Who should use us?
Firms of typically fewer than 12 partners, sole practices and leveraged sole practices seeking various kinds of practice improvement
Firms that don’t have the resources for full time management, practice development, and HR staff
Firms that can afford a relatively low-cost Office Manager or Accounts Manager for day-to-day maintenance, but need a wider skill set in building performance
Firms with specific practice improvement goals, but who aren’t quite sure about the best way to get there
Firms looking for assistance with specific problems – like the performance of individuals and practice development
Firms where the partners recognise the value of an experienced and independent sounding board / facilitator
Firms looking for help in clarifying their direction and / or devising and pushing through the necessary changes
Small to medium sized partnerships wanting to transition from a reasonably liaises faire style of operation to a more performance-based style
Individual practice groups in larger firms – who have the flexibility to engage outside assistance to help work on improvements
Solicitors considering setting up a new practice or buying into a practice
Small to medium firms contemplating merger or acquisition
Who We Work Best With
That means that usually we don’t work with national / top tier firms, which typically have hard wired governance structures along with extensive internal resources. We have worked with and do work with top tier firms in special cases around:
- Performance of a particular practice group and / or
- Independent counselling of a particular partner.
While we specialise in law firms, we have also assisted accounting firms and pre-insolvency firms.
We do not operate in the clinical (medical and related) professions.
This means that we rarely accept briefs from Office Managers, Practice Managers or Secretaries.
The logic behind this is simple – if the Partners see the issue/s in front of them as sufficiently important, they will allocate the time to talk them through with us themselves…. Or at a minimum, via a Partners’ spokesperson.
Further, because Partners are ultimately responsible for what does and doesn’t happen in firms, we see little value in pursuing projects without direct partner buy-in all the way through. The attitudes, behaviours, and performances of Partners is generally a driving determinant of what is going well and not so well in a law firm.
In most cases, the people they respect first (or at least would like to!) are the Partners… the people they work with on a daily / hourly basis. Once we have an improvement program settled, we prefer to push things along working directly through Partners (and in the case of support staff, through the Practice Manager) and encouraging Partners to be accountable for what they have agreed to.
We do (and quite often) help individual employees through a coaching role where we encourage them to think about aspects of their job differently. That is, we agree programs related to particular work habits, skills, disciplines, capabilities etc and try to help them to become better at managing these things themselves.
But this will always be with Partner permission.
In this role we do a specialist presentation on the risks / rewards of purchasing equity – especially in relatively unsophisticated practices. Because of this, lawyers quite often seek our guidance on offers of equity they have been made. We have helped dozens of people this way.
We also give advice to Partners looking to extricate themselves from a current firm – either in a lateral move, or to set up a boutique, or occasionally to leave the profession altogether.
Obviously, in all these cases, if the subject firm is our client then we must decline the instructions - unless both the individual and the firm explicitly state that they are happy for us to advise – but even then we are obliged to state that our advice is not technically independent.
Independent advice in buy-ins, equity ramp ups, and exits can be very helpful. These situations have a capacity to become emotionally charged if prosecuted alone.
We not only assist people in achieving fair outcomes, but also in:
- Not starting fights they won’t win
- Not losing sight of the forest for the trees
- Not appreciating their firm’s constitutional inability to negotiate in some cases
- Not burning all their existing goodwill in the firm through their negotiation style.
Sometimes – when personal style and all other considerations are taken into account, it makes sense to reject offers of partnership in particular firms. But we will never tell you to do this… we will lead you through all the emotional, career and financial due diligence and then get you to make the decision.
Where we may not be the best choice
- We can identify IT related and electronic workflow management issues as part of an improvement program, but we are not practice management software specialists. Where appropriate, we can co-opt independent, specialist people who are not tied to any particular software brand.
- Generally, we do not have the size or the resource base to work effectively on major multi-location projects for national firms. The scope of new projects and our ability to deliver on them needs to take into account our ongoing commitments to existing clients.
- As part of our general philosophy, if we believe that an alternative provider can produce a better, faster, more affordable job, we will recommend them to you.
I have absolutely no regrets...
Our client testimonials explain our experienced, direct and practical approach to practice improvement.READ TESTIMONIALS