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It’s no secret that we are in the midst of turbulent times, both inside the legal profession and in the outside world. But under the press of handling the daily challenges in our own backyards, it’s often hard to look over the fence and see what’s happening in the distance. To put perspective on the bigger picture, this issue of Law Practice focuses on how law firms can prepare themselves for what’s down the road.
We start at the top. Solid leadership is critical for getting through challenging times, and for making sure the opportunities that change brings are identified and exploited. So Editorial Board members Ed Flitton and Karen MacKay put together a fantastic roundtable of law firm leaders who discuss not just how to cope with the short-term challenges, but also how to take advantage of change for long-term success. We also have 15 valuable recession-response tips from Linda Oligschlaeger – while targeted at small firm lawyers, most apply equally well to lawyers at bigger firms, too.
In addition, with firm profits down in today’s economy, it’s creating challenges on the compensation and bonus front. Jim Cotterman looks at how firms are altering compensation structures in response—including some ways that will probably be permanent. Steve Taylor writes about how bonus systems can help you motivate and retain top talent in any economy. Another issue that looms large is the huge number of baby boomers on the verge of retirement age—although in light of recent hits on their retirement nest eggs, many are reconsidering their plans to leave. Bill Cobb and Pollard Rogers write about how firms can revamp retirement policies and client transition plans to avoid a crisis. And Patrick McKenna provides great tips on the critical subject of transitioning leadership, highlighting how retiring and incoming managing partners need to work hand in hand for success.
We hope this issue helps you and your firm manage the big changes that are upon us all. While change can be daunting, a bit of it every once and a while can certainly help shake out the cobwebs and be very positive.
Anticipating the future. Navigating change is the focus of the College of Law Practice Management’s 2009 Futures Conference (www.colpm.org). Co-produced with the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Master of Science in Legal Administration Program and cosponsored by the ABA LPM Section, it takes place September 25-26. I’ll be there and I’m looking forward to getting more insights that we can share with you in upcoming issues!