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Category Archives: Business Development

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What the White Coats May Be Missing

Posted in Books, Business Development, Client Service, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Professional Development, Teamwork
Speaking of doctors in white coats, one has identified an attribute that may not rub off onto you when you don your own white coat.  According to Peter Ubel, a physician and behavioral scientist at Duke University, Starbucks employees have better training and are more effective in acting emotionally intelligent than doctors are. In his book Critical… Continue Reading

Notes from the Futures Conference: Part 3

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Communication, Culture, Innovation, Law Departments, Leadership, Management, Professional Development, Risk Management, Teamwork
Here is the third and final installment on some of the highlights from this year’s Futures Conference of the College of Law Practice Management held at Georgetown Law School at the end of last month: What General Counsel Want From Their Outside Law Firms The panel’s top considerations reflected the same ones outlined in the ACC’s GC Value Insights, prepared in cooperation with a number of… Continue Reading

Notes from the 2012 Futures Conference of the College of Law Practice Management: Part 1

Posted in Books, Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Diversity, Leadership, Management, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management
The following are some of the highlights from this year’s Futures Conference of the College of Law Practice Management held at Georgetown Law School last week: New Model Law Firms New entrants into law firm alternative business models are Clearspire, which consists of 2 joined companies –one providing legal services to clients and the other providing… Continue Reading

Nice Guys Finish Last? A Meditation on a Questionable Virtue

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
Most of us have very high standards for the work we deliver our clients.  We demand from ourselves and those on our team the best possible product. "Performance at whatever price" might be our mantra, even if it requires nagging and criticizing or even bullying.  Yet confrontational environments feel uncomfortable to most people and over the long run are in fact not conducive… Continue Reading

The Flat Demand Crisis

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management
Citi’s Midyear Report on the state of the legal industry for the first 6 months of this year is a cautionary read, harrowingly notable for its brevity. "[W]e’re now concerned that this year the legal industry may be unable to match 2011’s low single-digit profit growth. There are three reasons for our concern: demand growth slowed during… Continue Reading

Gender and Emotional Intelligence: Women Will Save the World?

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Management
The Dalai Lama proclaimed at the Vancouver Peace Summit a few years back that "the Western woman will save the world."  Of course, he might have been a little heady over the company he was keeping there– Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams and Betty Williams, Mary Robinson, the beloved Irish president and tireless human rights… Continue Reading

The Politics of Place: Where’s Your Office?

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Law Departments, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Profitability, Retention, Risk Management, Succession, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
While it’s unlikely that anyone would attribute all of Research in Motion’s troubles to corporate geography, it’s worth noting that RIM’s two chief executives, both now gone, were located over the last few critical years in offices about a 10-minute drive apart. And, according to former RIM executives, meetings with both of them present were rare. In the… Continue Reading

Clayton Christensen and the Innovator’s Dilemma for Lawyers

Posted in Books, Business Development, Leadership, Management, Profitability, Risk Management
We’ve been quoting Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School, for many years.  Christensen once called large American law firms "the most profitable businesses in the world," while at the same time indicting them: "Speedier information-gathering capabilities allow large law firms to increase utilization of less experienced lawyers without passing cost savings on to their customers." … Continue Reading

Current Financial

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management
Here is the latest on the financial state of the US legal industry. Citibank reported last month that during the first quarter of 2012, demand for legal services grew a paltry 1.5%, although at least reversing the decline in the 2011 fourth quarter. But expense growth of 5.9% outpaced the meager revenue growth (1.2%) even more than in 2011–a rise… Continue Reading

Muir to Speak on Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Wellness, Work Satisfaction
Ronda Muir of Law People Management LLC, Randall Kiser of DecisionSet, and Daniel S. Bowling III of Duke Law School will be co-presenting a Center for Competitive Management audio presentation on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 2pm EDT entitled "Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence." The presentation will cover the relatively new science of emotional intelligence, its relationship to… Continue Reading

Muir to Present Webinar on Emotional Intelligence and Lawyering

Posted in Announcements, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
Ronda Muir of Law People Management LLC, Randall Kiser of DecisionSet, and Daniel S. Bowling III of Duke Law School will be co-presenting a Center for Competitive Management audio presentation on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 2pm EDT entitled "Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence." The presentation will cover the relatively new science of emotional intelligence, its relationship to… Continue Reading

The Challenges of Lateral Hiring

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Compensation, Conflict, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
The American Lawyer has just issued its Report on Laterals 2012, in which it found that in the 12 months ending September 30, 2011, 2,454 partners left or joined Am Law 200 firms, for a 22% increase over 2010, when there was the lowest number of moves since 2000. "This year’s figure was consistent with the annual average of 2,458 partner moves… Continue Reading

The Commencement of the UK Tsunami

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Management, Profitability, Risk Management
Speaking of the flood of mergers consolidating the legal marketplace, another new wave is also just now hitting that promises to further dilute the piece of the action that law firms have traditionally enjoyed.  At the beginning of this month, the UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority officially opened its doors to at least a dozen applicants, including law… Continue Reading

Consolidation and Competition in 2012

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management
The reports are in for 2011 on mergers and acquisitions in the law firm biz– the pace is picking up— and the prospects for 2012 look to be the same.   US Mergers Hildebrandt reports that 45 mergers that involved U.S. firms were completed last year, a 67% increase over 2010, with the Midwest being a locus of activity,  With 11 U.S. mergers already announced by… Continue Reading

Emotional Intelligence At Work–The Crux of Hiring and Promotion

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Professional Development, Recruitment, Risk Management
In a new CareerBuilder survey of more than 2600 hiring managers and human resource professionals nationwide, 71% said they value emotional intelligence in an employee more than IQ and 34% said they are placing even greater emphasis on emotional intelligence when hiring and promoting employees post-recession.  And 59% said they would not hire someone who has a high IQ… Continue Reading

Feeling Less and Knowing Less

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Retention, Risk Management
One of the more interesting findings in emotional intelligence research is that people who read emotional cues in others are generally good at reading their own emotional states and vice-verse—those who read themselves well are likely to read others well also. Conversely, an inability to read either oneself or others signals the corresponding inability. These findings are… Continue Reading

Making a Profit

Posted in Business Development, Compensation, Culture, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management
In connection with the American Lawyer’s announcement of the 2010 Am Law 100, Amy Kolz, a reporter there, wrote an article about profit margins of those firms over the last five years, to which I contributed. To summarize the article’s main points: Not only for the past 3 recession years but also for the final two years of… Continue Reading

Beauty Is As Beauty Does? Cashing In On Beauty

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Diversity, Profitability, Recruitment, Work Satisfaction
Perhaps your mother’s adage about what makes for beautiful is not entirely correct.  It was recently announced that economists at the University of Texas-Austin analyzed data from five large surveys of more than 25,000 people conducted between 1971 and 2009 in the US, Canada, Germany and Britain and came up with what may or may not… Continue Reading

The Touchy, Feely Side of Successful Client Service

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Communication, Culture, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Law Departments, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Risk Management, Teamwork
The words being thrown around were trust, intimacy, empathy, vulnerability, honesty, transparency, communication, emotional intelligence, teamwork, forgiveness, feedback, collaboration, connectedness, courage, relationship-building.  It would be understandable if you thought that you had walked into a marital counseling conference or some new-age event.   In fact, the setting was Georgetown University Law Center’s March 9th conference entitled "Welcome to the… Continue Reading

Metrics for Comparing Firm Rates

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Law Departments, Management, Profitability, Risk Management
In addition to establishing metrics for demonstrating, for instance, who in the firm does what and how for project management or other purposes, there are metrics out there that track what individual firms charge for various units of work, so that inside counsel can compare value among firms in a more finely calibrated way.   A survey by CT TyMetrix Inc.… Continue Reading

Muir to Speak at Women Lawyers Alliance Annual Meeting

Posted in Announcements, Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Culture, Diversity, Law Departments, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Succession
Muir will speak on Law Practice in the 21st Century:  What It Means for You at the Women Lawyers Alliance annual meeting in Chicago on Friday, May 20.  Muir will review the massive changes that law practice is undergoing globally in this new century and what it means to individual lawyers and their law departments and firms in… Continue Reading

Large Firm Spread

Posted in Business Development, Compensation, Conflict, Culture, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management
The article “Pay Gap Widens at Big Law Firms as Partners Chase Star Attorneys,” published in The Wall Street Journal last week, reported on the increasing spread in partner compensation at large law firms, setting many in the industry talking.  In fact, the article understates the extent of the spread, the factors driving it and the… Continue Reading

The Value Advisory

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Culture, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Succession, Teamwork
The Value Advisory issued a press release today announcing the formation of a veteran group of advisors to provide law firms with strategies and resources that align firm offerings and operations with their clients’ objectives.  At a time of increasing client demands for value at a reduced cost, The Value Advisory works with firms to assess their clients’… Continue Reading

Where Will Profits Come From in 2011?

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Retention, Risk Management
After literally years of bad news, recent reports have sparked a flurry of hope for an uptick in demand for legal services in 2011.  Let’s look at the data for some indication of whether that optimism is justified.  According to the Citi Private Bank report issued for the first 3 quarters of 2010, while demand in 2009… Continue Reading