Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

Category: Law firm administrator

Sep 24, 2013

Law Firm Administrator/Business Manager – Establishing Presence & Earning Respect


Our firm is a 8 attorney firm located in downtown Chicago. We have just hired our first administrator/business manager and he starts in two weeks. We are concerned that we get started on the right foot so our experience is successful. Any thoughts?


Relationship With Partners

On the first day of employment with the firm, the administrator must begin to develop a relationship with the firm’s partners that is based upon need, understanding, credibility and trust.

Governance Plan

Business management in many law firms suffers from decision-making paralysis — in other
words, helpless inactivity and the inability to act decisively. Lack of effective implementation of decisions is also evident. The result: missed opportunities and a deteriorating competitive position in the legal marketplace. Administrators who can be proactive and turn this situation around will be off
to a good start to solidifying their positions in their firms.

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


Jul 15, 2008

How Large Should a Law Firm Be When It Is Time to Hire an Administrator


How large should a firm be when it is time to hire an administrator?


There is no magic size. We just completed an engagement recruiting an administrator for a seven attorney firm. We also have law firm clients with over 40 attorneys that don’t have an administrator. I believe that an administrator, or office manager, is appropriate in firms of all sizes. It is a matter of attitude and commitment on the part of the partners and whether they are willing to delegate responsibility and authority to an administrator to run the day-to-day operations of the firm. The firm should start with a job description and then decide whether the firm is willing to delegate responsibility and authority. If not, the firm should not hire an administrator.

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

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