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When to Walk Away From an Uncollected Attorney’s Fee

In my experience consulting with law firms, almost every attorney knows what the rules say about collecting unpaid fees from an existing client.  That’s because the applicable rules and regulations are relatively straightforward.  Generally speaking, a lawyer may end a representation if the client isn’t paying the lawyer.  But the ethics rules sometimes prohibit a […]

law firm partnerships

Two-Person Law-Firm Partnerships Are Unusually Risky

Forming a law firm partnership is the business equivalent of getting married.  And with any partnership, it’s critical to choose the right partner.  In a law firm, there is a risk that the person who has the title of partner or shareholder doesn’t possess the skills or temperament to be a good business owner.  My […]

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How Lawyers Should Determine the Amount of a Flat Fee

Most lawyers approach the process of quoting a flat fee in the wrong way. They often determine how much the flat fee should be based on an estimate of how many hours it would take to perform the work. Thus, for example, if a law firm believes that it will take 200 hours to represent […]

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Leadership Language For Law Firm Partners

The partnership structure of law firms creates specific communications challenges for law firm leaders. Some communications styles are more effective when leading a group of people over whom you have little absolute authority, and with whom you have to interact on an ongoing basis. Unlike some corporate structures, the people at the top of a […]

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Successful Law Firms Do More Than One Thing At A Time

Too many law firm partners and leaders confuse multi-tasking with multi-goaling and multi-achieving. Multitasking is trying to do more than one thing at a time, such as drafting a brief while listening in on a conference call. Research shows us that our brains don’t multitask well and that we are better off just doing one […]

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How Much Should Law Firms Pay Associates For Making Rain?

There seems to be a magical belief in certain law firms that emphasizing the importance of rainmaking is the same thing as actually increasing revenues. Nowhere is this conflation of intent and result more obvious than in discussions of how to pay associates for their successful rainmaking efforts. In the past few years increased attention […]

law firm job descriptions

A Better Way For Law Firms to Use Job Descriptions

Most small law firms don’t to use job descriptions as part of their hiring process, and many large firms use job descriptions badly. The primary advantage of creating a job description is that it forces the employer to articulate what they are looking for in a new hire. The process of creating a job description […]

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How to Avoid the Most Common Fee Setting Mistake Made by Lawyers

A lawyer recently asked me whether she should accept an offer from a potential client to take on for $50,000 a lawsuit against a large entity that has a substantial and experienced in-house law department. When stated in these terms, one answer should become increasingly obvious. You don’t have enough information to answer this question […]

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Law Firm Strategic Planning 101: What Clients Do You Want to Serve?

Too many lawyers mistakenly believe that the strategic core of their firm is defined by their substantive expertise. If you ask them what their firm does, they say things such as, “We are business litigators” or “family law specialists”. And if they are at a bar association event or other venue where other lawyers are […]

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Five Strategies to get Lawyers to Submit Their Hours on Time

Leaders of firms that charge by the hour often complain that they can’t get their lawyers to submit their hours on time. This, in turn, causes the firm to delay when it sends out some of its invoices, and it may play a role in causing some lawyers to underreport hours. Here are five strategies […]