Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

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Mar 29, 2001


Case Management Software For Law FIrms

Question:

We are looking to implement a case management system? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Response:

There are several good systems available. Some such as those from Elite and Prolaw are excellent systems that are fully integrated with accounting and other office systems. These systems are typically found in the larger law firms. For small firms, Amicus Attorney, CaseMaster III, and Time Matters are good systems. We like the CaseMaster III product from Software Technology since it is fully integrated with their time and billing system.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Mar 29, 2001


Law Firm Marketing Budgets

Question:

We are trying to establish our first marketing budget. What are most firms spending as a percent of revenue?

Response:

This can vary widely based upon type of firm, philosophies, etc. Surveys show, that on average, firms marketing spending, as a percent of revenue, is approximately 2-3%.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Mar 27, 2001


Reducing Staff Turnover in Law FIrms

Question:

Our firm is having a lot of difficulty keeping our clerical employees for longer than 12 to 16 months. Our reimbursement plan appears to be competitive. What suggestions do you have that might help us keep our employees longer?

Response:

Usually turnover problems of this nature can be traced either to poor personnel selection practices or the firms management practices. Today employees want more from their organizations than just having a job — they want to be part of the firm and to contribute.

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

Mar 20, 2001


Law Firm Advertising

Question:

What is your opinion regarding law firms that advertise extensively?

Response:

It should be remembered that advertising is only one form of promotion and promotion is only one of the four elements of a firm's marketing mix. Other elements such as service strategy, pricing strategy, and service delivery strategy are often more important to the firm that its promotion strategy. For firms that are providing commodity type legal services such as personal injury, divorce etc, extensive advertising can work very effectively. However, for firms that are providing customized differentiated legal services this form of promotion is usually not effective nor appropriate. This is why it is so important for law firms to formulate their business and marketing strategies and plans before implementing specific marketing promotional programs.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Mar 04, 2001


Differentiation From Other Law Firm Competitors

Question:

I find it very difficult to differentiate our firm from the competition with respect to marketing, etc. What specific suggestions might you have regarding methods and/or ideas that we could use to increase our market share?

Response:

You need to begin asking you clients about their needs and thinking from your client's perspective. Budgetary certainty and knowing in advance how much a matter is going to cost is important to clients. Efficient operations and the general office environment is important. Lawyers that can listen to their clients and understand their clients problems. We believe that satisfying client needs and expectations, providing outstanding service quality, and adhering to the highest level of ethical standards is a strong beginning.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Feb 12, 2001


Threats Facing the Legal Profession

Question:

What are the primary threats and challenges that the legal profession will face in the next decade?

Response:

The biggest threat is the public perception of the image of the legal profession. In addition the continued saturation of the legal market, reduced demand for legal services, and oversupply of lawyers. Law firms are going to have to change their mindsets and their organizational cultures as well as their methods of doing business. Quality of legal services must be improved. New delivery methods must be implemented and new price options offered.

John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC 

Jan 27, 2001


Leadership and Accountability in Law FIrms

Question:

What do you see as the primary management problems in law firms?

Response:

We are frequently asked to assist law firms in areas such as management reviews, marketing, compensation, and strategic planning. However, these are often symptoms of another problem – leadership, trust, and accountability. Frequently we find that unless proper leadership is in place we are all wasting time on attempting to treat the symptoms. Without sound firm leadership at the partner level other initatives are never able to get off the ground. Law firm leadership is the top challenge facing the profession today.

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

Dec 12, 2000


Law Firm Retreats

Question:

Why are more legal firms using management retreats?

Response: 

Retreats provide management with the method for resolving major concerns quickly and efficiently. You can get solutions to reducing wasteful costs, tips on increasing client satisfaction and, techniques for improving bottom line revenues, an honest exchange of ideas and a lot more. What do you have to invest? A little time, money and some hard work. It's a small price to pay for taking a step toward being on the cutting edge.

Dr. Thomas J. Venardos

Oct 12, 2000


Committment To Higher Standards and Higher Education

Question:

How can we effect change in our law firms?

Response:

Changing professionals and law firms takes a personal commitment on the part of the staff involved. It requires a deep sense of wanting to invest in themselves. This type of investment demands long-term professional commitment with an understanding that time and money must be invested. If you want to yield real results with bottom line gains, the commitment must come from the professionals in the law firm.

Dr. Thomas J. Venardos

Oct 08, 2000


Law Firm Image

Question:

How does image tie into a law firm's marketing program?

Response:

Image is important to every profession. In particular, law firms need to have a good image within the community served. Therefore, today, it is necessary for a law firm to improve upon their image by being viewed by the community as professionals who make a contribution. This contribution can come in several ways: as support to the community, driect involvement in the community or by creating involvement that the community can become a part of.

Dr. Thomas J. Venardos

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