Friday, January 02, 2009

Lawyers Build Book of Business in a Bust

"About 80 percent of our partners have never experienced a downturn in profits," according to Kirkland & Ellis Senior Partner Kevin Evanich as quoted in a January 1, 2009 Chicago Tribune article entitled Law firms' woes likely to last.

That's a very telling statement! While many attorneys have certainly worked very hard to build their book of business, doing so in a robust economy is immensely easier than in today's unprecendented economic turmoil. While the dot com bust wasn't fun, it tended to be more focused on one specific economic sector. Today almost every industry sector faces difficult times.

What this means is that the partners and law firms who will emerge winners in 2009 are those who enter the year thoroughly prepared with a solid yet flexible business plan for client retention and new business development. Every attorney should have well defined requirements that roll up to support the overall firm-level performance goal. Monthly and quarterly reviews of actual versus budgeted results will help to indicate needed mid-course corrections.

Is your firm ready?

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