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August 19, 2019 Book Review

Remaking Law Firms: Why and How, by George R. Beaton and Imme Kaschner

Reviewed by Kati Sanford Goodner

It is no secret to anyone who has practiced law for more than a quick minute that the economic environment for law practice is changing and changing quickly. Smart lawyers and law firms are spending significant amounts of time and money studying the market and planning for how to survive a tightening and rapidly evolving legal marketplace. From the way legal services are provided to the legal needs clients are facing, the practice of law and its successful business models today look vastly different from the traditional law firm business model. In their book Remaking Law Firms: Why and How, authors George R. Beaton and Imme Kaschner explore not only how the financial crisis of 2008 and subsequent economic changes have forced law firms to rethink the way law firms operate, but also discuss how law firms can implement smart changes to be well-positioned for the future.

Divided into two parts— “Why” and “How”—the book addresses the reasons underlying changes to the legal services industry, why the industry’s evolution continues, and concrete strategies for rising to the challenge of changing with it. In the “Why” section, the authors discuss how factors ranging from technology to the increasing use of in-house counsel to globalization and deregulation have all contributed as catalysts for the challenges now facing traditional law firm structures. The “Why” portion ends with a diagnostic that allows lawyers and law firms to perform a firm-assessment (or self-assessment for the solo practitioner) to determine how prepared the firm or individual is for change.

Once the “readiness” assessment is completed, the book transitions to a discussion of “How” to remake a law firm. Beginning with building the appropriate business model, Part II of the book walks through specific building blocks such as marketing, business development, pricing and fee arrangements, sourcing and outsourcing, project management, technology, and analytics. The authors conclude with a discussion on how change affects compensation structures and how to work with the “change-averse” lawyer and overcome ingrained traditional law firm mindsets.

If it’s not already evident, you do not have to be a managing partner at a large law firm to benefit from the research, analysis, and strategies that Remaking Law Firms: Why and How provides. While it is easy to assume that business strategy is best left to high-level decision-makers, Beaton and Kaschner delve into tools that can help even first-year associates better understand how to develop new clients, provide value to clients, and, ultimately, retain those clients in a market that is offering competitive fee arrangements and outsourcing.

To order Remaking Law Firms: Why and How, go to https://www.americanbar.org/products/inv/book/237594569/ or call 1-800-285-2221.

Regular price: $69.95; TIPS Member price: $55.95.

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Reviewed by Kati Sanford Goodner

Kati Sanford Goodner is a litigator in the Business & Commercial and Tax Practice Groups of the Knoxville, Tennessee, office of Lewis, Thomason, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C., where she focuses on business litigation, tax controversy, and representation of small businesses in a variety of commercial matters. She is chair of the TortSource editorial board and may be reached at [email protected].