This Dewey B Strategic blog post reprinted with permission from author Jean O’Grady.
Bruce provided the keynote for this year’s PLL Summit in Seattle, Washington. It is impossible to summarize his dense and thorough economic analysis of the legal sector.
Financial recessions are different.
Law firm leaders only began to identify efficiency as a desirable goal four years ago.
When comparing law firms look at revenue per lawyer… it is more reliable because it is harder “to game.”
Revenue per lawyer in Q1 of 2013 was down 23% for corporate work and 26% for litigation.
Excess capacity triggers the irrational impulse to offer irrational discounts.
Most law firm partners don’t know the difference between revenue and profits.
Lawyers still divide the world into lawyers and non-lawyers.
Law firms may need to move to a new leverage model of 1 partner to 1 associate.
Law firms should cultivate an active alumni network including lawyers who want to work part time or on a temporary basis who can be tapped when the firm needs to staff up.
Proactive firms are more profitable than reactive firms.
Substitutes are more dangerous than competitors. LPOs are substitutes. For every one dollar an LPO gains, law firms lose 3 dollars.
Running a law firm is 5 times more complicated than running any other kind of business.
Lawyers need to practice law and let the professionals, manage the firm. He means those darned non-lawyers need to manage.
Law firms need credentialed, senior level executives to run the business of the firm.
Law firms and lawyers must determine their distinguishing strategic proposition.
Most partners can not and most firm websites do not describe their firms ” Unique Strategic Proposition”
A Distinguishing Strategic Proposition is distinctive, compelling and credible.
Law firms must build visibility in a digital world.
There is no entitlement to incumbency. Quoting from the CEO of now defunct, A&P Stores before they slid into oblivion,” You can’t argue with 100 years of success,”
Complacency is the biggest threat to law firms.
Lawyers are psychologically ill suited to adapt to reinvent their law firms. (Too skeptical, too independent and too risk averse,)
Lawyers hate failure. But they need to learn to take chances in order to improve their firms and become more competitive. This may involve some failures.
Law firms need to invest in R&D in order to reinvent their own future.
Guest post written by Jean O’Grady, Director of Research Services and Libraries, DLA Piper
Leave your comfort zone behind! Break out your resume, job description and a red pen. Whether you are an entry level librarian or a Director, the Lean Up panelists will inspire you to raise your career expectations.
The morning panel, moderated by Jean O’Grady, includes a C-Level Recruiter and two librarians, Bob Oaks and Bill Scarborough, who have reached the C-Level or have leveraged their library experience into non-traditional career paths. Bob Oaks is the Chief Library and Records Officer at Latham and Watkins. Bill Scarborough, has taken a different trajectory from Library Director to roles in Human Resources, CIO, and law firm Executive Director. They will be joined by Rodney L. Abstone, II a dynamic C-Level recruiter, who will focus on how to analyze your resume and your job description to assure that you are not underselling your true value. This will be a highly interactive session which will engage you in understanding how to identify and market your highest value skills.
Add this panel to the morning keynote and three afternoon programs and you now have five good reasons to register for the Summit. And that doesn’t even count all the fun and networking opportunities. Join us Friday evening at the Palace Ballroom for the opening reception generously hosted by Bloomberg Law/Bloomberg BNA. (RSVPs are required by July 5th and can be made online at www.bna.com/pllsummit . Catch up and network with colleagues while you register and enjoy a continental breakfast (thanks LexisNexis) and again during lunch (thanks Wolters Kluwer Law & Business).
But hurry, please. TODAY IS THE REGISTRATION DEADLINE!!! For more detailed information on the program and speakers, and how to register, visit the Summit Blog http://pllsummit.wordpress.com/2013-summit/ .
Guest post written by Kristine Lloyd, K & L Gates LLP
If you’ve seen the movie Office Space, then you know the fear of being banished to the basement with nothing but a red Swingline stapler. As our print resources vanish and our spaces shrink, we risk being tucked away in a corner, either virtually or physically, where we become a distant memory to our patrons, like a long lost relative who used to be the life of the party.
The afternoon breakout session, Increasing Relevance and Engaging Patrons with User Experience Design, led by library design expert Aaron Schmidt, presents a wonderful opportunity to learn how to turn your physical and virtual spaces into your firm’s favorite hangout.
Aaron Schmidt is a library design consultant, but prior to his consulting life, he moved through the public library ranks from circulation clerk to reference librarian to library director. As the Digital Initiatives Librarian at the District of Columbia Library, he was part of a team that created the first iPhone and Blackberry online catalog searching apps. He has worked with all types of clients from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries Program to the Seattle Public Library, and he’s going to show us how to improve our patrons’ experiences and increase traffic to our sites and our spaces.
You’ll be amazed at how simple ideas can lead to big changes in your library’s vitality and visibility; changes that can start with something as simple as your Swingline stapler!
Guest post authored by Marcia Burris, Senior Manager, Firm Library Services, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak and Stewart, PC, Greenville SC
This year’s Summit offers extraordinary opportunities for professional growth. As Joan mentioned in her recent ”How to Sit at the Table: Lean In“ On Firmer Ground blog post, a goal of this year’s Summit is to help participants shape their success by defining the roles and developing the services that add value to our organizations.
Among the outstanding programs offered this year, the afternoon breakout session Changing Perceptions: Selling your Role as a Strategic Partner will take participants through the process of defining and managing our professional reputations as strategic partners within our law firms.
Our speaker, Sally R. Phillips, is an executive career coach and human resources consultant, and a former employment attorney and HR executive. If you have ever wondered what a career coach would say to you, you won’t want to miss this session!
We look forward to seeing you in Seattle!
Still deciding whether to attend the PLL Summit on Saturday, July 13?
The Summit, now in its fourth year, explores how to take charge, shaping ourselves as well as the services we provide to meet new world demands. Here are some very excellent reasons to sign up now.
1. Come to the opening event at the Palace Ballroom held Friday evening, July 12 and generously hosted by Bloomberg Law/Bloomberg BNA. Greet colleagues you haven’t seen for a year while enjoying the award-winning cuisine of Tom Douglas Restaurants. RSVPs are required by July 5th and can be made online atwww.bna.com/pllsummit.
2. After a good night’s sleep, join us at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel & Towers (Headquarters hotel) to register and enjoy a continental breakfast courtesy of LexisNexis.
3. Next, settle in for the keynote, graciously sponsored by Thomson Reuters. Bruce MacEwen, aka Adam Smith Esq., is the author of the “Growth is Dead” series, recently published as a book entitled “Growth Is Dead: Now What?: Law firms on the brink.” MacEwen has charted changes in the legal industry from an expectation of uninterrupted growth to its current battle for market share.
4. The morning concludes with a panel discussion addressing librarian roles: how do we “lean up,” identifying, adopting and promoting the roles that add value to our organizations.
5. Lunch, sponsored by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, comes with a chance to network as well as a side helping of the humorous David Lat, Managing Editor of Above the Law.
6. In the afternoon, investigate the practical aspects of social media, the art of branding and the user experience at interactive break-out sessions. The sessions will be repeated twice so that each participant can benefit from two out of the three programs.
Space is limited so don’t delay! For more detailed information on the agenda, program and speakers, visit the http://pllsummit.wordpress.com/2013-summit/<br />
http://pllsummit.wordpress.com/2013-summit/” href=”http://pllsummit.wordpress.com/2013-summit/”>PLL Summit 2013 blog. To register, go to http://pllsummit.wordpress.com/2013-summit/.
See you in Seattle!
Joan Axelroth and Jean O’Grady
PLL Summit Co-chairs