Law Firm Leadership: Are We Only Managers Now
September 2012 | Law Firm Leadership: Are We Only Managers Now
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Law Practice Today

ABA Law Practice Management Section Fall Meeting 2012

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.


What Law Firm Leaders Do—and What They Don't Do!
(or "What Law Firm Leaders Do—and What Law Firm Managers Do")

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.

Where Were the Leaders? How a Failure of Leadership Doomed Dewey

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.

Leadership in Law Firms: Looking Forward
A Roundtable Discussion of Professional Development Consortium Member

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.

Three Big Ideas in Leadership Development

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.

Leadership 101: Training Programs to Develop Your Firm's Next Generation of Leaders

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.

The Next Generation of Law Firm Leaders

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.

Stay Connected to the HP ENVY Pro


Pressing Issues Facing Law Firm Leaders
A Roundtable Discussion

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.

Building the Team Concept to Manage and Transition Clients

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.

Client Service as a Differentiator

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.


Getting Paid

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.


Magic in Minutes – Effective Use of Document Assembly

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.


Joan R. Bullock

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.


Maureen A. Sheehy

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.

American Bar Insurance

ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop 2012


September 20, 2012, LPM Member Rate $85 | Use code TSUMLPM

October 4, 2012, LPM Member Rate $85 | Use code TSUMLPM

October 17-20, 2012

October 19-21, 2012

iPad in One Hour for Lawyers, Second Edition  Building Your Practice with Pro Bono for Lawyers  Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers

The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology59th Edition: Model Rules Have Changed

By Jim Calloway and Sharon Nelson

Law Practice Magazine, July/August 2012 Issue

Law Practice is the leading magazine on the business of practicing law. Published six times per year, it offers insightful advice and practical tips on marketing, management, technology and finance.

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Micah U Buchdahl, HTMLawyers, Inc.


Nicholas Gaffney, Infinite Public Relations, LLC


Andrea Malone, White and Williams LLP


John D. Bowers, Fox Rothschild LLP

Barbara H. Brown, Meagher & Geer PLLP

Margaret M. DiBianca, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP

Rodney Dowell, Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.,

Nicholas Gaffney, Infinite Public Relations, LLC

Nancy L Gimbol, Eastburn & Gray

Richard W Goldstein, Goldstein Patent Law

Katy M. Goshtasbi, Puris Image

Elizabeth Henslee

William D Henslee, Florida A&M Univ College of Law

George E. Leloudis, Woods Rogers PLC

Allison C. Shields, Legal Ease Consulting, Inc.

Gregory H. Siskind, Siskind Susser, P.C.

Ben Stevens, The Stevens Firm, P.A. Family Law Center

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