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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A Race to the Bottom for the AmLaw 200 and Below? Doesn’t Have to Be.

06.14.18 | Susan Duncan

A month ago, at a conference on change management, a managing partner of an AmLaw 200 firm asked a question that likely weighs on the minds of most AmLaw 200 managing partners, some of the AmLaw 100 firms and many of those below the top 200. His question was: We hear all the time that…

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Law Firm MDPs Part 4: Service Delivery Solutions

11.15.17 | Susan Duncan

In this fourth and final post on law firm multi-disciplinary models, we discuss new tools and resources, many of which incorporate technology, process improvement and knowledge management to enable more effective service delivery and enhanced and automated access to information.  Law firms have either developed their own tools and products or incorporated existing technologies into…

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Law Firm MDPs Part 3 – Integrated Multi-Disciplinary Practices

11.01.17 | Susan Duncan

Recognizing the need to approach client problems and needs with broader and deeper substantive disciplines than just legal expertise, law firms have evolved their service offerings to include formal, integrated teams of lawyers, consultants and other professional experts. As early as the 1980s, law firms began to form separate subsidiaries  affiliations and joint ventures to…

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Law Firm MDPs and New Delivery Models Part 2 – Subsidiaries

10.18.17 | Susan Duncan

In an effort to offer existing and new clients fuller capabilities and solutions, many law firms have developed wholly-owned subsidiaries often comprised of experts in an industry or service specialty who are not lawyers. As we reviewed in our last post, Law Firm MDPs and New Delivery Models Part 1 – A Primer, clients today…

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Law Firm MDPs and New Delivery Models Part 1 – A Primer

10.04.17 | Susan Duncan

In our post Who Do Law Firms Compete with and Why? we described the fierce competition that law firms face today, noting that much of that competition is increasingly  coming from non-law firm legal services providers, consulting firms and the Big 4, which have some of the largest law firms in the world outside the…

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Industry Group Strategy Part 2: How to Execute IGs Effectively

09.06.17 | Susan Duncan

In our prior post, Industry Group Strategy Part 1 – What are They and Why Have IGs? we clarified the difference between sectors and industries and discussed the benefits and goals of having them.  In law firms, Industry Groups, like client teams, straddle multiple practice groups and lawyers may be members of several practice groups…

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Collaboration: Walking the Talk at Morgan Lewis

03.29.17 | Susan Duncan

[Note: This article is being published with the permission of our client, Morgan Lewis & Bockius.] Two of our previous posts on collaboration, True Collaboration Drives Profitability and Collaboration: The Next Law Firm Frontier, discussed the benefits of collaborative cultures and approaches to client representation.   But both articles also alluded to the reasons why collaboration…

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True Collaboration Drives Profitability and Client Loyalty

03.15.17 | Susan Duncan

Collaboration in the workplace is widely recognized as an important success factor in the most effective organizations. It is necessary in order to build and share knowledge, accelerate innovation, break down silos and facilitate connectivity.  A recent Harvard study found that managers and employees now spend 50% or more time in collaborative activities than they…

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Who are Law Firms Really Competing With and Why?

01.18.17 | Susan Duncan

Law firms are facing stiff competition when it comes to holding onto their clients, much less gaining market share. Given the flat growth in available legal work, law firms have been having to “steal” work from other firms to gain share. BTI Consulting’s Market Outlook and Client Service Review 2017 reports that while legal spending…

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Law Firm Partnership Part 2: Becoming and Remaining an Equity Partner

12.14.16 | Susan Duncan

Our last blog post, “Law Firm Partnership Part 1: Do True Partnerships Still Exist?” explored the changes that have occurred in the partnership model in recent decades and the core aspects to healthy partnerships.  In this post, we will examine the qualities needed to advance to equity partner status and what it takes to be…

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