Few things are more important to law firms than leadership. Decisive leadership helps firms through times of peril. Leadship also makes law firms successful. A lack of leadership can cause law firms to move too slowly, stagnate, and lose their way. Law firms of all sizes recognize the importance of leadership and most of them, in different ways, are doing their best to cultivate and develop their future leaders. Our authors in this month's issue share insight about what it takes to be a leader -- and how to cultivate new ones.
About the Author
Nicholas Gaffney is a partner with Infinite Public Relations LLC. In this capacity, he designs, executes, and manages strategic communications programs for professional services providers of all type and scope, including some of the most prominent law and professional services firms in the country.
By Richard Goldstein
There is a difference between "acting like a leader" and "acting like a manager." However, when people are unclear about who is doing which, they will look to the wrong people for the wrong things, and their expectations will remain unfulfilled.
By Katrina Dewey
Whether Dewey's failure is a precursor of future law firm failures or an isolated spectacular disaster, it offers many valuable lessons to law firm leaders. Seven Lessons of Law Firm Leadership that were not present at Dewey are explored which could help your firm deal with the challenges it will face.
Moderated by Jennifer Bluestein
As the legal industry faces challenges unseen in modern law firms, the need for superior leadership is recognized as mission-critical. Firms across the country have, in the past two decades, started focusing on talent management, leadership succession and competencies in a very focused way.
By Nancy Manzo and John Montgomery
What's next in leadership development for law firms? We scanned the latest research and spoke with successful law firm leaders to discern important trends and show how they apply to the practice of law. You'll see how neuroscience can be applied to leadership, tips for retaining and advancing talent, and ideas to help you master your inbox, as well as your thoughts and emotions.
By Patrick C. Dunican Jr
Most high profile law firm dissolutions since the beginning of the recent financial crisis could be attributed at least in part to a failure of firm leadership, often at multiple levels. Partners were not adequately leading client teams, department chairs were not adequately leading practice groups, and managing partners and executive committees were not adequately leading firms.
By Natasha Innocenti
What happens when a firm leader steps down or retires? What does that kind of transition mean for a firm? And who will fill those shoes? These questions have been asked for years, but have a new sense of urgency and complexity today, particularly in Northern California, where firms hope to gain a foothold in Silicon Valley.
Moderated by Richard Hetke
A panel of law firm leaders from firms across the country gathered "virtually" to discuss pressing issues they are confronting as they manage their firms during these turbulent times. What keeps them up at night is instructive to all law firm leaders.
By Ed Poll
Having teams rather than individual partners manage client relationships creates the best foundation for keeping that relationship alive when an older partner faces retirement or de‐equitization from the firm. It is essential the younger lawyers are team members to help transition clients smoothly and ensure effective client representation.
By Marni Becker-Avin
It is imperative, especially in this economy, that professional service firms find a way to distinguish themselves from their competition. This article explores the role client service plays towards productivity enhancement, relationship building, efficiency, and gaining sustainable competitive advantage.
By Phil Paisley
Securing clients and getting paid are the top challenges for attorneys in private practice. These problems are more critical for attorneys who practice as sole practitioners and in small law offices because it takes staff and systems to attract clients and get paid. There can be a relationship between getting paid and attracting new clients. Clients who feel you have accommodated to their needs with a tailored billing plan often will refer new clients to you.
By Jim Calloway and Diane Ebersole
This paper was originally presented at ABA TECHSHOW 2012 and is reprinted by permission.
Are you wasting time drafting very similar documents? Learn how the new tools allow you and your staff to easily create smart document templates from your own forms without any outside technical support.
Interviewed by Gayle Boudreau
Joan Bullock, Associate Dean and Professor of Law at Florida A&M University College of Law, is the 2012 – 2013 Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. Joan's entrepreneurial and management skills help her start up and develop organizations into successful business ventures. She builds, trains, and spearheads multidisciplinary teams, providing the guidance and motivation necessary to meet and exceed organizational goals and objectives.
MEET THE WOMEN RAINMAKERS!
Interviewed by Debra Forman
Maureen Sheehy, an intellectual property litigator and the managing partner of Kilpatrick Townsend, describes herself as optimistic and driven. Believing the goal of business is to make the client – or prospect – look good, she approaches business development with the attitude of "what can I do or offer to be of service to my client?" She says sometimes it can be the small things that provide real value.
New Legal Technology Resources
The ABA Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) recently joined the ABA Law Practice Management Section (LPM) Section, bringing with it an extensive library of legal technology content on topics ranging from cloud computing to social media. Together, LTRC and LPM recently launched two all new resources:
Law Technology Today, an active blog bringing together some of the most influential voices in legal technology.
Free monthly webinars, bringing you valuable technology insights in just 30 minutes.
Best Billing Practices, Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.ET
Learn about the best practices for capturing your time, getting clients to pay quickly, emailing statements securely, and tracking time and tasks on the go with your smartphone or tablet. Hosted by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center and presented by Bruce Policky from Tabs3.