Posted on April 6, 2021 by Susan Lambreth
To implement your practice group vision, you need a good plan. In Part 1 of this three-part series, we proposed an approach to help practice groups implement sound practice plans. The components included management feedback, partner participation, and a rigorous market assessment. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here. In Part 2, we’ll cover two more requirements for the successful implementation of a practice plan. They include:
It’s not just a matter of semantics. The marketing plan is an essential document that outlines implementable strategies, tactics, and activities that help the group achieve attract and retain the clients it desires. But, a truly effective business plan is where the rubber meets the road – what services does the group offer and how, what mix of talent does it need, how does it deliver its service – so that it can actually attract the clients identified in marketing objectives. Marketing is critically important, but it is one element of a strategic business plan. The business plan goes further, proposing the strategies that you will deploy to achieve your overall business goals and objectives – talent, service mix, business model/service delivery approaches, use of technology and so much more.
Essentially, your business plan should address:
The practice group business plan clearly specifies your group’s goals, and provides the information needed to inform competitive strategies. It may include the identification of trends, competition, and resources, as well as the breadth and depth of your specialized expertise, service delivery capabilities (including technology and process), talent and acquisition strategies, innovation and risk management.
Good performance starts with clear goals. We like SMART goals. They aren’t new. They’ve been around since the early 1980s. We continue to use the framework because it works. As a refresher, here’s what the acronym means:
Although the beauty of the framework is in its simplicity, it can be difficult to ensure that your goals actually are SMART. That’s because there’s more to execution than simply putting some words on paper. The context is as important as the content. The most effective practice group goals are developed within the following construct:
Moreover, practice groups can struggle to create goals, only to settle on a list of aspirations and action steps. These non-goal goals (and examples excerpted from actual law firm plans) include:
About the Author:
Susan Raridon Lambreth has 19 years of experience as a consultant to the legal profession. She consults on leadership, practice management and strategic issues affecting the future of law firms and the legal profession. She works with managing partners, practice group leaders and executive committees. Ms. Lambreth has helped many of the largest firms in the U.S. implement strong practice group management (including over 30% of the AmLaw 100) and train their Practice Group Leaders. She has trained over 1,600 lawyers, who hold firm or practice management roles, how to lead and manage more effectively.