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How to get a practice group to improve how it functions

Posted by Jack Bostelman on Apr 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Too busy serving clients to invest in the future

Keith Mayfield, chairman of an AmLaw 100 firm, is pondering recent one-on-one meetings he held with his practice group leaders. Most had lots of ideas about

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how to make their groups work better. But progress has been very slow all around.

“As soon as I get a break in client work I'm going to get the checklists initiative going,” said one leader hopefully.

“I sent an e-mail two months ago asking our lawyers to send their recent good precedents to our paralegal but we've hardly collected anything,” complains another.

“I can't get anyone in our group to update our intranet and the paralegal doesn't know enough about the substance to do it himself,” says a third leader in frustration.

Keith realizes that the common thread is that client work is too pressing for everyone. All his firm's lawyers are too busy serving the present to invest in the future. But he's unsure how to break the cycle.

“How to (Re)Start a Practice Efficiency Program”

April 28, 2016 - 12:00 Noon, Eastern (30 minutes) - Free webinar

You've heard lots of ideas for practice improvement and efficiency projects. Maybe your firm's past efforts have faltered and need a restart. Maybe you haven't tried yet. In either case, which projects should you start with? And how do you get them started?

This program explains:

  • How to conduct a quick needs assessment to learn what efficiency improvements are most needed
  • Why the input should be sought from the practitioners themselves
  • How to prioritize among competing project ideas
  • Why the recommended approach also leads to an improved success rate in implementation

Register Here

There is a way that works

My ABA group is sponsoring a free webinar this Thursday at 12:00 Noon, Eastern (30 minutes), that addresses Keith's problem – how to get busy practitioners to make the time for practice group improvement projects at large and medium sized firms. The webinar features a case study by a practice group leader at Chapman & Cutler who explains his techniques for advancing his group's improvements in collaboration and avoiding re-inventing the wheel. His firm leveraged the group's success to make similar improvements in other practice groups.

The webinar also features the leader of the practice innovation program at 700-lawyer Baker Donelson. The program, which has been operating successfully for over 10 years, extends to all practice groups. This leader describes how the firm has been able to move from their first initiatives to a holistic approach that incorporates practice innovation into firm culture.

This webinar is the fourth in the ABA group's “Practice Smarter” series. A full program description and registration link are in the sidebar. Archives of past webinars may be accessed here.

[Photo credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. /  csp4794726]

About the Author

Jack Bostelman

Jack Bostelman is the president and principal consultant of KM/JD Consulting LLC. Before founding KM/JD Consulting, Jack practiced law in New York for 30 years as a partner of pre-eminent AmLaw 20 firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

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KM/JD Consulting LLC renders impartial practice management advice to law firms on improving efficiency, increasing profits and reducing risk, emphasizing knowledge strategy.

Jack Bostelman, President

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Before founding KM/JD Consulting LLC, Jack practiced law in New York for 30 years as a partner of pre-eminent AmLaw 20 firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

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