How Managing Shareholders Can Help Their Firms Thrive (During a Tragedy), written by Leslie DuFresne
While law firms needed to jump into triage mode when shelter-in-place orders first rolled through, it seems that firms are now in a holding pattern. As law firm leaders focus on balancing the management of day-to-day remote operations with the increased demands for faster turnaround times from clients, one thing is being overlooked. One big thing. Vision!
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I just finished a webinar by Law.com entitled Navigating the Coronavirus Pandemic: How Firms are Aiding Clients and Running Their Own Operations. There were some great nuggets I thought I would pass on in case you did not dial in. As always, I am here to help support my clients and friends in the legal community in any way I can.
“Much of this book is being written as we read it” was the common thread of today’s webinar but here are my top take-aways:
What should law firms be doing for their clients?
- Offer a second lawyer to clients – now is the time to show clients you have the bandwidth to handle whatever they can throw at you and that you have a succession plan in place should you become unavailable
- Take the lead on as much as possible for the client
- Buy them time
- Provide helpful, practical advice based on the client’s specific needs – stay hyper focused
- Consider rolling out strategies that you used during the Great Recession that could apply now
- Discounts – clients are worried about their economics as well and this shows you are sensitive to their needs and that you are looking at the long-term health of your relationship with them
- Post-pone non-critical tasks to when their cash flow returns
- Step up and provide “service” items at a lower cost – look for value-adds that can be provided by others in your firm that are not at premium rates
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Are you an attorney looking for new opportunities? C-Suite Solutions is currently recruiting for top firms in the region. Below are pending positions as of October 2019:
— Attorney licensed in California with a minimum of 5 years experience in general municipal law, preferably serving as Deputy City Attorney or City Attorney;
— Attorney licensed in California with a minimum of 3 years experience in trust and estates law, and litigation. Candidates who are entrepreneurial will appreciate the incoming firm’s unique compensation structure which puts more collected dollars in your pocket!
— Lateral attorneys with portable books over $500,000 in the areas of real estate, tax, environmental, healthcare or government relations;
— Lateral attorneys with portable books over $750,000 in the areas of business litigation, employment litigation, corporate governance, intellectual property/trade secrets or government relations;
New opportunities come up weekly.
Please send your resume to Leslie DuFresne at email@example.com.
Launching the first in the region Law Firm Services Group, C-Suite Solutions and Colliers International Sacramento are excited about this new collaboration. Whether solving occupancy needs or the need to obtain and retain top legal talent, a holistic approach by our team could result in the differentiation firms are trying to achieve.
To learn more about the services provided by this new collaborative group, click here.
C-Suite Solutions has added 20-year legal industry marketer Jen Forester to its affiliation network. Forester is a former Business Development Manager with Am Law 200 firm Stoel Rives LLP in Sacramento, where she supported national attorney teams serving energy and natural resources clients.
As an outside marketing consultant, Forester offers strategic and tactical solutions to area law firms, with a focus on signature events and brand-building initiatives, as well as attorney coaching. Her experience spans start-up boutique practices to regional and national law firm marketing and business development departments.
I just read an interesting article in Bloomberg Law by Heidi K. Gardner, Distinguished Scholar, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, which touches on the persistent gap in origination credits between men and woman law firm partners. As the article states, collected data (timesheets, billing records, origination files, personnel records) across multiple law firms shows that men and woman partners start their partner years with an equally small book of business. What accounts for the rapid divergence between men and women’s book of business over time? Women tend to grow their book incrementally and often through the more difficult process of developing clients who are brand new to the firm, whereas men tend to “inherit” institutional clients. To read the full article, click here.
As reported by The American Lawyer, the growing trend in law firms seems to be the ability to offer flexible work schedules to their attorneys. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius recently became the latest large law firm to offer flexible work options when it announced a new policy allowing U.S. and U.K. associates with two or more years at the firm to spend one to two days a week working remotely. Since the plan was officially unveiled on March 7, about 100 Morgan Lewis associates have signed up for the initiative. The program, which launches on May 1, includes an in-home office setup with dual monitors, a headset and docking station. Read the full article here.
In a subsequent article by The American Lawyer, Jackson Lewis and Baker McKenzie announced this week they will join the latest Big Law announcements by offering similar flexible work schedules for attorneys. Baker McKenzie’s program, known as bAgile, offers different types of work arrangements, including remote working and alternative hours for all of it’s employees, not just lawyers, across its North American offices. Read the full article here.
Below is a link to an interesting article I found on managing and motivating multiple generations in the legal workplace. One of the sessions I had at Harvard Law School, Leadership in Law Firms program (2013), was a discussion of case studies related to managing and motivating top talent. While that was extremely educational, it completely skipped the complexities that a multigenerational workforce brings. With more people working past the age of retirement, and young people completing law school at earlier ages, we now have a workforce that spans five decades. How do you effectively communicate across the generations? How do you motivate your attorneys and staff in a way that speaks to everyone? How do you develop a compensation structure that works for everyone? It’s an interesting time and I hope you find some useful information in this article.
While $180,000 for a first year associate may seem crazy for our market in Sacramento, it’s a bold move for Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman who just joined Cravath in raising first year associate salaries. Starting July 1, first year associates joining the New York office of each firm will make legal compensation history. So where will it go from here? And how does this impact our market in Sacramento? Weintraub Tobin Law Corporation announced in April that it will start first year associates at $125,000. So far, most area firms are not stepping up to the plate to match them. In a time when finding top notch talent proves to be a challenge, I think more firms should to stay competitive.
If you are an attorney on the move, or a firm that needs help finding that much needed top notch talent, call Leslie today to see how she can help you.
To read the full articles about Kasowitz and Cravath, please click the links below:
For those of you that have high hopes for 2016, you might like read in this article that the health of the housing, labor and automotive markets all point to a stronger 2016.
Forecasters at Michigan’s Research Center in Quantitative Economics said on Thursday that they expect real gross domestic product to grow 2.6 percent next year and 2.9 percent in 2017. That wouldn’t be white-hot growth by any means, but it would be the strongest since 2006, when the economy grew 2.7 percent. And it would come with some very happy numbers for workers, the forecasters predict, including an unemployment rate that falls below 5 percent next year and to 4.6 percent in 2017.
I just read a great, and brief, article put by the folks at BTI Consulting Group entitled “Where to find your best opportunities for business in 2016.” This article breaks it down by industry and practice group and gives projected areas for top growth, moderate growth and low growth. It also provides great tips on how to deploy your business development efforts.
If your firm has a Strategic Plan that is collecting dust, then this is the article for you. One of my favorites by David Maister, this article gives every executive committee or board of directors the road map they need to have actionable discussions about the purpose and direction of their firm.
If you look ahead 5 or 10 years, do you think your firm would hire a non-lawyer CEO? This is a hot debate and I would imagine most US firms have strong opinions on this topic. This is a trend that’s taking off in the UK. Whatever side of this debate you are on, you might want to read this article.
Altman Weil, a leading business consulting firm exclusive to the legal industry, produces insightful articles on topics ranging from Compensation and Strategy to Practice Group Management. Below is a link to must-read article for all managing partners that lay awake at night thinking about succession planning, new competitors and the increasing concerns around cybersecurity. Click the link below to read the full article:
I recently read a great article by Sally J. Schmidt entitled “Tips for Creating Some Marketing Discipline” where she lays out simple, yet effective, suggestions for enhancing your business development efforts. Click the link below to read the full article.