Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

Category: Strategic Planning

Sep 22, 2010

Characteristics of Successful Law Firms – Basic Building Blocks – Block 5 – Planning

For the past four weeks I have been discussing the characteristics of successful law firms and introduced the following basic building blocks that successful firms typically have in place:

Partner relations, leadership, management, and partner compensation blocks have been discussed. 

The fifth basic building block is planning. Successful firms have a long range business or strategic plan in place.   

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

  • Elements of an effective business plan should include:
    • Decision as to direction of the firm
    • Data collection and review
    • Data collection and review
    • Action plans
    • Implementation and follow-up mechanisms

    Failing to plan is planning to fail.

    Click here to read my article on the topic.

    I will address each of the other building blocks in upcoming postings.

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

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