Sample Law Firm Problems and Practice Management Solutions

Below are sample law firm problems and practice management responses intended as solutions. The solutions start with piggybacking off of or changing the way lawyers work. The technology comes second. Knowledge strategies are important elements of these solutions.

1. Problem: Clients want alternative fee arrangements, especially fixed fees, but each matter is so complex and unique that we don't have comparable ones to use as fee benchmarks.

Response: Consider breaking down matters into sub-parts that may be more comparable across matters, then building a fee arrangement around each sub-part.

Discussion: Click here.

2.  Problem: These days much of our advice is rendered through e-mail. Yet we aren't able to search on that advice the way we do for word processed memoranda. This is because the e-mail is:

  • saved only in the e-mail system,
  • supposed to be saved by the lawyers in the document management system (or other e-filing location) but is not in fact being saved, or
  • lost among numerous non-substantive e-mail that is also being saved.

Response: Design a lawyer-friendly process and acquire new software, in the case of the first point. Reconsider the process lawyers must follow and possibly the software being employed, in the case of the second and third points.

Discussion: Click here.

3. Problem: We can't easily find comparable matters for purposes of:

  • putting together pitch books to seek new business,
  • establishing fixed fees for alternative fee arrangements,
  • preparing fee estimates for other new matters, and
  • constructing budgets as part of our legal project management efforts.

Response: Establish a matters and experience database.

Discussion: Click here.

4. Problem: Our lawyers can't easily find the firm expert on a particular legal issue.

Response: Establish an expertise database.

Discussion: Click here.

5. Problem: Our lawyers still waste a lot of time trying to find relevant work product (memos on the current topic, precedent agreements or interrogatories), even though we've spent a lot of money on a sophisticated search engine and major document management system.

Response: Improve the types and reliability of document metadata.

Discussion: Click here.

6. Problem: We spent a lot of money to implement an enterprise search system, but our lawyers are not using it.

Response: Conduct focus groups with lawyers to determine what they want.

Discussion: Click here.

About Us

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

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.

Visit 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.