Friday, May 06, 2011

Turbulence Ahead: Law Firms of the Future

The legal market is undergoing signficant structural changes, as noted in an article in The Economist titled, Law Firms:  A Less Gilded Future. Here is an excerpt that captures the tone of this well written analysis:
Ultimately, lawyering is becoming more of a business than a profession. Some lawyers decry this. Others welcome it. Few deny it. Because the American market cannot grow as it used to, firms will have to find new strategies and make use of sophisticated branding to stand out.
Business development and client retention are at the heart of the new business model. Facing intense pressures to manage costs, firms and attorneys will need to act quickly to reformulate services and billable hour alternatives.

Successful law firms are those that embrace rather than resist change. Infusing a business development atmosphere throughout the firm, from attorney training to compensation incentives, is essential to stay competitive and close to the market. Read the full story.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

When to Start a New Law Firm

There is no perfect time to start a new law firm, says Jay Shepherd in a post titled Small Firms, Big Lawyers: When Should You Start Your Own Firm?

I agree with his point that it is best not to hang out your shingle right after law school unless you have no other opportunities. Business development is one crucial topic not taught in school. It is better to learn the ropes of both law firm operations and marketing from a more experienced set of attorneys.

Mr. Shepherd says,
So when is the best time to start your own firm? It depends on your practice area. My advice is that you should only hang your shingle after you’ve developed enough experience and expertise in your chosen field to be comfortable fielding any call from a prospective client. I’m not saying that you need to be a complete expert, or know all the answers off the top of your head. What I am saying is that you need to be at a point where you have a facility with your area of law that allows you to speak intelligently to the inquiring prospect, spot some of the main issues, and then be able to go off and research the answer to the question.
Good advice.