Enhancing Your Personal Leadership Skills: Influence and Persuasion

03.06.19 | Susan Duncan

Traditionally, firm leaders used a top-down, authoritarian style. Change initiatives, strategic and operational objectives and new policies were announced using a “command and control” approach, dictating what needed to be done and by when. Decisions and outcomes often were predetermined by the managing partner or an executive committee and imposed upon others at the firm….

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Accelerate Your Personal Success: Executive Presence

02.20.19 | Susan Duncan

Executive presence is comprised of the gravitas/aura you project, the ways in which you communicate, your appearance, the impression you make and your authenticity. It is an essential quality for leaders and critical for all who want to succeed – a combination of traits and behaviors that can mean the difference between advancing or remaining…

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Think Before You Say Yes! To Conferences and Speaking Requests

02.06.19 | Susan Duncan

Our last post, Be Intentional About Personal Marketing and Business Development, provided reasons for and tips on how to become more intentional about business development.  One aspect of business development that can become very time-consuming and expensive is attendance and speaking at conferences or seminars.  Before accepting invitations to speak or requesting approval to attend…

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Be Intentional about Your Personal Marketing and Business Development

01.23.19 | Susan Duncan

Most lawyers recognize the need to actively pursue new work by generating repeat business from satisfied existing clients and by attracting new clients to the firm. Too many, however, still engage in random acts of marketing or “throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.” Even effective rainmakers could do a better job of…

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Practice Groups Part 4: Practice Group Leader as Talent Manager and Coach

01.09.19 | Susan Duncan

Perhaps one of the most challenging responsibilities for today’s practice group leaders is the “people” side of the business. In our prior two posts, we have discussed the Practice Group Leader as Strategist and the Practice Group Leader as Financial Steward. While PGLs often get help from others managing the associates and staff in the…

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Practice Groups Part 3: Practice Group Leader as Financial Steward

12.12.18 | Susan Duncan

As firms continue to grow in size and complexity, it often is no longer possible for them to drive, manage and measure the revenue growth of the firm only through the central leadership. The concept of practice groups operating as business units is that they now have primary responsibility for overseeing major aspects of their…

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Practice Groups Part 2: Practice Group Leader as Strategist

11.28.18 | Susan Duncan

It is surprising how many law firms, their leaders and partners eschew the discipline of planning and strategy. Many firms still don’t require annual plans or even the process of planning from their partners, or practice groups and many don’t even have a strategic plan for the firm. A survey conducted by Patrick McKenna and David…

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Practice Groups Part 1: The Framework and Leadership Role

11.07.18 | Susan Duncan

Most law firms have implemented a  practice group structure. Even those firms that retain the traditional, larger umbrella department structure (for example, corporate/transactional, litigation/disputes, regulatory,) most break down the management of the practice into smaller strategic business units that are used to: Organize lawyers and manage talent with specific skills and specialties Develop, execute and monitor…

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Change Management 2: Strong Leadership and Collaboration are Required to Drive Change

10.24.18 | Susan Duncan

Making meaningful and sustainable change will require collaboration and strong leadership. As discussed in Change Management Part 1, effectuating change in law firms is more difficult than other professions and industries and managing partners cite the reluctance or refusal of the vast majority of their partners to change.  Given the dynamic shifts occurring in the…

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Change Management Part 1: The Framework

10.10.18 | Susan Duncan

The instability, disruption and resulting anxiety in the legal profession at times feels like a roller coaster: ups and downs, twists and turns, peaks and valleys, fast and slow, feelings of risk, exposure and vulnerability and a lack of control over our destiny. We are more or less along for the ride, which admittedly is…

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Succession Management Pillar 5 of 5: Senior Lawyer Transitions and Next Career Support

09.26.18 | Susan Duncan

In this final post in our five-part series on succession planning, we address perhaps the most challenging aspect of the topic: managing and supporting individual senior partner transitions.  In Pillar 1, Pillar 2, Pillar 3 and Pillar 4 we discussed various components of how firms can design and manage approaches to the many facets of succession…

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Succession Management Pillar 4 of 5: Leadership Succession and Knowledge Transitions

09.12.18 | Susan Duncan

There are many complex issues related to succession. We have reviewed many of these already in our previous three posts which can be found here, here and here. In this fourth pillar, we will address two important areas that pose particular risk for law firms in two key areas: leadership transitions and loss of knowledge.Loss of…

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Succession Management Pillar 3 of 5: Client Succession and Transition Management

08.22.18 | Susan Duncan

This post follows two prior posts and addresses the third pillar of succession management. Like many aspects of law firm management, the subject of succession planning often is limited to internal firm or management discussions and consideration.  This is a mistake. Clients know and worry that senior partners may be nearing retirement, and absent any…

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Succession Management Pillar 2 of 5: Revenue, Finance and Compensation

08.08.18 | Susan Duncan

Much of the Baby Boomer/retirement/succession dilemma revolves around money: the firm’s revenues, senior partner’s contribution to and control of client revenue, partner compensation and incentives to transition and other financial aspects of retiring partners.As noted in our recent post: Succession Management: The Problem and a RoadMap, we know that according to Altman Weil, 73% of…

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Succession Management Pillar 1 of 5: Transition Management and Retirement Process

07.25.18 | Susan Duncan

In our recent blog post Succession Planning: The Problem and a RoadMap, we concluded with a RoadMap for how to establish a framework for an approach to succession planning.  This post provides additional detail about five components that comprise the pillars of succession management. Pillar 1 ComponentsDone correctly, as described in our post The Succession…

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