Recent Articles from Ed Poll, Special To Lawyers Weekly
The past five years have been financially painful for many small firm lawyers – the two-thirds of the nation’s 1.2 million attorneys who practice in firms with five or fewer members. They often make $60,000 to $100,000 a year and generally represent individual clients and small businesses in issues (such as personal injury, family disputes, criminal defense and personal debtor claims, among ot[...]
The law ultimately is a people business. Lawyers every day deal with human lives in the practice of law and should strive to communicate honestly and directly about the difficulties involved while maintaining respect for those with whom we deal. That is easier said than done, when clients who are involved in stressful and emotional problems (from divorce or personal injury to closing a big deal) [...]
Although corporate law firms have seen business improve since the depths of the Great Recession, things are hardly robust, according to an analysis from one of the best-known legal consulting firms that recently appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek.
The legal profession seems obsessed with how it rates. From the long-established Martindale-Hubbell two-letter code ranking of lawyers and the listings in The Best Lawyers in America, to more recent authorities like Chambers USA and SuperLawyers, to the host of online services led by Avvo.com, ranking lawyers is a cottage industry.
Bruce MacEwen, whose long-running blog, www.adamsmithesq.com, is subtitled “an inquiry into the economics of law firms,” recently made provocative comments about where the profession’s economics are heading.
The question often arises concerning whether lawyers can effectively and ethically represent opposite types of clients — for example, insurance carriers and insurance coverage plaintiffs.
In a recent Wall Street Journal column, writers from the Brookings Institute espouse their philosophy for deregulating the legal profession and lowering costs for buyers of legal services: Let anyone practice law, whether they’ve gone through law school or not, and allow anyone to own a law firm. These are not new ideas, but the assertion that these ideas are the key to lowering costs of deliver[...]
Lawyers who do not plan for what happens to their practices if they die suddenly and unexpectedly "let unprepared successors deal with an impossible situation. Spontaneous improvisation when the crisis occurs is unacceptable.”
Top 10 lists have long been a journalistic staple, but their ongoing role on David Letterman’s television show has made their use almost a cliché. Even so, a concise ranking can combine the value of focus with brevity. And there is nothing on which any business, including a law firm, should be more focused than increasing revenues.
Every law firm is a business, and every business should know where it’s going. Like the driver of a car, a lawyer must look out the window to see what’s ahead (analogous to identifying new matters for generating additional revenue) while glancing at the dashboard to make sure all indicators (in this case, of financial performance) are positive. Admittedly, today’s financial information s[...]
I received a call from a lawyer wanting to know what percentage of his gross revenue should be allocated to rent and whether his percentage was in line with other law firms. I cited one study that put the average at 9 percent, but his comeback was that another consultant said the average was 12 percent. Such generic numbers totally miss the point on two levels. First, they allow lawyers to t[...]
The practice group structure has become an accepted organizational model in many firms. Such groups can also be called departments, teams or some other designation, but the concept behind them is fundamental. Practice groups organize and focus the firm’s resources in a given area of legal discipline to improve client-service quality, marketing performance, lawyer training and development, and[...]
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