The Lawyer’s Guide to Strategic Practice Management

The Lawyer’s Guide to Strategic Practice Management gives you everything you need to ensure the future success of your law firm.  

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  • Publication date: November, 2013
  • Pages: 255
  • ISBN: 9781783580972
  • This book will develop SRA competency:


The legal profession has been through a dramatic and unprecedented period of change. The impact of the recession has been felt by firms of all sizes and practice areas, has forced law firms to take a long hard look at the way they do business from top to bottom. Those firms that did not adapt to changing market conditions are either no longer in business or have merged with their former competitors. The firms that recognized and embraced these changes are thriving in what is now the new modern legal profession.

The Lawyer’s Guide to Strategic Practice Management looks into seven crucial key areas of management for law firms – information, process, strategy, market, people, finance, and technology – and discusses why law firms need to have clear and coherent strategies in place in order to continue to prosper.

This new report features the professions most well respected and leading experts on law firm management. Including:

  • Nicholas Bruch and John Cussons, Huron Consulting
  • David H. Freeman, David Freeman Consulting Group
  • Sally Dyson, Firm Sense Limited
  • Patrick J Lamb, Valorem Law Group
  • Paul Lippe, Legal OnRamp
  • Alan Hodgart
  • Mark Brandon, Motive Legal Consulting
  • And many more…

They provide in-depth guidance, lessons learned, case studies, and practical advice on topics including:

  • Creating strategic plans at the firm and practice group level
  • Revenue and profit models, profitability strategies, and law firm profit drivers.
  • Finding market niches and developing individual business development strategies
  • Law firm pitch planning and pitching strategies
  • The adoption of formal client listening programs
  • Examining the various alternatives to the traditional billable hour
  • Utilizing big data in law firms for billing, cost, and forecasting analysis
  • The impact of legal process improvement on the delivery of legal services
  • Measuring and managing the performance of your people
  • Effective practice group management in the current legal market
  • Client and staff communication, connectivity, and collaboration strategies
  • Building the business case for legal project management

The Lawyer’s Guide to Strategic Practice Management gives you everything you need to ensure the future success of your law firm.


Chapter 1: The building blocks of information management

Chapter 2: The law firm difference

Chapter 3: The future of big data

Chapter 4: Law firms and KM in the digital age: The ‘information revolution’

Chapter 5: Before the tipping point

Chapter 6: The business case for project management

Chapter 7: Measuring and managing the performance of your people

Chapter 8: Introduction to the strategic planning process

Chapter 9: The common thread

Chapter 10: Improving law firm profitability – Why cash will always be king

Chapter 11: Finding niches and developing your strategy

Chapter 12: Stage two – Pitch team and planning

Chapter 13: Positioning client listening in context

Chapter 14: Content

Chapter 15: Current trends in practice development

Chapter 16: What makes an effective practice group strategy?

Chapter 17: Culture in practice

Chapter 18: The strategic case for communications

Chapter 19: Planning the hires

Chapter 20: Alternatives to the billable hour

Chapter 21: Alternative fee arrangements – The reality

Chapter 22: Managing the negotiation process

Chapter 23: How to obtain the desired fees and structures

Chapter 24: Technology

Chapter 25: Why deliver services online?

Chapter 26: The case for innovation





Check our Executive Summary and full table of contents here


Paul Byfield
Legal knowledge manager, Office of the General Counsel, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Zena Applebaum
Zena Applebaum is director, customer insights & success at Thomson Reuters in Canada. In her role, Zena is responsible for client feedback and intelligence, market insights, and sales enablement. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Zena was the director of competitive intelligence at Bennett Jones LLP, having pioneered the discipline of law firm CI, and authoring Business Intelligence for Law Firms, published in November 2012. Zena shares her passion for the industry as a speaker, writer and contributor to blogs, including “3 Geeks and a Law Blog”, with topics ranging from competitive intelligence, legal industry change management, qualitative data analysis and personal branding. A data junkie who revels in the possibilities of data to connect people, places and things, Zena can often be found connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated data. In 2015 Zena was inducted as a Fellow of the Council of CI Fellows, and she has been a sessional instructor the University of Toronto iSchool, Rutgers University and a guest lecturer at law schools across North America. She currently serves on the SLA Board of Directors.
Damien Blackburn
DAMIAN BLACKBURN, formerly director of IT at a top 100 firm, is the founder and director of SLFtech, a consultancy that provides strategic technical advice, project management services, and bespoke development to law firms. He has 20 years of experience working with legal professionals, is a member of the BCS, a Prince2 practitioner, and has an MSc in Information Systems. Damian is a regular columnist for the Solicitors Journal on legal IT matters and he also blogs for the Legal Support Network. For more information, contact SLFtech or Damian via email.
Chris Bull
Chris Bull is a founding Executive Director of professional services consultancy Kingsmead Square.
Barbara J Boake
Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP.
Rick A Kathuria
National director, projectmanagement office and legal logistics, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Peter Scott
Peter, a solicitor, was Managing Partner of Eversheds London and European offices for eight years until 2000. He is an advisor, trainer and coach to many law firms in the UK and abroad in relation to their financial, strategic, risk, compliance and business development issues, with particular focus on helping clients to improve their competitiveness through effective performance management. Peter is the editor of The Law Society’s Practice Management Handbook, now in its 2nd edition, and a member of the editorial board of Legal Compliance Bulletin, published by the Law Society. He is a frequent speaker at conferences for lawyers and other professionals, and his articles are published in a number of well-known legal and other professional journals. He circulates to his wide client and contact base a monthly ‘Briefing Note’ on topical issues which can be viewed on his website. He is also a consultant with Penningtons Solicitors LLP, and can be contacted at Peter Scott Consulting.
Richard Wyatt
Richard is a chartered accountant and experienced law firm consultant and manager. He has spent nearly 30 years advising on accounting, management and strategy issues for law firms, including seven years as the finance director of a medium-sized regional law firm. Richard is currently the Head of Finance at Piper Smith Watton LLP, a Westminster-based property, private client and corporate firm, with a specialism in the aviation and travel industries. He has contributed to a number of books, most recently The Future of Legal Services: Expert Analysis UK 2nd Edition, has spoken at a number of conferences, and regularly lectures at the Law Society, including teaching the finance section at the Management 1 course for recently qualified lawyers. His style is challenging and entertaining and he puts energy into everything he undertakes. Richard is married with two sons. He is a cricket coach and plays regularly, and tries to play golf and tennis too. Richard can be contacted via email and at his webpage.
John Sterling
John Sterling is chief marketing offi cer at Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox, a leading IP specialty fi rm based in Washington, DC. He is also the founding partner of Sterling Strategies, LLC. Prior to founding Sterling Strategies, John was a founding partner at Smock Sterling Strategic Management Consultants. He has over 30 years of experience in strategic management and market research. John has worked extensively with law and other professional service fi rms, as well as with industrial and consumer product companies and not-for-profi t organisations. His work with TimeLine Theatre Company in Chicago won the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award for excellence in strategic planning from the Association for Strategic Planning. John is past president of the Strategic Management Association in Chicago and is a contributing editor to the business journal Strategy & Leadership.
John Cussons
John Cussons has more than fifteen years’ experience as a management consultant and project manager, and his experience in the legal and professional services sector includes working with small, regional, and national firms, as well as large international firms. His clients span Europe, Australia, South America, and South East Asia. His areas of work include domestic and international strategy (including the analysis of present and future business models, country attractiveness, and competitive positioning); client and practice management; and mergers. John Cussons is a regular contributor on various topics of law firm strategy and management, including writing articles, producing webinars, and speaking at conferences. He is the lead author of Into Africa: Opportunities and Risks in the African Legal Market (2013) and Financial Planning and Measurement for Law Firms (2011), and co-author of The Strategy-Led Law Firm: Business Models that Work (2012), all published by Ark Group. John can be contacted via email at ICD Consulting.
Nicholas Bruch
Nicholas Bruch has over seven years’ experience advising clients on strategy, international expansion, and operational change. He has worked on projects in the US, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East in a wide range of sectors, including law, accounting, mining, banking, real estate, and international trade. He focuses on long-term strategy, international expansion, market entries, and facilitating internal change strategies. His areas of work include domestic and international strategy, client and practice management, and mergers. Nicholas was the lead author of The Strategy-Led Law Firm: Business Models that Work, published by Ark Group in 2012, and co-author on Into Africa: Opportunities & Risks in the African Legal Market, published by Ark Group in 2013. Nicholas can be contacted via email.
Steve Gale
Audit Partner, professional practices team, Crowe Clark Whitehill.
David H Freeman
David H Freeman, JD, a former lawyer and now CEO of the David Freeman Consulting Group, has helped thousands of managing partners, group and department leaders, partners, counsel, and associates become better leaders and rainmakers in hundreds of law firms world-wide. For nearly two decades, he has worked with over one-third of the AmLaw 200, and in 2013, for the second consecutive year, he was recognized as the best law firm business development and coaching service provider in a National Law Journal survey. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker who presents at law firm retreats, law firm networks, international, national, and regional conferences, LMA and ALA chapter meetings, bar association meetings, and law schools.  David’s main areas of practice include leadership training and coaching; business development training and coaching; accelerated cross-selling; client service training and planning; retreat design, facilitation, and speaking; and business development culture assessments. He was Co-Chair of the Legal Marketing Association’s 2010 Annual Conference, he has written a unique book for law firm leaders called Weekly Reminders for Revenue-Focused Leaders, and he is a co-author of Law Firm Marketing Leaders: Tips from a Collection of Experts. He also wrote an on-going leadership column for American Lawyer Media’s newsletter, Marketing the Law Firm, and he has authored many other articles on the revenue-related aspects of management, leadership, service, strategy, and business development for most of the major legal publications. David also produces practical video tips focused on leadership and business development, he has developed a DVD-based personal rainmaking system for lawyers called CMOplaybook®, and he created a business development culture assessment tool for law firms called Culture Xray®. David can be reached via email at the consulting group.
Clare Adshead-Grant
Clare is a founding partner of Calista. As a marketing professional, she has over 20 years' experience of working with service based businesses providing the full range of marketing and business development support. Her areas of expertise are in strategic planning and shaping business development and marketing programmes to deliver against clients' objectives. Clare’s experience includes: Detailed client analysis to support business planning; „Facilitating client business planning processes; „„Establishing and running integrated marketing programmes to support clients’ business objectives; „„Delivering programmes to transform clients’ internal capability across client relationship programmes, pitch processes and fee-earner training; and „„Running brand re-fresh projects and associated website development. Clare’ opinions, hints, and tips can be regularly found on her blog via twitter, and she can be contacted via email at Calista. 
Sally Dyson
Sally Dyson is the founder and director of Firm Sense Limited, a consultancy specialising in providing client listening services and client relationship management advice to law firms. Sally qualified as a solicitor and practised at Slaughter and May. She then worked as an in-house lawyer for nearly a decade before moving on from the pursuit of law to establish Firm Sense. Sally combines expertise in client listening with an in-depth understanding of the legal market to advise law firms on aligning organisational practices and individual behaviour with specific client needs in order to improve client retention, win business, and improve profitability. Sally is an Affiliate Member of, and is regulated by, the Market Research Society. In the context of optimising client relationships, she has developed particular knowledge on the topic of law firm fees and is the author of an Ark report entitled Budgeting and Negotiating Fees with Clients: A Lawyer’s Guide. Sally is also a regular speaker at public conferences and private workshops and is a contributor to professional journals. Sally can be contacted by email or at Firm Sense Limited. For more information please visit their website.
Steve Matthews
Jordon Furlong
Laurie Young
Laurie Young was an internationally-recognised specialist in the marketing and selling of legal services, and one of the few independent advisers to the profession who had been a partner in a leading firm. Laurie’s career included senior positions at BT, Unisys, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (where he was global marketing partner for their corporate advisory division). He was chairman of the Strategic Planning Society but also found time for advisory work, teaching, conference speaking, and, his first love, writing. He regularly spoke at a range of events every year from company seminars to larger international conferences. As an adviser, he helped with the resolution of strategic marketing issues, brand strategy, new service design, and client care programmes. He chaired Fujitsu’s ‘Customer experience management’ panel and was on the ‘Innovation Board’ of Allen & Overy. In addition to contributed articles and expert comment in the national press, Laurie had 10 books and over 100 articles published. Laurie sadly passed away in September 2013.
Caroline Poynton
Caroline Poynton is a business journalist, with particular expertise in the legal sector. Before going into freelance journalism in July 2007, she was for six years editor of Managing Partner magazine, an Ark Group publication dedicated to senior management in the legal profession. Since working as a freelance journalist, she has written numerous features, as well as in-depth reports, not only on the legal profession, but also on corporate communications and business management generally. She has also worked as a freelance editor on publications including Ark Group’s FD Legal and the KermaPartners Quarterly, a publication published by management consultancy KermaPartners. She has published several reports with Ark Group, including Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery for Law Firms (2008), Managing the Evolution of Libraries and Information Services (2008), Attracting and Retaining Talent in the Post-Recession Legal Profession (2010), Strategic Development for Practice Group Leaders (2010) and Change Management for Law Firms (2011). She also co-authored, with Nick Brook, Business Continuity Planning and Management for Law Firms (2012).
Alan Hodgart
Alan Hodgart is one of the leading advisers to professional service businesses on strategic and organisational issues. His client base includes some of the largest law firms, accountancy firms, and real estate consultants (at both international and national levels) as well as a very wide range of small- to medium-sized firms. He operates on a global basis and consults to firms in all parts of the world. Alan’s primary aim is to advise clients on improving their competitiveness and sustain this by establishing effective strategic management and leadership processes. He is particularly experienced at translating strategic changes into practical action steps and assisting firms in building commitment to the behaviour changes required. He has a deep knowledge of competitive trends in all major professional services industries and uses this to assist clients in developing an improved competitive position. Alan has been a strategic change consultant for much of his working life although, prior to that, he was a successful professional cyclist for nine years. He is the author of Performance Measurement for Law Firms, published by Ark Group in 2009.
Jill King
Jill King is a business writer and commentator, having spent over 20 years working in the professional services sector. She is interested in what makes people tick, how to unleash potential and creativity, and in the fundamental changes affecting the professions. As a leading HR professional, specialising in people and communications, Jill has experience in the fast-moving consumer goods, retailing, engineering, accountancy and legal sectors. She has led regional and global HR, L&D, and knowledge and communication teams, as the HR director at KPMG, Hogan Lovells (formerly Lovell White Durrant) and most recently, Linklaters. Jill can be reached via email or at her website.
Mark Brandon
Mark Brandon is the founder and managing director of Motive Legal Consulting, which specialises in advising law firms on strategic management and resourcing issues. Motive also conducts specialist research in the legal market, and was responsible for ‘Lateral Partner Moves in London’, which gained wide coverage in the legal press in the UK and internationally. Mark was formerly a senior recruiter at leading London recruitment company First Counsel, where he specialised in placing partners and teams into top UK and US law firms in London. Prior to that he spent ten years as a legal journalist, including: editor of Legal 500, editor of In-House Lawyer magazine, editor of Law Firms in Europe, series editor of the Insider’s Guide to Legal Services, editor of Legal Times, and features editor of The Lawyer magazine. Mark contributes to the ongoing debate on legal services as a regular blogging panellist on The Lawyer magazine’s website, and is a contributor to the magazine; he is also author of the special report Lateral Partner Hiring and Integration for Law Firms (published March 2011 by Ark Group). For information on Motive services and experience, visit the website, e-mail or call (+44) 20 7490 1396.
Patrick J Lamb
Patrick Lamb is founding partner of ElevateNext Law, LLP, and vice president of Elevate Services, Inc. Pat and his long-time partner Nicole Auerbach founded ElevateNext Law in 2018 to provide legal services in alignment with Elevate Services, a global law company. The unique arrangement armed ElevateNext with global capabilities and a wide array of additional tools to utilize in crafting solutions for its customers. ElevateNext allows Elevate to offer its customers services that include practice of law areas it previously had to defer to other law firms. Pat has been a long-time innovator in the delivery of legal services. Having launched Valorem Law Group in January 2008, Pat became the leading voice for alternative fee structures in all types of legal matters, including complex business litigation. Valorem has been recognized by clients and others as one of the leading AFA firms in the country. Pat pioneered the essential relationship between alternative fees and client service, and has long argued that alternative fees are but one of several essential tools that should be deployed to serve clients. Pat has been recognized four times as a BTI Consulting Client Service All-Star MVP, and Valorem has been named six times a member of the BTI Client Service A-Team. Pat remains an active practicing lawyer but now is devoting considerable attention to designing solutions for customer issues that help avoid litigation and disputes. He has tried numerous cases around the country and draws on his long experience as a litigator and trial lawyer to design effective solutions. He is in great demand as a speaker, at both public and private events. He is a prolific writer, including his periodic column for the ABA Journal’s award-winning New Normal section and his blog, In Search of Perfect Client Service, His latest book, Alternative Fee Arrangements for Litigators and their Clients, was published by the ABA in 2014. He can be found on Twitter at @ElevateLamb.
Steven A Lauer
Steven A Lauer is principal of Lauer & Associates and consults with law departments and law firms on the value of legal services.

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