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May 2003

May 11, 2003


Are More Law Firms Engaging in Strategic Planning

Question:

Are more law firms engaging in strategic planning? Have the results been successful?

Response:

According to a recent survey conducted by the Legal Marketing Association (LMA), 59% of the responding law firms (ranging in size from the largest to 45 attorney firms) have formal written strategic plans. Smaller firms have a much lower experience. In our experiences with smaller law firms we are finding that fewer than 15% have formal written strategic plans. I consider success to be achievement of measurable results as evidenced by achievement of the goals and objectives outlined in the plan and actual implementation of action items. Lawyers and law firms seem to do better at planning than they do at implementation. Larger firms usually are more successful in implementation due to availability of management resources, leadership and functional governance. Smaller firms tend to have problems with implementation. In fact, we frequently recommend that a firm address other management issues prior to engaging in strategic planning. If a firm is having problems implementing day-to-day operational decisions the firm will not be effective in implementing strategic planning initiatives.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

May 11, 2003


Deployment of Technology in Law Firms

Question:

How are law firms doing with deployment of technology? What are your thoughts?

Response:

 Law firms are spending lots of money and making substantial investments in technology. However, many are simply automating old processes and ways of doing things that no longer make sense. Law firms needs to begin using technology to enable the firm to implement new processes and ways of serving clients. Obsolete practices and procedures should be discarded.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

May 10, 2003


Changes That Will Have the Greatest Impact Upon the Legal Profession

Question:

What changes do you believe will have the greatest impact upon the legal profession?

Response:

The continued impact of the Internet and globalization of business. The Internet is making the world smaller, introducing new markets and competitors, and having a direct impact on what legal services are offered and how they are delivered. Legal services are, and will continue to be provided electronically over the internet. This will cause increased commoditization of some forms of legal services. This technological revolution fueled by the Internet has placed us in the midst of the biggest transformation of civilization since the caveman began bartering. Business is going to change more in the next ten years than in the last fifty. We have become a self-help nation and more self-help legal services are on the horizon. Within ten years the legal profession will be dramatically changed and reinvented. According to Tom Peters, a leading management consultant, only one in ten lawyers (in roles as we now know them) will left standing in ten years. During this period of transformational change it will be imperative that lawyers discard the status quo, embrace change, and define and take charge of their future. Failure to do so will result in the same fate as the medial profession.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

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