Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices

Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices

Reinvent Law Channel: Check It Out

Posted in Law Firm Strategy, Law Firm Technology


I invite you to check out a series of videos about law in the 21st century that recently attracted my attention. The series is being posted online by the Reinvent Law Laboratory, an initiative of Michigan State University’s College of Law. The lab’s Reinvent Law Channel makes presentations from its real-life conferences and workshops available to viewers at no charge.

The Reinvent Law Channel’s speakers and topics are wide-ranging and diverse. Recent episodes include:

  • “Artificial Intelligence and the Law,” by Richard Susskind, author of Tomorrow’s Lawyers
  • “The T-Shaped 21st Century Lawyer,” by R. Amani Smathers, Associate Legal Solutions Architect at SeyfarthLeanConsulting LLC
  • “Do Less Law,” by Ron Friedman of Fireman & Company
  • “Online Dispute Resolution” by Colin Rule, CEO of Modria, a resolution centre in San Jose, CA

The MSU Law College website describes the Reinvent Law Lab this way:

[C]reated in spring 2012 by Professors Renee Newman Knake and Daniel Martin Katz [the Reinvent Law Lab] is devoted to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in legal services. The project has spawned new courses in e-discovery, quantitative methods for lawyers, professional ethics and technology, and entrepreneurial lawyering, as well as a London study abroad program that exposes students to deregulation and innovation in the U.K. legal market.

In total, there are now more than 90 videos on the lab’s Vimeo Channel: something for everyone.

As always, I invite your feedback on this, or any other subject – either on the comments page below or directly via email.


New General Counsel at Client Companies a Wake-Up Call: Rynowecer

Posted in Law Firm Client Service, Law Firm Marketing, Law Firm Strategy
Michael B. Rynowecer, President and Founder, The BTI Consulting Group

Michael B. Rynowecer, President and Founder, The BTI Consulting Group

Michael B. Rynowecer, President and Founder of the BTI Consulting Group, warns law firms that they should consider the appointment of new general counsel at any of their major clients to be a “wake up call.”

He supports this caution with some interesting statistics, which he posted recently on his Mad Clientist blog: within fifteen months of being hired, he says, more than a third of new GCs have started working with at least one new law firm. This statistic becomes even more significant when he adds that about 16% of all large companies have appointed new GCs within the past 15 months. Rynowecer predicts that the rate of GC turnover is likely to surge in the near future.

Rynowecer’s statistics have implications for all law firms that are working with major companies: 1) if you are not pulling your weight, or if you don’t apprise yourself of a new GC’s goals and strategies, you are likely to be gone within 1.5 years of the GC’s arrival; and 2) the arrival of a new GC at a company within your area of expertise may signal a potentially fruitful opportunity for you to pitch the benefits to them of working with your firm.

Rynowecer’s advice to law firms?

Consider any announcement of a new GC a wake up call. Working styles, goals, objectives, and law firm preferences are going to change. The biggest complaint from new GCs: Law firms continue to work in the style their predecessor liked—and the newcomer doesn’t. This does not bode well for leaving a client-focused first impression.

I encourage you to read Michael Rynowecer’s column thoroughly for suggestions on how to ensure that your position on major clients’ law firm panels remains secure.

I also invite you to share your thoughts on this or any other matter, either in the comments section below or by contacting me directly via email.


Smile! Choosing An Online Profile Photo

Posted in Law Firm Advertising, Law Firm Communications
Josh King's "before" photo

Josh King’s “before” photo

In his report from the 2015 Avvo Lawyernomics Conference in Las Vegas (recently featured on the Lawyerist), Josh King tackles an unusual topic: the online profile photo. The author points out that presenters at the Avvo conference who had submitted photos were much more likely to have clicks-through to their profiles than were those who had not. And as most of us have observed on our own, profile photos convey different messages depending on their levels of formality, professionalism and other, more subjective factors. However, in most cases, any photo is better than none.

Now, King tells us, there is an app – PhotoFeeler – that allows you to receive assessments of your profile photo from other app users, who rate it depending on its intended use (“business,” “social,” or “dating”). The business category includes scales on such characteristics as “likeable,” “competent” and “influential.” Visitors to the site rate others’ photos in exchange for receiving ratings on their own.

Whether you use an app for guidance or not, putting some thought into the suitability of online profile photos — and soliciting some unbiased feedback – is a great idea for everyone.

I invite you to let me know your thoughts on this or any other matter in the comments section below, or directly via email.

Why It May Be Better to Get Rid of Extra Space Than to Fill It

Posted in Law Firm Design, Law Firm Economics, Law Firm Human Resources, Law Firm Management
Ed Wesemann, author and law firm consultant with the Edge Group.

Ed Wesemann, author and law firm consultant with the Edge Group

Like the thousands of readers around the world who subscribe to his monthly newsletter Legal Trends, I am always impressed with the wisdom of Ed Wesemann, one of my partners at Edge International and co-owner of Legal Resource Group LLC. “Better Than Weeds,” his recent blog post on the subject of unused office space in law firms, is an excellent example of his direct and creative approach to problem-solving.

“‘Better than weeds’,” Wesemann says, “is what real estate developers call sub-optimum land uses to offset the tax and insurance costs of holding onto vacant property for future development.” Note the word “sub-optimum”: while there are several reasons why firms end up with more office space than they need, Wesemann says that in most cases it is a false economy to try to fill that space by bringing on new lawyers. In addition to explaining why firms usually lose even more money when they bring on laterals than they would if they had simply left the space unused, he offers some concrete suggestions on what firms can do with the space instead.

I found the article interesting and useful, and I am sure you will as well. Let me know your thoughts, either in the comments section below, or directly via email.

$1600 an Hour for the Right Brand: A New All-Time High

Posted in Law Firm Client Service, Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Management, Law Firm Public Relations
Top hourly rates are up for law firms of every size, says Michael B. Rynowecer

Top hourly rates are up for law firms of every size, says Michael B. Rynowecer at BTI Consulting Group

When Michael B. Rynowecer, president of BTI Consulting Group, talks about the importance of your brand, he doesn’t mean your logo. He’s talking about the kind of profile that commands the new four-figure hourly rate that he says is “now clearly embedded in the legal landscape.” He also warns that unless law firms make their value clear to existing clients, they risk losing them to larger, better known – and more expensive – firms when high-stakes legal transactions come along.

Rynowecer shows that brand recognition is a deciding factor when clients choose a firm to handle their most major, complex transactions. This puts the largest firms in the lead when it comes to competing for this kind of legal work. The good news, Rynowecer says, is that if your clients know that your firm has a deep and long-standing knowledge of their business, they are less likely to jump ship: and this puts you in the market for their premium work – and the premium fees such work commands.

You can read more about Rynowecer’s survey of top hourly rates, and his excellent suggestions for how to address them, here. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on this matter – or any other – either in the comments section below, or directly via email.


July, 2015 Edition of Edge International Communiqué Now Available

Posted in Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Management

EICJuly15It is my pleasure to draw the attention of readers of this blog to the most recent issue of Edge International Communique (EIC).

In addition to an item I contributed on how to move forward to achieve your firm’s strategic plan, the issue features articles by two of my esteemed colleagues at Edge International: Pamela Woldow discusses how to avoid communications breakdowns in multi-party projects, and Bithika Anand reports on some recent effects of competition on law firms in India.

Each month EIC publishes items of interest to lawyers around the world on various aspects of law-firm strategy, marketing, technology, management, economics, human relations and a host of other topics. In addition to the most recent edition, the Edge International site includes a sign-up page for those who are interested in subscribing to EIC, as well as a list of archived articles.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback on both Edge International Communique and Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices, either in the comments section below, or directly via email.



The Digital Future: Will Your Firm Survive?

Posted in Knowledge Management, Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Leadership, Law Firm Strategy, Law Firm Technology

The strategy leader of McKinsey Digital discusses the strategic implications of digital disruptions.

I encourage readers of this blog to devote a few minutes of serious consideration to a new video from McKinsey & Company. In it, McKinsey Digital’s strategy leader Jay Scanlan reminds us of the scope and speed of change that digitization is having on the the way in which all business is conducted, and points out the huge risks that business leaders invoke when they fail to adapt fully and immediately to the digital demands of their clients and competitors.

Scanlan summarizes the incalculable advantages of digitization to corporate entities, including the ways in which we assess our clients’ needs and our service-delivery options. But he also warns that failing to take immediate advantage of the range of digital opportunities may lead to the decline and even decimation of otherwise viable firms.

Does your business strategy give digitization the priority it needs to ensure your firm’s future existence? Watch the video or read the transcript, and let me know your thoughts. You are welcome to contact me through the comments section below, or directly via email. I look forward to hearing from you.


How Do Clients Choose a Lawyer? The Hidden Power of Asking for Referrals

Posted in Law Firm Advertising, Law Firm Communications, Law Firm Marketing, Law Firm Public Relations

AFAP May 2015,jpgI recently came across an article about consumer purchasing that made me reflect on my own purchasing decisions… and then led me to wonder whether those lessons could be applied to how law firms go about attracting and retaining clients.

“The secret science of shopping: Why we buy what we do” by Belle Beth Cooper, which was originally published on the Crew blog, then republished on TNW (The Next Web) News, reports that we are more likely to make a purchase when we are with friends than when we are with relatives – and that when we see others making purchases, we are more likely to make a purchase than when we are alone.

What can this tell us about how prospective clients may go about choosing a specific lawyer – or deciding whether or not to use a lawyer in the first place for a particular matter? If we think about the power of a referral by one of our existing clients to their friends and colleagues (perhaps contrasting it with their likelihood to use our services if a relative suggests our firm!), we may spend a bit more time encouraging clients to feel free to mention our names to others who may be able to use our services. If we know that someone who has been referred to us is likely to value our services more highly than one who found us in the on-line equivalent of a phone book, that may alter how we approach our dealings with clients as well.

Lawyers are not in the business of selling themselves in the way that car dealerships or McDonald’s are, but with a little imagination the lessons the corporate world has learned about attracting and retaining customers can be applied by those in any field who want to expand their customer or client bases.

Let me know your thoughts about this or any other matter, either in the comments section below or directly via email.