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Tag Archives: Coach’s Corner

Top 10 ways to increase law firm revenue (access required)

Top 10 lists have long been a journalistic staple, but their ongoing role on David Letterman’s television show has made their use almost a cliché. Even so, a concise ranking can combine the value of focus with brevity. And there is nothing on which any business, including a law firm, should be more focused than increasing revenues. Business revenues will not increase without a plan to identify the desired outcome and define what is necessary to achieve it. A law firm that does not plan to increase its revenues will wind up with a practice reflecting whatever walks in the door, which is not the best path to revenue growth. Taking any or all of these top 10 steps offers far greater likelihood of success.

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It’s not just an office lease, it’s a strategic planning tool (access required)

I received a call from a lawyer wanting to know what percentage of his gross revenue should be allocated to rent and whether his percentage was in line with other law firms. I cited one study that put the average at 9 percent, but his comeback was that another consultant said the average was 12 percent. Such generic numbers totally miss the point on two levels. First, they allow lawyers to think that they need not try to do better than the average. And second, they obscure the point that the cost of office space is a statement about the law firm itself, raising issues that should be addressed in a strategic plan.

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We should see our clients in their native habitat (access required)

I recently read a newspaper story in which a doctor talked about her reaction when she happened to meet a patient at an airport, where the patient worked. The patient was out of the context of the examining room and the doctor was taken aback, at first not recognizing the patient. The experience of seeing the patient as an individual in a work environment gave the doctor an entirely new perspective on this person, to the point of considering changes in treatment.

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Coach’s Corner: Your lease is a strategic planning tool

I received a call from a lawyer wanting to know what percentage of his gross revenue should be allocated to rent and whether his percentage was in line with other law firms. I cited one study that put the average at 9 percent, but his comeback was that another consultant said the average was 12 percent. Such generic numbers totally miss the point on two levels. First, they allow lawyers to think that they need not try to do better than the average. And second, they obscure the point that the cost of office space is a statement about the law firm itself, raising issues that should be addressed in a strategic plan.

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Coach’s Corner: What makes a law firm a good place to work?

Every law firm is, or should be, a team, with lawyers, staff and support personnel committed to a team effort for providing the best possible service and work product for the benefit of clients. Involving everyone in the office so that they feel a sense of inclusiveness, understanding their roles and looking forward to exercising them, creates a better and more successful firm. At too many law firms, unfortunately, this does not exist.

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Coach’s Corner: Dissolution should not be a firm’s only contingency

Clients clamor for alternatives to hourly rate billing because they want lawyers to have an incentive stake in the outcome of a matter. This is the case with contingency fees, where lawyers get a flat percentage of the value earned for the client. Contingency fees are often used in litigation, from personal injury cases to high-stakes corporate disputes.

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Coach’s Corner: If you’re pitching, who’s catching?

Couplings, like metaphors, create mental pictures that help us to better understand concepts. How about "Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage?" Well, that was in an earlier era. Oops, showing my age again. Perhaps that's appropriate for having turned another year older and wiser. Then we have billing and collecting. They go together. Can't have one without the other.

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Coach’s Corner: Simple plan, simple question: What business are you in?

A business plan can be simple or complex. Simple is better. Years ago, my dad and I created a business plan for our food-processing company. In essence, it was a set of goals, what we thought farmers could grow for us (raw material) and what we thought we could sell (finished product). We did this informally and used it as a basis for creating contracts with the farmers.

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