Taking Advantage of a Recession: Seven Strategies for Opportunistic Law Firms

The natural reaction of most lawyers is to deal with an economic downturn in the same way they would handle a hurricane — hunker down, don’t take any unnecessary chances and try to survive until it is over. Given the risk adversity of most law firms, avoiding action may indeed be the best plan for […]

Most law firms have a limited number of options to improve their profitability. They can ask their lawyers to work harder —which in many firms is a function of having the work to do, as well as a culture that inspires and rewards hard work. Another alternative is to cut costs but, for most law […]

Local Clients, Local Work

The biggest factor in most law firms’ success is the quality of their client base.  In large measure this is because different clients have differing volumes of work, complexity of legal needs and price sensitivity.  Appropriately, therefore, many law firms’ strategic plans are built, at least in part, around improving their client base.  Unfortunately, there […]

The Low Cost Provider

A lot of law firms talk about using pricing to attract clients who don’t want to pay New York prices for top quality legal work.  But, for most firms, the Low Cost Provider strategy has not been particularly successful.  The answer may be for firms to learn from the pricing experience of businesses in the […]

Plan B

The economic downturn has caused many businesses to reconsider the viability of their strategic direction.  This is especially true for law firms that primarily deal with business clients and are impacted by both the global decline in business transactions and clients’ overall desire to reduce costs by using less legal services.  For many law firms, […]

Hedging Our Bets in Europe

A primary long-term strategy for a lot of U.S. law firms is the establishment and growth of an office in the U.K. or continental Europe.  But such global aspirations are becoming much more expensive and risky as the value of the U.S. dollar falls against the British pound and the euro.  For firms looking to […]

Blessed Are the Meek

It comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever worked for or with a law firm that taking action to implement any form of decision or plan can be a major problem.  Whether it involves a sophisticated strategy or enforcing the most routine practice requirements, some law firms seem to have a tough time […]

Strategic Mergers

I was speaking with the managing partner of an AmLaw 200 firm a couple of weeks ago.  He casually mentioned that, year in and year out, he spends about 25 percent of his time involved in merger discussions.  I thought he was kidding but he assured me he was completely serious and had the non-billable […]

Creating a Burning Platform

When law firms go about attempting the implementation of strategies that involve some aspect of change for the firm, there is frequently a lot of talk about “burning platforms.”  The concept is that people, particularly lawyers, are resistant to change.  Therefore, even the most logical and rational justifications of change don’t seem to work unless […]

Staying Out of Sam’s Club: Making Small Acquisitions Work

The recession provides an excellent opportunity for law firms to achieve strategic objectives through a series of small mergers that are effectively acquisitions.  Increasingly, smaller firms with less than 50 lawyers see “being acquired” as the best means of surviving the economic downturn.  For larger firms, picking up lawyers in small groups enhances the likelihood […]