The legal profession, like so many other fields, has continued to reel from the deep-reaching and significant impact of the 2008 financial crisis.
In the years following the crash, a general downward turn in the demand for legal services compelled firms to tighten their belts, make tough decisions, and come up with innovative strategies in order to survive. One of these was an increased focus on profitability and different means of
managing and improving it, a relatively new development for the legal industry.
However, in recent years there have been small but positive signs of improvement, manifested in a gradual pick-up in client engagement, as global economies continue to slowly but steadily recover from the crash. It is definitely a better time to be a lawyer, as latent demand begins to manifest in parallel with growing client confidence in a stabilizing market, fast-paced disruptive technological innovations, and significant changes in laws and regulations.
However, this does not mean that firms can afford to be complacent. The legal landscape continues to be in flux, and improvement is slow.
Increased revenue and client demand does not come to firms that do not proactively seek it, nor is it achieved by those who are not applying innovative and cutting-edge techniques and strategies to the management of their firm. Of course, delivering the best service to clients should
always be a top priority; however, there should also be an emphasis on running the firm like a business, which includes intensive scrutiny of
expenditure and coming up with new and inventive ways to generate profit.
Managing and growing a firm’s profitability should not just be an exercise for difficult economic periods, but instead must be a priority at
all times. Rather than being perceived as an irksome bolt-on, it is necessary to see it as a great opportunity in these times of increased business.
Existing and persistent cultural norms amongst lawyers, however, means that the reform of current business practices does not always
come naturally. Nor is it necessarily easy to find the right practical advice that can carry a firm through the transition. Emerging Approaches to Law
Firm Profitability aims to be the ideal tool to assist with implementation, providing essential guidance for those seeking new means of maximizing
their firm’s capacity. Featuring advice and reflections from a wide variety of contributors, ranging from business and finance professionals to thought leaders and consultants, this book offers in-depth, intensive insight into the challenges generated by today’s dynamic and hypercompetitive legal landscape.
Most importantly, Emerging Approaches to Law Firm Profitability moves past the identification of these obstacles and supplies original, innovative ways of tackling them. Expert guidance is complemented by compelling case studies and effective real-world examples, supplying principles that can be applied to firms of any size or capacity.
Chapter 1: Law firm economics 101: how law firms make money (or “the business of law”)
By Stuart Dodds, co-founder and principal of Positive Pricing
Chapter 2: Accounts receivable, billable hours, and collections – the end game or a starting point for success?
By Ariela Tannenbaum, CEO of Advanced Financial Analytics
Chapter 3: Better, faster, cheaper – why clients expect law firms to know about process improvement
By Hélène Russell, founder of TheKnowledgeBusiness
Chapter 4: Fully loaded or not?
By Peter Lane Secor, director of strategic pricing and project management at Pepper Hamilton LLP
Chapter 5: Developing and defending a profitability model
By Paige Keith, chief financial officer at Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP
Chapter 6: In favor of a client- and product-focused profitability analysis
By Thomas W. Van Der Moere, chief financial officer at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
Chapter 7: Better business plans – a blueprint for strategy realization
By David J. Parnell, columnist and founder and principal of True North Partner Management
Chapter 8: Insourcing and its commercial attractiveness in boosting profitability
By Srinivas Vadali, principal management consultant at PA Consulting, and Manish Khandelwal, IT transformation expert at PA Consulting
Chapter 9: A model to gauge and understand fee-earners’ performance
By Rupert Hawke, managing director of UK firm Cartwright King
Chapter 10: Combining newlaw and established law to create profitable business strategies
By Katherine Thomas, consultant and former co-founder and director of Vario for Pinsent Masons