Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

Category: investing

Aug 08, 2017

Law Firm Strategic Planning – Reasons for Investing the Time to Develop a Strategic Plan


I serve on the management committee of our sixteen lawyer firm in Columbus, Ohio. We do not currently have a strategic plan and been discussing whether we should spend the time developing one. However, we are not sure what a strategic plan would do for us or why we should invest the time in developing one. We appreciate any thoughts that you may have.


One of the major problems facing law firms is focus. Research indicates that three of the biggest challenges facing professionals today are: time pressures, financial pressures, and the struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work and home. Billable time, non-billable time or the firm’s investment time, and personal time must be well managed, targeted and focused. Your time must be managed as well.

Today well-focused specialists are winning the marketplace wars. Trying to be all things to all people is not a good strategy. Such full-service strategies only lead to lack of identity and reputation. For most small firms it is not feasible to specialize in more than two or three core practice areas.

Based upon our experience from client engagements we have concluded that lack of focus and accountability is one of the major problems facing law firms. Often the problem is too many ideas, alternatives, and options. The result often is no action at all or actions that fail to distinguish firms from their competitors and provide them with a sustained competitive advantage. Ideas, recommendations, suggestions, etc. are of no value unless implemented.

Well designed strategic plans are essential for focusing your firm. However, don’t hide behind strategy and planning. Attorneys love to postpone implementation.

A strategic plan is useless unless it is used. Don’t create a plan and simply file it. You must actively work your plan. Involve everyone in the firm, delegate action items, and require accountability. Consider it a living document – revise it – update it – change it as needed. Refer to it weekly and incorporate action plan items into your weekly schedule.

Use your plan as your roadmap to your future.

Good luck on your journey.

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


Jul 01, 2014

Law Firm Marketing Investments – Investing Wisely


I am a partner in a 16 attorney firm located in Baltimore, Maryland. Our clients are primarily business firms. I am the chair of our three member marketing committee which was formed three years ago. Our firm is increasing our commitment to marketing and have increased our budget over the past three years. However, we are not sure what we should be spending our money on. Your suggestions would be appreciated.


Hopefully, you have developed a marketing plan and a marketing budget tied to the specific objectives outlined in the plan. Here are a few general guidelines, tips, and best practices:

  1. Money spent on good clients is money well spent.
  2. Allocate more money to specific practice areas or niches and individual lawyers than to the firm as a whole.
  3. Tie passive initiatives to active participation.
  4. Stand out as a major contributor to a single or a few campaigns rather than making many small contributors.
  5. Constantly measure and monitor your return on marketing investment. (ROMI)

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





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