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Tag Archives: Practice Management

Marketing whiz (access required)

When it comes to marketing his law firm, Ken Harrell, managing partner of the Joye Law Firm, has tried just about everything. Some campaigns have worked well; others have failed miserably. The trick to making it work is simple, though, says Harrell: Have a lot of money, and know when it’s time to move on to the next idea. The firm advertises its bread-and-butter personal injury practice everywhere — on television, on billboards, in the Yellow Pages and on the Internet.

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Tripped up (access required)

Working as an attorney means time logged on the road, a reality that is tough to bear as gas prices have climbed higher. South Carolina lawyers are dealing with the rising costs by consolidating appointments into one trip and, in some cases, picking up clients when they don't have the money to make the drive. And much of the time, attorneys just grin and bear the higher bills.

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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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