September/October 2019


Ruminating on Financial Content and Communication

Peter Roberts

This column concerns communicating financial information within your firm. Let’s start by laying some groundwork.

I have the privilege of speaking each year to a class of law students who are enrolled in an elective course about the business aspects of a law practice. I always ask the students to describe their undergraduate majors. If the major was business-related, I do a thumbs-up. That is because some familiarity with business concepts is much better than no familiarity at all, especially if they will someday represent business clients. I usually do not mention that they could be asked to be the leaders of their future law firm in the interest of TMI (i.e., too much information) at this early stage of their legal career.

The dinner table.

If your undergraduate major was not business-related, perhaps your family owned a business and so you were exposed to discussion at the dinner table about marketing, personnel management, competition, growth plans and financial reports. If your parent or parents are attorneys, you had a doorway to at least some of the financial questions encountered in a law practice of whatever size.

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