Collaboration Reimagined: New Assessment Tool Aids in Understanding Team Dynamics

Posted on October 20, 2020 by J. David Harvey

The virtual world leaves some gaping holes in the way law firms need to operate. Especially when it comes to team collaboration, we must all deal with an environment that is not natural for fomenting human interaction. We have all been on Zoom calls with ten or more people with frequent talk-overs or long periods of what seems like awkward silences. A room full of people who know each other — together in the flesh — sparks natural energy that we can no longer tap for at least the immediate future. That makes understanding the dynamics of team collaboration that much more critical.

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Is Your Lack of Legal Project Management Resources Compromising Firm Performance? 

Posted on October 13, 2020 by Susan Lambreth

A growing number of firms have more than 20 Legal Project Managers who are imbedded like internal consultants, helping matter teams improve their communication, performance metrics, client satisfaction, and more. These firms include Allen & Overy, Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, Ropes & Gray, and WilmerHale. This group of progressive firms is joined by many other firms across the globe that have teams of 10 or more LPMs in place. 

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Herding Cats: Focus on the End Game 

Posted on September 28, 2020 by Carla Landry

Law firms no longer have a choice. They used to. When markets were stable, and profits were rising across the industry, it was challenging to make a compelling case for change. Never mind that many that did are in enviable positions right now. In the current destabilized economy, the need for process reform is more urgent than ever. Yet, even amid the pandemic, there is and will continue to be significant resistance among lawyers to changing from what some corporate minds refer to as the cost-plus business model. 

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Rethink Your Practice Group Strategy - Part 3 

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Susan Lambreth

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how practice groups must rethink their strategy to position themselves in the emerging post-pandemic market and formulate quarter-by-quarter implementation strategies that continue their Group’s forward momentum. In Part 2, we focused on how to develop compelling priorities for your practice group.  In addition to short-term, quarter-by-quarter plans, you also need a long-term strategy. For this, we’ll take a look at using scenario planning.

Scenario planning has been used since the 1950s when Herman Kahn of the RAND Corporation employed it with the US military. But Royal Dutch Shell is credited with pioneering this strategic decision-making methodology in business, which prepared them for the energy crisis of the 1970s. 

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BigHand Extends Its Reach 

Posted on September 21, 2020 by

We recently had a chance to sit down with Eric Wangler, the President and head of North American operations at BigHand, to learn more about the company’s view of the legal market its plans for the future in the wake of their recent acquisition by PE firm Levine Leichtman Capital Partners.

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ALSPs: Like Good Hand Hygiene for the Legal Industry 

Posted on September 8, 2020 by Carla Landry

What law firms stand to learn from ALSPs ...

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Law Firm Business Development: Where to Invest Sales Coaching Dollars 

Posted on September 1, 2020 by Silvia Coulter

The best use of any sales coaching investment is with the individuals at the firm who are both interested in continuing to build their business development skills and who are already successful at business development. This includes rainmakers. In fact, rainmakers, with some framework and direction, may increase their book of business to even more significant levels.

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Driving Law Firm Revenues: Quick Tips for Making Client Teams Successful 

Posted on August 17, 2020 by Silvia Coulter and Steven Bell

Studies show that most client team “programs” are not doing well and that many firms do not even have a focus on key clients. This week Silivia Coulter and Steve Bell of LawVision offer some quick tips to consider for enhancing the firm’s client team strategy.


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Client Feedback: Considerations for Client/Referral Source Selection Process 

Posted on August 11, 2020 by Silvia Coulter

In a client-focused firm, obtaining client feedback is an essential part of shaping your firm's culture and strategy.  This week, Silvia Coulter of LawVision offers some pointers for considerion when choosing which clients you should include in your firm's feedback program.

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Law Firm Leadership: Living the Values of Greatness 

Posted on July 20, 2020 by Silvia Coulter

Are you a good leader, or are you a great leader? What makes the difference? In this week's blog post, Silvia Coulter shares some tips about important leadership traits based on her observations of great law firm leaders over the course of her career.  

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LPM is Change for the New Economic Reality: Part Four of a Four-Part series 

Posted on July 14, 2020 by Carla Landry

At the end of the day, LPM is about how people perform their jobs. Period. This is the bottom line advice from LawVision strategist Carly Landry as she wraps up her four-part series on best practices for LPM implementation in your law firm. You can install some fancy new technologies and implement even more souped-up processes. But there is no LPM without people. If you’re going to deliver value, you’ll need to capture the hearts and minds of the people who comprise your firm.  

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Rethink Your Practice Group Strategy -- Part 2 

Posted on July 7, 2020 by Susan Lambreth

As the pace of change in the legal industry (and indeed the world) continues to accelerate, the next few years present the perfect opportunity to consider new and different approaches to traditional business development activities. In part 2 of this series, LawVision consultant Susan Lambreth provides some concrete suggestions about ways that practice groups can adapt their BD strategies to better fit the times. 

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Successfully integrating lateral partner hires: more important — and difficult — than ever 

Posted on June 29, 2020 by J. David Harvey

Integrating laterals into a new firm has always been a risky proposition — more than half do not remain with the firm for more than two years, costing firms from 200 to 400 percent of the attorney’s actual compensation. The challenge of lateral hiring has never been greater than in the current environment with firms continuing to operate remotely, greatly diminishing the opportunity for onboarding new talent face to face.  This article provides a list of best practices to consider in order to give your lateral hires the best chance at success in a virtual way.

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The Time is Now for BigHand Now 

Posted on June 15, 2020 by Joseph Lamport

You can’t manage what you can’t see, so gaining visibility of fundamental aspects of the support function has been key to take our service delivery to new heights.

Brett Chapman, COO of Husch Blackwell, explaining the value proposition of BigHand Now.


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Rethink Your Practice Group Strategy 

Posted on June 10, 2020 by Susan Lambreth

In today’s volatile and uncertain market, practice groups are prudent to focus on quarterly goals and targets instead of the longer-term horizon. Why the short-range emphasis? The world is changing too rapidly for annual or longer goals to be either appropriate or motivational. Because even the most astute prognosticators admit that they really do not know how the market for legal services will look in a year.

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LPM is Change for the New Economic Reality: Part Three of a Four-Part Series 

Posted on June 3, 2020 by Carla Landry

Leveraging Your LPM Technology Spend

LPM, when it's embedded in the fabric of the firm, changes everything. Unstructured and ad-hoc systems become replicable and transparent. Byzantine and ad-hoc processes are overhauled. Clients, who demand efficiency, are satisfied. But it has to be done right. This means putting in place the people, processes and technology that support your initiative.  

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Law Firm Business Development: Differentiate to Win Meeting Opportunities 

Posted on May 18, 2020 by Silvia Coulter

Whether it’s COVID-19 or another current pressing issue that provides a firm’s lawyers with an opportunity to reach out to clients, be mindful to differentiate your firm from others who are delivering similar messaging. We see the need for firms to focus on this particularly in light of the fact that e-alerts, blogs, and other notifications are delivered to clients’ inboxes to the count of 50+ a week.

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The Time is Now to Revamp & Ramp Up Client Team Efforts 

Posted on May 13, 2020 by J. David Harvey

How do you maintain relationships and provide value in a contactless environment? In a recent survey of Washington, D.C. area law firm marketing leaders, two areas stood out: client teams and industry-focused efforts. While these leaders expected a huge decrease in certain activities (like events and the number of pitches), they anticipate an increase in client teams and industry-focused activity.  In fact, with the unprecedented and volatile market changes, now is a prime time to reinvigorate client teams and industry-focused efforts.

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LPM is Change for the New Economic Reality: Part Two of a Four-Part Series 

Posted on May 6, 2020 by Carla Landry

If there was ever a time to tackle the challenge of introducing a project management discipline into your firm, that oppportunity presents itself now, when normal management processes have been thrown into disarray and the entire staff is adjusting to work at home.  If there was ever a time to do the things that are sure to make a significant difference to your bottom line, that opportunity presents itself now, in the face of all the financial uncertainty of the present moment. This article on Law Project Management is the second in a series focused on law practice technology.

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Smart Workforce Strategies to Weather the Pandemic Storm 

Posted on April 29, 2020 by Susan Lambreth

As law firms have implemented their work-from-home (WFH) efforts, three segments of the legal professional groups have emerged. For brevity, we’ve called them: The Taxed, The Redeployables, and The Instructables. Each segment presents a unique challenge, requiring a customized approach that keeps the workforce feeling engaged and supported.  A one-size-fits-all approach to these segments could not only damage morale, it could slow your recovery.

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Creating and Managing a Sales Pipeline Report 

Posted on April 22, 2020 by Silvia Coulter and Steven Bell

Law firms have long employed a standard practice in predicting revenue:  this year’s revenue + X%.  That’s fine, as far as it goes, however, this approach provides only a limited view of all of the opportunities and all of the revenue potential in the firm’s pipeline.  Traditional commercial businesses long have utilized a simple business tool, the weighted pipeline, to better drive and forecast revenue.  Perhaps it’s time for law firms to evaluate this tool, as well.  This article from the LawVision Group explains how to get started on the task.

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Law Firm Business Development: Building a Sales Team 

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Silvia Coulter

With some exceptions, lawyers hate or at least dislike selling. And, they are generally not as good at it as a sales professional with a successful track record. Some firms are realizing the enormous benefits of hiring salespeople and building a sales team. While there may be some initial backlash against management for heading in this direction, strong sales professionals can quickly change partner thinking.

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Legal Project Management is Change for the New Economic Reality (Part One of a Four-Part Series) 

Posted on February 12, 2020 by Carla Landry

Legal project management is the name of the game for law firms today that are looking to up their game with effective management and flawless execution.  This in the first of a four part series in which LawVision strategist Carla Landry explains how your firm can get started on the path to transformation through mastering the discipline of project managment.

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Posted on January 7, 2020 by Bill Lipner

Readers of The LAD know that “quality of service” is a hot button topic for me – because the quality-of-service (QOS or SERVQUAL ) a firm delivers is essential to its success – whether it’s a real estate practice that repeats the same process over and over, or a bespoke litigation firm that is confronted with a new set of variables with every matter.   

QOS is a subset of a “Service Delivery System” (SDS) – the term I suggest using if you’re embarking on a study of the topic.  This article discusses a useful service delivery framework which divides service into Service Culture, Employee Engagement, Service Quality, and Customer Experience.  I am focusing on Service Quality which seeks to define how quality is defined, delivered, and measured.   This is an interesting article on The Impact of Service Delivery System Effectiveness on Service Quality.  If you want the real research on the topic – start with this Wiki article on ServQual.    The wiki mentions 3 researchers in the area of Quality of Service whose teachings are worth exploring if you wish to become an expert on the topic.

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Most Popular Stories of 2019 

Posted on January 5, 2020 by

To know where we’re going first we must know where we have been. So here is our list of the ten most popular stories that appeared in Legal Administrator in 2019 -- a mix of practical and professional advice that should help you prepare for another year that promises to bring even more momentous market change.

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The Roaring 20s 

Posted on December 24, 2019 by Bill Lipner

We’re on the eve of a new decade – and I’m truly excited to welcome it to our world.  I am excited about the changes we can expect to see in the next 10 years that will touch every aspect of our lives.  The impact on business – and in particular – the business of law – will be far ranging.  Old practice areas will die while new practice areas will be birthed to grow into essential practices in the firm of the future.  

Humans will harness information as a tool like never before – the importance of which can be compared to the first stone hammer fashioned by early man.  The distance between us – client and attorney, parent and child, partners or spouse – will shrink to zero as new technologies make new kinds of connections possible – transforming “social media” into “human media”. 

I am not a professional prognosticator although I have been known to procrastinate.   However, I am an observer of trends and see several which are evolving to form a new horizon for us all.  Without further ado – these trends are discussed below.


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Hitting the Sweet Spot for Law Firm Management with Zola Suite 

Posted on December 5, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

In the first part of this series, I wrote about how the platform business model is one of the defining features of our current state of technological and economic development, evident in such business success stories as Uber and Airbnb.  A platform business is one that creates value by facilitating exchanges, of either information, good or services, among otherwise independent groups and individuals via the platform it creates.  I also explained how the platform business model is of growing importance in the legal market, not so much for connecting lawyers to clients but as a means of more effectively connecting the lawyers within a firm and thereby enabling a much more efficient and far more integrated work-flow.

In this second part of the series I’m going to take a closer look at Zola Suite, part of the new generation of cloud-based law practice platforms now available on the market.   Zola Suite formally launched in 2015, after a few years in development, but in fairly short order it has emerged as a market leading solution for mid-sized and larger law firms. This positions Zola in notable contrast to its better-known cloud-based provider, Clio, which has attracted a large number of solos and small firm clients to its platform.

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Welcome to PinHawk's Legal Administrator Microsite 

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Bill Lipner

spinning platesThe responsibilities of my first job as legal administrator was that of Human Resources.  Creating an employee handbooks, looking after insurance benefits and claims, time and attendance and similar tasks were the bread and butter of the position.  Along the way, I moved this 12-attorney firm from Lanier stand-along word processors to Kaypro Computers running WordPerfect.  All very tactical work.   My second job as an administrator was similar in nature, although I was elevated to preparing bi-monthly meeting books for the partners meetings.  And I organized the food and drink for the Friday afternoon client-social-hour.   Those were the days.  

Welcome to the Legal Administrator Micro-site.   This site is less news, and more opinion or discussion.  You are invited to send in articles or suggestions for articles.  The site is here to spur discussion and perhaps – if we’re doing our jobs – new insights. 

But I digress. 

I marvel at how the arc of time has transformed the job of legal administrator – no matter what size firm.  I am firmly convinced that the “business of law” is in a transition: we’re in the “industrialization’ of the business of law, moving from guild to business process and business practice.  And along the way these things are happening:

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The Law Practice Platform 

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

In the past, law firms were held together primarily by their partnership agreements, which laid out the rules for how firm-wide decisions got made and how the spoils of collective labor would be divvied up.  Law firms of the future – whether they are organized as partnerships, LLCs or some other alternative business structure – will most certainly be far more dependent on whatever practice platform they choose to adopt.  It will be the practice platform, much more than the partnership agreement, that provides the insight, controls and coherence that holds the firm together.  

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Parsons Behle Lab: Ringing the Bell for Market Innovation 

Posted on October 15, 2019 by Joseph Lamport

Parsons Behle Lab has embarked on an ambitious tech development effort, which represents a striking departure from the way most law firms have approached similar innovation and tech development initiatives. They are in the process of building a new type of law practice platform, which is open for other law firms and lawyers to use, and which enables participating firms to expand the services they offer to their own clients.  It's a platform that seems laden with opportunity for all those who choose to get involved. 

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Most Recent Issue

LAD Microsite

Finale' Friday and not a moment to soon.. autumn is upon us with a collage of colors. I hope your weekend is restful and relaxing. See you at the Saturday LAD.

The LAD Microsite

Have you seen the new Legal Administrator Microsite ? There are some great new articles for your edification. How is your project management effort resourced? Susan Lamberth offers some food for though on the matter - its a matter of ROI.

Saturday LAD

What are your peers reading about? Get the Saturday LAD and find out. Its the peer-powered edition of The LAD featuring the week's most-read articles.


---- Calendar of 2020 Events ----

LegalWeek 2021 - A Year-Long Extravaganza

ACC Legal Operations Exchange Conference - CANCELLED

ARMA InfoCON - October 26 - 30th, 2020 - VIRTUAL

The Legal Innovators Conference Uk and USA are moved to October 2021

Managing Partner Forum -May 5th-6th, 2021 in Atlanta GA.


---- Articles ----

BOL: Doing Work in Meetings

Meetings: they are often conjured as the place to collaborate or plan. But how often are meetings convened as "working sessions" during which you work through a set of established goals to get tasks completed.

I had an interesting experience recently, working with a team on developing - and publishing - a set of workflow metrics. Our "working session" was facilitated by a collaboration platform (in this case TEAMS) which permitted us to take my "version-zero" spreadsheet, and edit it. Each of us - editing it simultaneously - not sequentially. We could all see all the edits in real time, and could discuss changes as they happened. We probably collapsed to time-to-version-1 by 1/3 (or more - I tend to be conservative).

The notion of meetings as working sessions is discussed in the first paragraph of this Geek blog post..


In the immortal words of Walter Gretzky .. "Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been


You Can't Manage What You Don't Measure


---- Must Read ----


---- About ----

Bill Lipner, Editor, writing to you from Asheville N.C., the garden of the Carolinas.

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