Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Date and Venue for Next MPF Announced

We're pleased to announce that The Managing Partner Forum for Midwestern Law Firms will be held on Thursday, May 5th at the Saint Louis Club in beautiful St. Louis, Missouri.

This will be the second time we will be presenting the MPF in St. Louis and our 17th law firm leadership conference overall since 2002. More than 700 law firm leaders from 525 firms have participated in previous MPF programs.

Click here to see the press release we sent earlier this morning.

Click here for complete details about the conference.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What's in a Name?

Law Firms Use a Wide (and Sometimes Quirky) Array of Titles for Their Leaders

Over the years, we have built quite a large database of law firm leaders. Today, it includes over 5,300 contacts from 47 US states and 27 foreign countries. We make it point to learn and include their titles whenever we can.

I was reviewing the list the other day and found no fewer than 18 titles for the position most often referred to as "managing partner." I've listed them below in order of popularity:
  • Managing Partner (#1, by far)

  • Managing Shareholder (a very distant #2)

  • Other Variations of "Managing" including Director, Principal or Member

  • Chief Executive Officer/CEO

  • Chairman (and variations thereof)

  • Chairman of the Executive Committee

  • Chairman of the Management Committee

  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

  • President

  • CEO and President

  • Partner-in-Charge

  • Principal Shareholder

  • Administrative Partner

  • Executive Vice President

  • Founding Partner

  • Owner

In addition, my friend and colleague Patrick McKenna has identified a few more, including Presiding Partner, Presiding Member and Executive Partner.

Some titles are pretty straight forward. Others are somewhat unconventional, even quirky. Personally, I like CEO.

But whatever title a law firm bestows upon its leader, I'm willing to bet that most partners in most law firms haven't a clue about the amount of time and effort required of this most important and demanding role.

Managing partners would be wise to educate them.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday E-Cards: Although I'm Not a Big Fan, These Two Stand Out from the Crowd

Ahhhhh, the holidays.....

It's the time of year when many law firms embark on their biggest client outreach initiative of the year, not involving a bill.

Traditionally, it's been the mailed holiday card. I like the ones that are actually signed by the sender and include a personal note. "If you're gonna send 'em, you gotta sign 'em," I say. Although a generic card with a law firm's name printed on the inside is better than nothing, I suppose.

In addition, we're getting more and more e-cards with each passing year. Nothing conveys "happy holidays," "thank you," "or "wishing you success in the new year" quite like a ho-hum e-mail blast sent to 800 contacts in your Outlook address book.

There are exceptions, however. If you do send an e-card, make it memorable and customize it to your firm. And that's exactly what Manatt did with its 2010 holiday e-greeting, which was voted best in class by readers of the WSJ law blog. Click here and get ready to laugh!

Another great example is this effort by Knobbe Martens, a California-based IP boutique.

My advice for the holidays?

1) Call Five People Who Matter the Most to You
Set aside an hour or two one afternoon next week to call and thank the people who have contributed the most to your success and who matter the most in your life.

2) Take Your Top Client to a Great Lunch
Schedule a lunch meeting with one or two of your top clients or referral sources before the end of the year. Celebrate the season and go someplace nice!

3) Go Visit Your Top Clients Early in 2011
Schedule Client Site Visits with your top five clients during the first quarter of 2011. Thank them for their business. Learn more about them, their companies and their industries. Ask how you and the firm can improve your performance and add value to the relationship. And leave your firm brochures back at the office. These visits are all about the client.

Finally, click here for my article entitled "Ten Marketing Tips for the Holidays."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

MPF E-Newsletter - December 2010

Last week, we distributed the December issue of the MPF E-Newsletter, which is sent to more than 5,300 law firm leaders every month.

In addition to Bob Denney's annual "What's Hot and What's Not" Report, we feature a report entitled "The State of Law Firm Leadership" by Patrick McKenna. We also lead you to some great examples of law firm social media policies.

Click here to download a copy of the newsletter, then visit our website to learn more about the topic(s) in which you're interested.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Smaller and Midsized Law Firms Need Formal Social Media Policies for Lawyers and Staff

Now is the Time to Act if Your Firm Does Not Have One in Place!

In an ideal world, common sense should prevail. But, as we all know, it's not an ideal world and we continue to read and hear about embarrassing -- sometimes even disastrous -- situations involving lawyers and their use if the Internet. In this day and age, it's way too easy to divulge confidential information, create an unwanted client/attorney relationship, run afoul of bar advertising rules, or do something foolish that you later regret.

By now, almost every Amlaw 200 law firm has developed and implemented a formal set of social media policies and procedures regarding the use of the Internet - including blogs, listservs, and social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook - by its lawyers and support staff.

We've observed, however, that most smaller and midsized firms don't yet have such policies in place. For example, we recently presented to a group of 100 firm administrators at an ALA Conference in Charlotte and asked, by a show of hands, how many had a social media policy. Three hands. We then asked how many thought their firms should have one. Nearly every hand in the room. It's one of those things that firms recognize the need to do, but never seem to find the time to actually do it.

If your firm does not have a social media policy, the time has come to get one. To assist in that regard, we've searched the Internet and found three examples of thoughtful and well-written policies created by some of the top consultants to the legal industry.

Click here to take a look.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lessons Learned from GC Panel Discusssion - November 18th in Boston

I recently had the pleasure of moderating a panel of in-house counsel at the 2010 Annual Conference presented by the New England Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. The Conference was held November 18th and 19th at The Colonnade Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. More than 120 attorneys and law firm marketing professionals attended.

Here are a few things the panelists said they like:
  • Newsletters and White Papers - timely, relevant, and well-researched

  • Industry Trade Associations - lawyers who are actively involved in them

  • Likable Lawyers - flexible and easy to work with

  • Client Feedback - informal and at the conclusion of a matter

  • Quick Answers to Quick Questions - no need to research the issue to death

  • Specialists - not "jacks of all trades"

And here are few things that don't matter very much, according to the panel:

  • Mailed Holiday Cards - save your firm's money as they really don't matter very much

  • Electronic Holiday Cards - they matter even less, no matter have clever

  • Directory Listings - Chambers USA might be the exception

  • PowerPoint Presentations - when making a pitch for business

  • History of the Firm - do today's clients really care that the firm was founded in 1872?

My good friend and colleague, Larry Bodine, was in the audience and wrote a nice article summarizing the major points. Click here to download a copy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leaders of Mid-Size Firms "Cautiously Optomistic" for 2011

Observations from International Law Firm Network Conference

Law firms leaders are feeling pretty good about 2011.

Using audience polling technology, we asked leaders more than 100 law firms (about half from the US) how they would describe their projections for 2001. Their answers:
  • 14% project "solid improvement" over 2010
  • 65% are "cautiously optimistic," with lingering concerns about the global economy
  • 18% project "flat" performance in 2011
  • Only 2% project profits per partner to decline

And firm leaders in the US seem to be on the same page.

At our inaugural Managing Partner Forum for Northeastern Law Firms, we asked the same question of managing partners of 35 mid-size Northeastern law firms. Here are their responses:

  • 4% project "solid improvement"
  • 74% are "cautiously optimistic"
  • 22% project "flat performance"

We see a good year for well-run mid-size firms, as well, with strategic planning, leadership development and marketing emerging as top priorities for many smaller and mid-sized law firms.

For articles, White Papers and more, be sure to check our website.