine – studies how law firms can link competitive strategy with effective implementation, and suggests how the Managing Partner and Top Management Team can perform their roles as promoters of strategy, sponsors of strategic initiatives, coordinators of process improvements and motivators of others.
Implementing strategic goals can sometimes be a painful process. In this article (March 2010) – which first appeared in Law Business Review – Nick examines how a combination of effective leadership, structure, systems and discipline can help law firms to realise their development goals and avoid the obstacles preventing the proper execution of strategy
Law firms sometimes tend to spend a huge amount of time in agreeing their strategies and then proceed to implement them in a haphazard and arbitrary manner, often biting off far more than they can immediately chew. The result can often be an increasing list of half-completed and abandoned initiatives, and a frustrated partnership. . In this article, Nick sets out ways in which a firm can juggle its priorities and resources to implement strategic projects in an ordered and methodological manner
This article first appeared in the New Law Journal for 28 October. It suggests routes towards the expansion of educational horizons for lawyers. After five years of expensive study, newly qualified lawyers often settle back and reassure themselves that their educational travails are over for good. The problem is that law is a somewhat narrow area of study and lawyers who are no more than proficient technically sometimes find it difficult to advise their clients holistically or to manage their teams proficiently. Many larger law firms now insist that law firm partners have more strings to their bow than just a legal qualification. Areas such as construction law, employment law, banking law, finance law, and medical negligence law (to name just a few) are all examples of specialisms where a dual qualification offer immense benefits.
This article (first published by Law Business Review in Winter 2010) considers the steps needed for the successful implementation of new profit sharing systems. The issues touched on include partner accountability and performance, the wider role of a law firm owner, partner development and progression, and how firms reward, compensate and reward their partners – all of which go to the very heart of the partnership ethos. In many larger firms, partners have become disillusioned and cynical about the nature of their relationships with their firms. Many partners complain about no longer being ‘true partners’ but merely paid employees on fixed term contracts. Partners can also come from a tradition of independence evidenced by membership of a loose franchise of soloist autonomous individuals. Such partners also find it hard to adjust to the increasing need for a more cohesive organisation. At the same time, partners in firms with a history of pure lockstep are finding it equally hard to accept the increased scrutiny of their performance which merit based remuneration systems require. The brutal truth is that any radical changes to a firm’s partner remuneration systems require a great deal of time and planning and will involve the firm in considering a whole range of other issues.
Many law firms may be considering merger as an option in response to increased competition in the marketplace, but the process is never simple. Nick explains how to assuage partners’ fears and make a merger work for you.