Volume 38 Number 4


About the Author

Tom Mighell is the Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. He is a senior records management and e-discovery consultant with Contoural, Inc. and previously practiced law for 18 years.

From the Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section

Law Practice Magazine | July/August 2012 | The Law Firm Profitability IssueBack in the spring, a television comedy I regularly watch made me laugh when a character said, “The ‘Webster’s Dictionary defines’ intro is the Jim Belushi of speech openings. It accomplishes nothing, but everyone keeps on using it and no one knows why.” As much as I may agree with that sentiment, I am nevertheless going to invoke the timeworn phrase and say Webster’s Dictionary defines profitability as “affording profits; yielding advantageous returns or results.”

This issue of Law Practice demonstrates the idea of profitability on a number of different levels. You’ll read articles on some really interesting topics, including alternative fee arrangements and ways you can be profitable without increasing your billable hours. You’ll even learn how pro bono and outsourcing can make your practice more profitable. But I’m going to let our fantastic authors explain more about how to make your practice itself yield more “advantageous returns or results.”

Instead, I’d like to focus on the other ways this magazine, and other services of the ABA Law Practice Management Section, make you more profitable: by consistently providing you with the finest in law practice management educational materials and resources. I truly believe LPM is unique in what it offers to the practicing lawyer—the opportunity to learn about the business of practicing law, the nuts and bolts of running a law practice. It’s probably not something you learned much about in law school or something that your substantive law sections talk about very much. It’s our hope that by providing these resources, we can help you concentrate on what’s really important: providing great legal services to your clients.

Speaking of profitability, I have enjoyed an embarrassment of riches serving as your Chair this past year. I have gotten to meet and become friends with a lot of really amazing people, all of whom are passionate about helping lawyers learn how to better serve their clients. Thanks so much to the LPM staff and volunteers who have worked so hard this year to bring the finest in law practice education to all of you. I wish incoming Chair Joan Bullock the very best for a successful year—I know that with the volunteers and staff we will have in place, she already has a great start. In all of my columns, I have challenged each of you to learn something new from the contents of this magazine. My final challenge is for you to challenge yourself—to take each issue of Law Practice and learn about something that can yield advantageous returns or results in your practice, whether it’s mastering a new technology, finding innovative ways to market your practice, adopting a better method of billing your clients or developing a succession plan for your firm. But don’t stop with the magazine—take advantage of the Section’s fantastic publications, webcasts and conferences. There’s always something new you can learn. I hope you’ll make the ABA Law Practice Management Section your partner in this challenge as we strive to help you practice law effectively and successfully while maintaining the highest standards of the profession.


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