Practice Management

Change is the new normal for area’s law firms

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BY SUSAN MCDONALD

The 2008 economic crisis and ensuing Great Recession left many industries facing a new normal, and the legal profession is no exception. The need to become more efficient and provide clients with cost-effective services is one of several trends affecting some of Connecticut’s largest law firms.

“The business of law has changed dramatically since 2008,” said Stanley A. Twardy, Jr., managing partner at Day Pitney LLC. “Fee pressures on us continue five years later and have caused firms of all sizes to look at the product they deliver to their clients and how they deliver it.”

via Change is the new normal for area’s law firms | HartfordBusiness.com.

Five Winning Law Firm Business Development Strategies

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By Frank Michael D’Amore 

The quest to not only retain clients, but to acquire new work, can be daunting. It has been well documented that the legal pie, from a relative perspective, is shrinking. The recent recession caused many companies to rethink their legal spending strategy. For example, some litigation that normally would have been fought through trial/appeal has more frequently been settled early or not even filed. Some deal work that typically would have been sent to outside counsel was kept in house or may not have even been pursued if it was deemed too costly. These are but two examples of changes that may be harbingers of longer-term trends that are likely to have major impacts on law firms.

via Five Winning Law Firm Business Development Strategies.

Alternative Fee Arrangements: The Facts Behind the Buzz

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Alternative Fee Arrangements: The Facts Behind the Buzz

by Cindy Greenway

Law firms are under increasing pressure from clients to reduce costs and justify expenditures, and alternative fee arrangements (AFAs) are rising to the challenge. While AFAs aren’t exactly a new concept to the legal industry (personal legal services have been offering them for years), they are now becoming more prevalent in new practice areas, such as corporate law and litigation work.

It’s a major shift for a profession that has historically been married to the billable hour. If we go all the way back to 1958, it was the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Economics of Law Practice that first recommended the billable hour approach, which was widely adopted and deeply entrenched in the legal industry for decades. But the Global Financial Crisis brought with it significant changes for everyone, including law firms, which have responded in a resounding way. Budget conscious clients now have an endless array of options; fixed fee, phased fee, collared fee, value fee, holdback, blended rate, contingent fee, for just about any legal service.

via Alternative Fee Arrangements: The Facts Behind the Buzz – LawMarketing.com – The Premier Resource For Information on the Business of Law.

Why You Should Build the Cost of Doing Business Into Your Fee

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Why You Should Build the Cost of Doing Business Into Your Fee

Credit card merchant fees (“check out” fees) are back in the news with the recent preliminary class action settlement between retailers and credit card giants Visa and MasterCard. Lawyers who accept credit cards often ask whether they can pass these fees on to their clients.  It is unlikely the settlement will change the landscape for lawyers, but I’d like to set that discussion aside for a moment and focus on something more fundamental: how should lawyers treat costs not related to a specific client matter?

via Why You Should Build the Cost of Doing Business Into Your Fee | Oregon Law Practice Management.

How Professional Services Firms Can Excel at Content Marketing Without Jeopardizing Billable Time

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Have you seen the popular news clip that has spawned a media and meme sensation? It’s referred to as “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” and while the meme itself may be pretty silly, I often feel that “marketing… ain’t nobody got time for that!” is what our professional services clients think when I ask them to add content marketing to their already busy schedules in which billable client work is the first priority. They seem to think I am as crazy as these memes are.

I can’t say I blame professional services firms for ruling out content marketing because it “takes too long.” I too understand the demands of today’s fast-paced professional world. There are clients to serve, employees to manage, goals to reach, and endless deadlines to be met (shout out to the accountants). Would you think I am even crazier if I told you that you can easily weave content marketing into your day without jeopardizing your valuable billable time? Well, believe it! With the following time-saving strategies, you can accomplish one more thing: growing your business by generating leads online with content marketing
via How Professional Services Firm Can Excel at Content Marketing Without Jeopardizing Billable Time | Business 2 Community.

America’s legal industry: The case against clones | The Economist

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A lawsuit could lead to more competition and more choice

Feb 2nd 2013 | NEW YORK |From the print edition

JACOBY & MYERS embodies what many people dislike about American lawyers. The firm solicits new clients with advertisements which tantalise people with dreams of huge payouts. “Remember that guy? Who came in second at the last New York Marathon? Neither do we. Winning is everything,” boasted one of its commercials in 2011 (though the firm settled the vast majority of cases before a verdict).

Jacoby & Myers was a pioneer in fighting in the 1970s for lawyers’ right to advertise. Today, the firm is trying to win another suit to change the rules of America’s legal industry, which generated revenues of $261 billion in the 12 months to September. If successful, the suit would allow non-lawyer investors to put money in a law firm—first in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which Jacoby & Myers has picked as a target, and then probably elsewhere. Currently law firms, whether a “single shingle” or one like Jones Day (the biggest American firm by headcount with more than 2,400 lawyers and 800 partners) may have only one corporate form anywhere except the District of Columbia: a partnership owned only by lawyers.

via America’s legal industry: The case against clones | The Economist.

Impact of wellbeing on performance | The Law Gazette

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Thursday 21 February 2013 by Jessica Pryce-Jones

Two phenomena are affecting the legal world; productivity and talent retention. The Gazette has widely reported on increasing cost-pressures for high street firms (practising certificate price rises, cuts to public funding for legal aid), as well as talent retention (both lawyers and support staff) in firms both large and small.

via Impact of wellbeing on performance | The Law Gazette.