It’s the end of October as I write this, and I’m heading home from the LPM Section’s Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. While there, I was also among the presenters at the College of Law Practice Management’s Futures Symposium. Discussions at both events were strong reminders of how important it is to focus on the business side of a law practice.
That is especially true when it comes to managing the financial aspects of the firm. It’s clear that many lawyers and firms are still struggling owing to the economic downturn and, needless to say, many of their clients are struggling, too. This is causing everyone to focus on all things related to money and management—and in this issue of Law Practice we do the same.
Our first feature will show you that there’s a silver lining in every cloud. Steve Taylor has written a great article profiling firms that successfully tackled the challenges of the recession and, more importantly, seized new opportunities during it because of their approaches to finances and management. Next, Fred Esposito explains how firm management people can tackle the challenges involved in getting lawyers to regularly complete administrative tasks such as time entry, billings and collections—all of which impact profits, both collectively and individually. The key to his plan is encouragement through education.
Alternative fees are a hot topic these days, and it’s clear from the sessions at the Futures Symposium that they’re going mainstream—it’s about time! So to help you respond to what clients are demanding, Raymond Bayley’s article provides advice on how to properly implement alternative fees by fairly allocating the risks and rewards between your firm and your clients. And you’ll find additional advice on billing and other ways to achieve a healthier bottom line in Janis Alexander, Ed Poll and Mark Robertson’s “25 Quick Tips” piece. This is great practical advice you can implement immediately. Lastly, be sure to read Jessika Ferm and Petersen Thomas’s article describing some of the top management pains experienced by law firm staff, as experienced through the eyes on one forthright paralegal. Their article outlines solutions to some issues that can have a significant impact on the bottom line. It will be an eye-opener for many readers.
Even as the economy, bit by bit, begins to recover from the effects of the recession, money continues to be tight. I hope this issue of Law Practice helps you improve your firm’s finances and build for a brighter future.
Dan Pinnington, Editor-in-Chief