Strategic Planning for Law Firms: A Practical Roadmap 2nd edition

A workable, real-world strategic planning process that can be used in any firm

Additional taxes may be applicable


  • Publication date: November, 2018
  • Pages: 100
  • ISBN: 978-1-78358-356-0


At its core, the purpose of strategy in any for-profit organization is to position the firm to achieve better and more sustainable returns than the competition. In other words, the purpose of strategy is to capture a sustainable competitive advantage. Doing so requires the firm to satisfy major stakeholders (primarily customers, but also knowledge workers, shareholders, and others) over both the near and longer term. Ultimately, business strategy is about winning in competitive markets.

Strategic Planning for Law Firms: A Practical Roadmap – authored by renowned strategic management expert John Sterling - provides the reader with a workable, real world strategic planning process they can use in their own firms. That process includes:

  • An approach to developing a strong analytical foundation and framework – providing an objective, factual assessment of the internal and external environment facing the firm;
  • A means of defining the firm’s strategic direction – enabling the firm to articulate and agree upon its direction including:
    • What the firm (or practice group) aspires to become over the long run; and
    • What position(s) the firm or practice intends to occupy (i.e. what it will be known for).
  • A means of developing action oriented strategies – enabling the firm (or practice) to agree upon the sometimes difficult trade-offs among its strategic alternatives, enabling it to focus resources on achieving its aspirations and desired market positions; and
  • An approach for identifying near term action plans (and prioritizing those action plans) so that individuals are directly engaged in (and are accountable for) roles that put the strategy into operation on a day-to-day basis.

Readers of the previous edition will find much new to explore in the second edition, including a thoroughly updated discussion of the core strategic issues facing law firms; refreshed case studies that outline real world responses to current strategic issues, strategic planning challenges, and strategy implementation imperatives; a deep dive into applying “Blue Ocean” strategy in a law firm setting; and a discussion of how the “Business Model Canvas” can be used to rethink practice areas, pricing, and ancillary businesses.


Executive summary

About the author

Chapter 1: Strategic planning process overview

Chapter 2: Phase I – Situation analysis

Chapter 3: Phase II – Strategic direction

Chapter 4: Phase III – Strategy development

Chapter 5: Phase IV – Implementation planning 

Chapter 6: Strategic issues – universal challenges to be addressed in the context of law firm strategic planning

Chapter 7: Strategic planning tools and principles

Chapter 8: Value innovation tools

Case study 1: Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox

Case study 2: Clark Hill

Case study 3: Bryan Cave

Contents and Executive Summary


John Sterling
John Sterling is Chief Marketing Officer at Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox, a leading IP specialty firm 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 firms, as well as with industrial and consumer product companies and not-for-profit 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.

You may also be interested in..

Think about attending..