My Blog - Connecting the Dots

How a practice management technique called knowledge strategy can help law firm leaders achieve strategic goals – ideas from a former AmLaw 20 senior partner.


The economics of practice management (Pt. 1 of 2)

Posted by Jack Bostelman | Apr 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

It is Spring 2012 and preliminary 2011 financial results for more than half the AmLaw 100 have been published. Keith Mayfield, chairman of the AmLaw 100 firm introduced in my first post, somberly reviews these results in his office one evening when the phones have finally quieted. While revenues and profits per partner are up at many firms, they are down at many others. Keith wonders how many of those increases in profits per partner were engineered through gimmickry, such as de-equitizing partners. More significantly, at the firms he considers peers, the numbers show a disquieting trend: Revenues are up slightly, but expenses are up more. Profits per equity partner, the litmus test for partner morale, are down several percentage points. Unfortunately, these averages accurately presage his firm's results, which haven't yet been published. Keith concludes that external forces, mainly client fee pressures amidst increased competition, are responsible for these trends. He wonders what his firm can do to turn this profit squeeze around before the situation becomes precarious. He is well aware that even a solvent firm can collapse quickly if its partners lose confidence in the firm's future and its leadership.

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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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How a practice management technique called knowledge strategy can help law firm leaders achieve strategic goals – ideas from a former AmLaw 20 senior partner.