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The transition from law school to the professional world can be jarring for many new attorneys. While legal education equips one with the knowledge of the law, the practical nuances of managing one’s work in a firm setting often require a different set of skills. One such skill is the art of delegation and appropriately using support staff. Harnessing this ability is essential for efficiency, client satisfaction, and overall firm productivity.

Understand the Role of Support Staff

Before one can delegate effectively, it’s crucial to understand the roles of various support staff:

  • Paralegals: They are equipped to assist with legal research, drafting documents, and preparing materials for trial or other legal proceedings.
  • Legal Assistants: Their tasks often involve administrative duties like scheduling, client communications, and file management.
  • File Clerks: They manage and organize client files, ensuring that important documents are easily accessible.
  • Receptionists: The front face of your firm, handling initial client interactions and directing calls.Recognize the Value of Delegation


Recognize the Value of Delegation

Delegating is not a sign of inability or incompetence. On the contrary, effective delegation displays leadership and recognition of one’s strengths and weaknesses. Delegating allows attorneys to:

  • Prioritize critical tasks that require their expertise.
  • Utilize the specialized skills of support staff.
  • Enhance productivity by distributing tasks appropriately.


Clearly Communicate Tasks

Miscommunication can lead to errors, missed deadlines, or unsatisfied clients. When delegating:

  • Be specific about what needs to be done.
  • Set clear deadlines.
  • Provide all necessary resources or information.
  • Encourage questions to ensure clarity.


Train and Trust

While some tasks require little explanation, others may need training. Invest time in:

  • Training your support staff on specific tasks or procedures.
  • Providing constructive feedback.
  • Building trust and rapport. Trust your team to handle their responsibilities, but also be available for guidance.
  • Schedule quick daily meetings. This gives your staff the opportunity to ask questions without disrupting your work with multiple interruptions throughout the day.


Respect Their Time and Expertise

Support staff, just like attorneys, have their own set of tasks and deadlines. Before delegating:

  • Check in with their current workload.
  • Understand their areas of expertise and use them to the firm’s advantage.
  • Respect their boundaries and off-work hours.


Foster an Open Feedback Environment

Encourage an environment where support staff feels comfortable providing feedback. They are often the ones who recognize procedural inefficiencies or have insights into improving workflows.


Avoid Micromanaging

Once you’ve delegated a task, avoid the temptation to oversee every little detail. Micromanaging can:

  • Reduce morale and the confidence of support staff.
  • Take away time you could be using to focus on other tasks.
  • Impede the professional growth of your team.


Recognize and Appreciate

Everyone thrives on appreciation. Regularly recognizing the hard work and contributions of your support staff can:

  • Boost morale.
  • Encourage loyalty and dedication.
  • Foster a positive and collaborative work environment.



The ability to effectively delegate and use support staff appropriately is an essential skill for new attorneys. It’s not only about reducing one’s own workload but about ensuring that every task is undertaken by the person most suited for it. With mutual respect, clear communication, and trust, attorneys and their support staff can ensure a harmonious and efficient work environment, delivering the best results for their clients.

In an increasingly complex and competitive legal marketplace, law firms are recognizing the necessity for more business-oriented strategies. Gone are the days when reputations alone could guarantee a steady stream of clients. In today’s environment, strategic planning – the art and science of bridging a firm’s current operations with its future direction – has become critical. Here, a law firm management consultant emerges as a lighthouse guiding firms through uncharted territories. These professionals play an integral role in shaping a law firm’s strategic trajectory, ensuring not just survival, but prosperity. The right consultant will be able to provide the following:

Understanding the Legal Landscape

A consultant specializing in law firm management comes equipped with a deep understanding of the legal industry’s nuances. They monitor trends, regulatory changes, emerging technologies, and competitive forces. By conducting comprehensive market analyses, consultants can identify both opportunities for growth and potential threats, serving as the foundation for informed strategic decision-making.

Objective Assessment of Current Practices

Often, law firms operate with an internal perspective, unaware of inefficiencies or outmoded practices eroding their competitiveness. The right consultant can provide an objective, third-party evaluation of current operations, from workflow efficiency, client relationship management, to profit margins. By highlighting areas needing improvement, they pave the way for transformative solutions.

Facilitating a Culture of Strategic Thinking

One key obstacle in strategic planning is the resistance to change, common within traditionally hierarchical legal settings. Good consultants are adept at fostering a culture that values strategic thinking, facilitating workshops, and discussions that engage staff at all levels. They nurture an environment where innovative ideas are valued, contributing to the firm’s strategic vision.

Formulating a Strategic Plan

Armed with insights and comprehensive analysis, consultants guide the firm through the creation of a strategic plan. This roadmap is not just a theoretical document but a practical guide that includes specific goals, responsibility assignments, timelines, and measurable outcomes. It covers various facets from business development, operational efficiency, financial management, to technology adoption, ensuring a holistic strategy. By engaging a good strategic planning consultant, you will have a partner in ensuring that plans are not just formulated but successfully implemented.

Implementing Technology Solutions

In an era where legal tech is revolutionizing practice, a consultant’s role in guiding firms through digital transformation is crucial. They assist in identifying technology solutions aligned with the firm’s goals, facilitating their integration into everyday practice.

Performance Monitoring and Feedback

A strategic plan is a living entity, requiring regular nurturing through review and adjustment. Consultants assist in establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and implement monitoring mechanisms to track progress. Through continuous feedback, they help firms adapt to changing circumstances, ensuring the strategy remains relevant and effective.

Client Development and Retention

Consultants understand that at the heart of every law firm are its clients. They aid in developing strategies that enhance client satisfaction and loyalty. By refining client intake processes, communication, and value delivery, consultants help firms build a robust client base, crucial for long-term success.

Training and Development

Implementing new strategies often requires skills enhancement. Consultants often oversee training programs, ensuring the firm’s personnel are equipped to execute the strategy effectively. They help bridge any knowledge gaps, particularly in adopting new technologies or practices.

Preparing for the Future

Finally, consultants assist law firms in future-proofing their operations. Through succession planning, talent acquisition strategies, and predictive analyses of legal market trends, they ensure that the firm is prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.

By leveraging a management consultant’s expertise, law firms can embark on a strategic journey characterized by informed decision-making, innovative practices, and a proactive approach to market dynamics. In an industry where standing still is equivalent to moving backward, engaging with the right consultant provides the law firm with catalysts needed for forward motion, steering law firms toward a successful, sustainable future.

In the constantly evolving landscape of legal practice, the role of a Chief Operating Officer (COO) in law firms has shifted from an operational sideline to a strategic centerpiece. Law firms, traditionally centered around legal expertise, often overlook the necessity of robust, professional business management. However, as the legal market becomes increasingly competitive and complex, the need for a COO’s business acumen has never been more pronounced.

Below, we delve into the pivotal benefits of having a COO in a law firm and how this role can be a game-changer in navigating the firm’s growth, efficiency, and overall success.

  1. Strategic Business Planning: Beyond Legal Expertise

Legal prowess alone no longer sets a law firm apart in the crowded marketplace. A COO brings a critical perspective to strategic planning, ensuring that the firm’s business strategy aligns with its legal goals. They guide the firm in making key business decisions, planning long-term growth, identifying areas for investment, and recognizing potential market threats or opportunities, thus ensuring the firm isn’t just legally proficient but also competitively viable.

  1. Enhancing Operational Efficiency

Efficiency isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a competitive advantage. A COO examines the firm’s overall operations, identifying bottlenecks that might not be evident to legally-trained eyes. They streamline processes, integrate advanced technology, and can lead digital transformation efforts, ensuring the firm is agile and adaptable. This operational tightening directly contributes to client satisfaction, as services become swifter, more reliable, and cost-effective.

  1. Financial Oversight and Profitability Management

The COO often oversees the firm’s financial health, providing expert management that goes beyond basic accounting. This role involves comprehensive budgeting, financial planning, cash flow management, and profitability analysis. By understanding and monitoring the economic pulse of the firm, the COO supports sustainability and guides strategic decision-making, ensuring resources are effectively allocated for long-term profitability and stability.

  1. Navigating Change and Innovation

Whether adapting to legal industry shifts or global market changes, law firms must be nimble and innovative. A COO helps law firms navigate through periods of transformation and uncertainty. They can drive innovation, often bringing fresh, external perspectives to traditional practices, and ensuring the firm remains relevant and ahead of the curve. This proactive stance is crucial for embracing change and fostering a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.

  1. Enhancing Client Relations and Business Development

A law firm thrives on its client relationships. COOs play a vital role in shaping client strategy, improving client retention, and identifying new business opportunities. They ensure that the firm meets its clients’ evolving needs, improving client service models, and using data-driven insights to enhance relationships. Additionally, their outsider perspective plays a crucial role in business development, often seeing untapped markets or potential clients that those deeply entrenched in legal intricacies might miss.

  1. Fostering Collaboration

A law firm’s success relies on seamless collaboration between its various departments. Even in a small firm, the COO acts as a linchpin, ensuring departmental alignment with the firm’s broader business objectives. They facilitate communication and collaboration among departments, breaking down silos, and creating a more unified, cohesive organizational culture. This holistic approach ensures that every department’s efforts contribute to the firm’s collective success.

  1. Risk Management

In an era of increased regulatory scrutiny and rapid change, risk management is crucial. COOs bring a business-focused approach to risk, analyzing operational, financial, and strategic risks. Their oversight helps the firm mitigate these challenges, plan for contingencies, and build a solid foundation for the firm’s security and operational integrity.


The role of a Chief Operating Officer in a law firm transcends operational responsibilities, impacting strategic direction, firm culture, client relationships, and long-term sustainability. Law firms looking to thrive in today’s complex, competitive landscape will find the expertise and vision of a COO not just beneficial but essential. By investing in this leadership role, law firms are poised to navigate change effectively, leverage opportunities, and secure a position at the forefront of the legal industry’s future.

Ready for an encouraging update in this narrative? The modern marketplace is witnessing a transformative phase with the advent of fractional executive services, making C-suite expertise accessible to organizations across the board. This development means that operational oversight, once a luxury for large-scale legal enterprises, is now within reach for law firms of every size and capacity.

The implications of this trend are profound and multifaceted. Firstly, it democratizes access to strategic brilliance and experience. Smaller firms can harness the leadership and vision of a COO without the financial strain of a full-time executive position. This access helps level the playing field, offering smaller or mid-sized firms the fighting chance they need to compete effectively in a sector historically dominated by legal juggernauts.

Moreover, the availability of fractional C-suite services alleviates the overwhelming burden often shouldered by internal managers. Typically, these individuals juggle day-to-day operational responsibilities alongside more complex, strategic duties—a balancing act that dilutes focus and hampers innovation. By delegating executive and strategic roles to fractional COOs, internal managers can find respite from the relentless multitasking. This focused approach enables them to channel their energies more productively, ensuring attention to detail where it matters most and fostering an environment where strategic projects and process improvements receive the dedicated efforts they deserve.

In addition to providing relief for overstretched personnel, bringing a fractional COO on board affords an outside perspective that can be invaluable. These seasoned professionals often bring diverse experiences and insights from various sectors beyond the legal realm, contributing to a rich exchange of ideas and strategies. This diversity can be particularly beneficial in steering law firms away from insular thinking and towards a more holistic, innovative approach to their business operations.

In the grand scheme of things, the fractional support model within the C-suite realm is a game-changer. It serves as a catalyst for growth, innovation, and efficiency, regardless of a firm’s size, budget, or stage of development. This availability of expertise at a fractional level not only makes high-level operational oversight more affordable but also stimulates a culture of excellence, strategic insight, and agility that can drive law firms to new heights in today’s competitive legal marketplace.

Suzette Welling, CLM, is the President and Founder of Law Practice Edge, LLC. You can reach her at

The legal profession is an increasingly demanding field, requiring long hours, meticulous attention to detail, and high levels of expertise. For female lawyers, the challenge often extends beyond the courtroom or the office, as they may also juggle roles as mothers, partners, caregivers, and more. Although the path is undoubtedly challenging, many women successfully navigate these complexities every day. Here are some strategies for balancing multiple roles as a female lawyer:

Time Management

Prioritize Tasks:

Not all tasks are equally important. Learn to differentiate between what needs immediate attention and what can wait. Think 80/20 Rule.

Plan Ahead:

Utilize planners, apps, or good old-fashioned notebooks to plan your day, week, or even month in advance. OneNote is a great app for prioritizing your tasks – this computer-based notebook will be available to you from any computer or smart device, so you can access your notes no matter where you are.

Time Block:

Allocate specific time blocks for different roles and responsibilities. During the work day, schedule time for focusing on large tasks that require long periods of focus, and ask your assistant to take messages for you. Every interruption results in lost productivity beyond the length of the interruption. When it comes to your personal life, reserve evenings for family and weekends for catching up on work or self-care.

Professional Boundaries

Set Clear Boundaries:

Make it known what your working hours are and try to stick to them as much as possible. We all have clients that sometimes need us outside of regular hours, and that’s okay, as long as it isn’t routine.

Learn to Say No:

While ambition is crucial for career growth, it can be difficult to say now; however, overcommitting will only lead to burnout. Politely decline additional responsibilities if they threaten to tip your work-life balance. Offer an alternative solution if you can, and you will still be seen as a team player.

Delegation and Teamwork

Utilize Support:

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Delegate tasks at work to junior staff or interns. Teach your assistant and your paralegals how you like to work, and you’ll be amazed at all they can do to help relieve your workload. At home, consider dividing chores among family members.


Some tasks can be outsourced to create more time for yourself. Hiring a babysitter, utilizing cleaning and laundry services, or even engaging a virtual assistant for administrative tasks can free up valuable time.

Self-Care and Personal Time

Health is Wealth:

Exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. A healthy body is crucial for maintaining a work-life balance.

Personal Time:

Allocate time for yourself. Whether it’s a simple manicure, a yoga class, or an hour with a good book, “me time” is essential for mental well-being. The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll be able to take care of everyone else in your life.

Networking and Mentorship

Seek Support:

There are numerous organizations for women in law. Take advantage of these platforms for advice, mentorship, and camaraderie. There’s nothing like being able to talk to someone who truly understands what you’re going through.

Mentor and Be Mentored:

The benefits of having a mentor are invaluable. Conversely, serving as a mentor can be equally rewarding and offers a sense of achievement.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Remote Working:

If your firm allows it, consider working remotely part of the time to save commute time and have a flexible schedule.

Be Adaptive:

Life is unpredictable. Plans may go awry, but the key is to adapt and pivot accordingly.

Balancing multiple roles is no small feat, but with deliberate planning, the right support system, and a commitment to personal well-being, it is entirely achievable. Female lawyers, like all professionals striving for balance, may need to make some sacrifices along the way. However, with persistence and resilience, it’s possible to excel both in one’s career and one’s personal life.

As law firms grapple with the complexities of a globalized economy and an ever-changing regulatory landscape, the demand for strategic financial leadership has never been higher. Traditional full-time CFO roles are evolving, and in their place, fractional CFO services are rising to prominence. Today’s modern law firms are leveraging these services to achieve agility, efficiency, and strategic advantage.

The Landscape of Fractional CFO Services

From specialized financial firms to independent consultants, the market for fractional CFO services is broad and diverse. The trend is gaining momentum as law firms recognize the value and flexibility it brings.

Fractional CFO services equip law firms with the seasoned financial leadership that may otherwise be beyond their reach, offering it on a part-time or temporary basis rather than a full-time commitment. Many firms find themselves in a position where their size or budget does not warrant the full-time salary of a veteran financial manager. Consequently, this often leads to an inexperienced staff member being saddled with critical financial responsibilities, despite lacking the essential training and expertise vital to the firm’s success. The fractional CFO model provides a strategic solution to this challenge. By engaging an experienced financial leader on a fractional basis, the firm gains access to the CFO’s extensive knowledge and skills without incurring the substantial costs associated with a full-time salary and benefits package. This approach unites the profound financial insights of a seasoned executive with the flexibility to respond to evolving business needs, delivering a balanced and highly effective financial management strategy.

Drivers of Fractional CFO Adoption

In an increasingly complex legal landscape, law firms require strategic financial planning and oversight to succeed. The fractional CFO fills a crucial role, aligning financial strategies with legal objectives, overseeing budgeting and forecasting, and providing insightful analysis. Whether navigating a merger, restructuring, or simply looking to optimize financial performance, the fractional CFO can offer tailored support.

Fractional CFOs often bring industry-specific knowledge that can guide law firms through unique challenges and opportunities, ensuring that financial strategies align with legal objectives. For growing or transitional firms, a fractional CFO provides adaptability, allowing the firm to scale financial leadership as needed.

What Services & Benefits Can A Firm Expect?

The scope of services offered by a fractional CFO may vary based on a law firm’s specific needs. Common services include:

• Strategic Financial Planning: Working closely with firm leadership to define and implement long-term financial goals.
• Cash Flow Management: Monitoring and optimizing cash flow to support firm operations and growth.
• Budgeting and Forecasting: Developing realistic and flexible budgets and forecasts to guide decision-making.
• Financial Reporting and Analysis: Providing clear, actionable insights through regular financial reports and analysis.

In addition, the use of fractional CFO services provides several unique advantages to law firms, including:


• Adaptation to Change: Fractional CFOs allow law firms to quickly adapt to changing financial landscapes, whether those are market shifts, regulatory updates, or internal transitions.

• Tailored Expertise: Engaging a fractional CFO allows for a customized fit to the firm’s unique needs and strategic direction at any given time.

• Flexibility: With the ability to scale their engagement up or down, fractional CFOs provide law firms the agility to respond to new opportunities or challenges without the constraints of a full-time position.


• Cost Savings: By using a fractional CFO, law firms can access high-level financial expertise without the full-time salary burden, making it a cost-effective solution.

• Optimized Financial Operations: Fractional CFOs often conduct in-depth financial analysis, streamlining processes and identifying areas where efficiency can be improved. This can lead to more robust financial management without unnecessary complexity or overhead.

• Technology Integration: Many fractional CFOs are adept at leveraging the latest financial technologies and tools, which can lead to significant efficiencies in financial reporting, budgeting, and other essential functions.

Strategic Advantage:

• Strategic Alignment: Fractional CFOs work closely with law firm leadership to ensure that financial strategies align with the firm’s broader business goals, creating a cohesive approach that supports long-term success.

• Specialized Industry Knowledge: Many fractional CFOs offer industry-specific expertise, understanding the unique financial challenges and opportunities within the legal field.

Challenges & Considerations in Adopting Fractional CFO Services

Selecting the right fractional CFO requires careful consideration of the firm’s goals, the specific expertise needed, and the desired level of engagement. Clear communication, alignment with firm values, and a well-defined scope of work are essential to a successful partnership.

Ensuring seamless collaboration between a fractional CFO and the firm’s existing financial team requires clear communication and defined roles. As with any successful relationship, open and honest communication is key.

Handling sensitive financial information necessitates robust security protocols. Trust and transparency must be established from the outset.

What Does This Mean For Your Firm?

In an ever-evolving legal landscape marked by complexity, competition, and regulatory intricacy, law firms must be nimble and strategic in their approach to financial management. The traditional full-time CFO model may no longer offer the flexibility and specialized expertise required to navigate these challenges. Enter the fractional CFO, a transformative solution that has redefined financial leadership within the legal sector.

Partnering with a fractional CFO offers not just a financial advantage but a strategic one. From aligning financial goals with the broader vision of the firm to optimizing cash flow, mitigating risks, and leveraging opportunities for growth, the fractional CFO becomes a vital partner in shaping the firm’s future.

The agility that comes with this model allows law firms to respond to changes in the market or internal transitions with finesse and foresight. It provides the freedom to scale financial expertise up or down as circumstances dictate, ensuring that the right level of guidance is available exactly when and where it’s needed.

Perhaps most compellingly, the fractional CFO brings a level of specialization and industry insight that can be a game-changer for law firms. They offer not just technical skills but strategic thinking, aligning financial planning with the unique dynamics of the legal industry. This depth of understanding can translate into innovative strategies, competitive advantages, and a more robust bottom line.

In summary, the utilization of fractional CFO services represents a modern, flexible, and intelligent approach to financial management in law firms. It’s a model that recognizes the unique demands of today’s legal practice and responds with a solution that is both practical and visionary. In leveraging the expertise of a fractional CFO, law firms are not merely adapting to change; they are positioning themselves at the forefront of a new era of legal financial leadership, poised for success in a complex world. The fractional CFO is not just a service; it’s a strategic partnership, offering law firms the keys to unlock their full financial potential.


When talking with my peers about the productivity tools we all love, one of my top picks is always OneNote. I am always surprised how many people are unfamiliar with this great tool that most everyone has already sitting in their computer (if you have Microsoft Office Suite, you have OneNote). I am always asked for tips on using it, and I thought the easiest way to share some of the great aspects of this great tool was show you.

So without further ado … click here to see a short demo of this amazing tool!

As a law firm partner, your compensation is likely one of the most important factors in your professional life. It determines your financial stability, allows you to provide for your family, and can even impact your ability to advance within the firm. However, understanding law firm partner compensation can be complex and confusing, as it is often based on a variety of factors and may vary significantly from one firm to another.

Law firms often have complex systems in place to determine how partners are compensated for their work. These compensation plans can vary widely from firm to firm and can be based on a variety of factors, such as the partner’s client origination, the partner’s billable hours, and the overall profits they generate for the firm.

Elements of Partner Compensation

Law firm partner compensation generally consists of two main components: salary and a share of the profits. The salary component is typically a fixed amount that is paid to the partner on a regular basis, while the profit share is a percentage of the firm’s profits that is allocated to the partner based on their contributions to the firm.

The specific breakdown of these two components can vary significantly from one firm to another. Some firms may have a higher salary component and a lower profit share, while others may have a higher profit share and a lower salary. In general, firms with a higher profit share tend to have a more hierarchical structure, with partners at the top receiving a larger share of the profits.

Criteria for the “Right” Model

Whatever the plan, it should do more than split the pie: it should reinforce the behaviors and efforts the firm desires from its attorneys. When considering whether to make a change to the firm’s current plan, partners should consider whether the current system supports the firm’s goals and rewards partners appropriately. For example, the plan should:

  • Provide the proper incentives and motivations to support firm’s core values and goals.
  • Reward mutually beneficial effort and discourage actions that hurt the whole.
  • Be equitable enough that it reduces partner dissatisfaction and can be perceived as fair by the partners.
  • Retain the right people and allow those who don’t fit to move on.

What Gets Measured Gets Attention

With the above criteria in mind, some metrics partners may want to consider as they look at how they want to split firm profits include:

  • Level of support the partner provides to the realization of firm goals;
  • Quality service / client satisfaction;
  • Contribution to the success of others / delegation and supervision, resulting in associate retention;
  • Contributions to business development;
  • Personal skill development / partner satisfaction, resulting in partner retention and lateral recruitment.

Types of Compensation Plans

  • Parity: Profits are split equally.
  • Lockstep: Compensation is based on tenure.
  • Subjective: Compensation is set by executive committee based on subjective criteria.
  • Formula: Often “eat what you kill.”
  • Hybrid: Combination of any of the above plan types.

Parity (Equal Partnership)


  • Supports teamwork
  • Shares risks of economic cycles
  • Makes sure it is not just about the hard data


  • Does not reward stellar performers
  • Does not typically work beyond the early years of the firm
  • Inequity causes friction among partners



  • Rewards loyalty
  • Facilitates teamwork and collegiality
  • Eliminates conflict


  • Does not reward stellar performers
  • Often causes attorney turnover
  • May tend to reward complacency



  • Can work well if committee is made up of fair minded individuals


  • Tends to fail as larger numbers of attorneys mature in their rainmaking ability

Formula / “Eat What You Kill”


  • Rewards partners for the work they bring in and handle
  • Fosters retention of high producers


  • Creates silos / poor culture
  • Discourages collaboration
  • Does not encourage cross-selling



  • Takes into account multiple factors
  • Allows credit to be given for positive firm-level contributions


  • Must take care not to make it too complicated

Things to Consider in Choosing the Formula for Your Firm

What Gets Measured Gets Attention

  • What firm values and goals do you wish to achieve?
  • Do you want to encourage a sense of firm or competitive silos?

Impact of Having the Wrong Model

  • Perceived inequities can result in firm breakups and partner departures
  • Goals specific to the firm will not be met

Law firm partner compensation can be complex and varied, with a number of factors influencing the specific details of a partner’s compensation package. Ultimately, the best law firm partner compensation plan will depend on the specific needs and goals of the firm. It is important for law firms to carefully consider their options and choose a plan that aligns with their business objectives and rewards partners for their contributions to the firm.

Wondering How to Begin the Conversation?

We provide consulting services to law firms to assist in the delicate conversation regarding partner compensation. Schedule a free consultation, and ask about our partner survey that has helped other firms to start the conversation in an objective and productive way.

The Process Component

Consistency works. Identify your core processes and ensure that everyone is following them, and you will have an efficient, well-oiled machine. Don’t give this component adequate attention, and you will lose time, money, and control.

Having worked with many clients who are growing their firm from a single-attorney firm to a multiple-attorney firm, I have witnessed the frustrations that founding partners experience when trying to scale without having key processes in place, followed by all. If you are to have the ability to manage and grow your organization without feeling that you need to have your hands on every activity, you must have processes that work successfully for your firm identified and followed so that you can let go and allow your team to work your way.

Step 1: Identify Your Core Processes

To begin, meet with your leadership team to identify your core processes. Examples:

HR Process: How you recruit, hire, onboard, manage, review, promote, retain, and terminate people.

Marketing Process: How you reach your target audience to get your message to potential clients.

Sale Process: How you convert leads to engagements.

Operations Processes: How you provide services to your clients or customers. In a law firm, this includes onboarding clients and providing service to clients. You also want to consider the forms you use repeatedly in your practice based on practice area. As you consider your operations processes, think about how you can set your firm apart from your competitors.

Accounting Processes: Management of money flowing in and out of your firm, how your clients are billed, how your accounts receivable is managed, etc.

Step 2: Document the Steps in Your Processes

Once you have identified the core processes relevant to your organization and given them names that are meaningful to your team, you need to identify who on your team is accountable for documenting the steps in these processes. Refer back to your Accountability Chart to identify who should be assigned each of these areas.

When documenting your processes, you want to keep in mind the 20/80 rule. You want to document the 20 percent that accomplishes 80 percent of the results. In other words, keep it simple and easy to follow. As you simplify, you may often find that your core processes are too complex. This is your opportunity to look at how you can streamline. Put checklists in place where possible – do everything you can to ensure that your team members can follow these steps successfully.

Step 3: Package It

Once you have your steps documented, package them in a way that makes it easy for them to be consistently followed by everyone. Use visuals wherever possible. Consider this chart for the steps to be followed in onboarding new LEDES billing matters:

Once you have identified, documented, and packaged your core processes, they will be easily followed as you train existing employees and onboard new ones. The better you do with this component, the easier it will be for your leadership to manage the high-level responsibilities they should be managing and let go of the minutiae as the appropriately responsible team handles your processes.

For assistance with your strategic planning, contact For more information on the EOS system, check out Gino Wickman’s book Traction.

The Issues Component

“Problems are like mushrooms. When it’s dark and rainy, they multiply. Under bright light, they diminish.” Gino Wickman

The key to addressing and correcting the issues that are keeping your organization from successfully reaching your goals is a safe environment that promotes open and honest communication. If your organization does not currently have a culture that supports this, you can get there. Encourage it. Encourage everyone to respectfully communicate their concerns and ideas for solutions. The more your team sees their peers openly sharing in a safe environment, the more others will follow.

When your team is sharing open and honest communication, your Issues List can become a tool for keeping all of your issues out in the open and organized in one place.

Three Types of Issues Lists in the EOS System

Long-term issues. These are items that cannot be tackled in a week or two but need to be documented so that they are not forgotten. Issues that can be addressed in the immediate quarter are placed on a quarterly list referred to as Rocks in EOS. Quarterly Rocks are assigned to individuals so that there is accountability assigned for seeing that these issues are addressed. Issues that are farther out in your planning can be placed on your V/TO so that they can be addressed in a future quarter when the timing is right.

Weekly Leadership Team Issues List. These items are to be addressed more immediately and are discussed during your weekly leadership team meetings. These are items that need to be resolved at the highest level.

The Departmental Issues List. These issues can be addressed at a departmental level v. the need for your highest level of leadership to address them. They are specific to a department in your organization and can be handled at that level, removing the need for leadership to have them on their immediate radar.

The Issues Solving Track

Identify the real issue. Often the stated problem is not the real issue (it’s not about the nail). By discussing the issue in your leadership or department meeting, you can dig down to the root of the problem. For example, you may have a stated issue that client Smith Corporation is a terrible client who never pays their bills on time. But as you investigate the problem more thoroughly, you discover that Smith Corporation has specific billing guidelines that are not being properly followed by your billing department, resulting in rejected invoices that must be corrected and resubmitted.

Discuss. This is where it is most important for everyone to be able to share in honest, respectful communication. Consider the above example. If your billing manager is someone who some individuals on your team want to protect, it is important that your team members know that it is safe for them to share concerns about that individual’s performance. Understand that it is okay to have healthy conflict in order for the best solution to come to light. It may be that your billing person in this example has too much on their plate, keeping them from successful performance through no fault of their own. Without open and honest discussion, you cannot find a solution to your issue.

Solve. The solve step is a conclusion or solution that typically becomes an action item for someone to do. This action item ends up on the To Do list so that it is accomplished with accountability assigned, and the issue gets resolved. In the example discussed here, your firm administrator may be assigned to work with your billing person to identify where they need help.

Keys to Successful Issue Solving

You cannot always rule by consensus. Every team needs a quarterback. Consensus management does not work. When you are unable to come to a decision where everyone agrees, someone has to make the final decision. Once the final decision has been made, you must present a united front moving forward.

Be strong. The right decision is not always easy to implement. You must be willing to make the tough decisions.

Be decisive. The inability to make a decision can be your worst enemy. Successful businesses share the quality of making decisions quickly and changing them slowly.

Do not rely on secondhand information. You cannot solve an issue involving multiple people without all of the parties present. If they are not currently available, schedule a time when they are.

Fight for the greater good. Focus on the vision for the organization. Decisions cannot be made for the benefit of one individual over the benefit of the organization as a whole.

Do not try to solve everything. Prioritize your issues. You will never solve them all. Solve the most important issue first, and then move on to the next.

Live with it, end it, or change it. When you have an issue, you have to decide which of these decisions you will make. If you are unhappy about something, end it or change it. If you are unwilling or unable to do either of these things, at least right now, then live with it and stop complaining. Complaining is a waste of time and gets you nowhere.

Take a shot. Propose a solution. Don’t wait around for someone else to do it. This is something that should be instilled in your culture. I have always had the policy that if someone comes to me with a problem or complaint, they should also be prepared with a suggested solution.

By having a protocol for openly and systematically identifying, addressing, and solving issues in your firm, you can move forward with meeting your vision and goals. In a future article, we will discuss how the L-10 meeting protocol in the EOS system will help you to address and resolve your issues in an efficient and successful way.

For assistance with your strategic planning, contact For more information on the EOS system, check out Gino Wickman’s book Traction.

The Data Component

How do you keep your fingers on the pulse of your business? Do you know what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) indicate strength or potential issues for your firm, and if so, do you know where they currently stand? Or do you base your understanding on something less specific, like whether there is enough money to pay the bills, or by what your managers are telling you?

There is safety in numbers. Basing your knowledge of how your business is doing on the subjective opinion of a manager who may be trying to reassure you regardless of the real picture is dangerous. In order to accurately measure the pulse of your business, you need a scorecard.

A scorecard is an accurate report of 5 to 15 high-level weekly numbers that gives you the ability to predict where you are headed. Everyone in your firm should have a number.

7 Advantages of Everyone Having a Number

Numbers cut through unclear, subjective communication between manager and direct reports. Consider two scenarios where you ask your firm manager how you are doing this month at converting leads to client engagements. (1) Her subjective opinion is “great!” (2) You have a goal of a 50% conversion rate, and she responds that average conversion rate is currently at 20%. You have a much clearer understanding of the true picture with scenario 2.

Numbers create accountability. If you have a goal of no more than 10% of your A/R being over 90 days, you are going to be looking to your billing manager for an explanation when your 90+ day A/R is at 30%. Your billing manager will understand that if the number is exceeding the 10% goal, he had better be studying the issue and looking for a solution.

Accountable people appreciate numbers. When you have the wrong people in the wrong seats, they will usually resist measurables. The right people in the right seats love clarity. Knowing what their specific KPIs are, they like being part of a culture where everyone is working together to be accountable for the firm’s success.

Numbers create clarity and commitment. If an employee knows what their number is and agrees that they can achieve it, you have a commitment. If they have a concern about their ability to hit their number, you have an opportunity to have a meaningful conversation that may bring to light issues you are unaware of.

Numbers produce results. What is measured gets attention.

Numbers create teamwork. When you have a team of individuals who are the right people in the right seats, they will work together to figure out how they can hit their numbers.

You can solve problems faster. When you have well defined numbers and a number is off track, you can take proactive measures to identify the problem and correct it.

Making Meaningful Use of Your Numbers

You have defined numbers for your firm, now what? Your firm should be using a system for tracking those defined goals and what number you are hitting each week, month, and YTD average. Reviewing this report should be part of your regular partner meetings – if you have numbers but no one is paying attention to how you are doing in meeting them, they are meaningless. If everyone knows the numbers are going to be monitored and discussed at partner meetings, they have more incentive to be accountable.

With a little effort in defining what numbers create success for your firm, you can have a clear, objective understanding of how you are doing at any point in time and take meaningful action to correct issues before they become a serious problem.

For assistance with your strategic planning, contact For more information on the EOS system, check out Gino Wickman’s book Traction.