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Sean Larkan

Posts by Sean Larkan

New angle on NewLaw

Posted in Australasia, Brand, Business Models, Change, Financial management, Legal Profession, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Uncategorized

My colleague Jordan Furlong and I penned an article in August 2014 on NewLaw  for the ALPMA website. In that we defined NewLaw as “any strategy, structure, model, process or way of delivering legal services that represents a significantly different approach to the creation or provision of legal services than what the legal profession traditionally has employed”…. Continue Reading

Determine your law firm’s destiny

Posted in Australasia, Business Models, Change, Leadership, Legal Profession, Strategy

The way legal services are delivered to clients and how firms are structured to do so, should undergo a significant transformation. This must also be factored into planning for the future. So-called ‘NewLaw’ firms have been quick to capitalise on the opportunities this has presented, with an array of innovative structures and service delivery models all of their own. In this… Continue Reading

Don’t rush to join the ‘anti-Performance Review’ herd!

Posted in People Strategy, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Uncategorized

It seems a momentum is developing in the corporate world for organisations to move away from performance reviews, certainly the once a year, formal jobs. It is only a matter of time before this trend gets some traction within the professional services market. I would caution against this. The rationale about moving away from performance reviews… Continue Reading

Partner succession is not a standalone

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Partners, People Strategy, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Succession, Uncategorized

Arguably one of the most important things a partner should and can do for his or her firm before he/she retires is choose and groom a suitable successor. Given the ageing in the profession worldwide in recent decades succession is a subject that is getting more and more attention, and rightly so. More and more… Continue Reading

Matching, combining or switching leadership styles

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

A senior leader of a corporate client recently expressed frustration  at one of her senior manager’s continued dogmatic, almost autocratic style of leadership, which was beginning to irk a number of people in and around his team. In his defence he was only trying to get everyone else to respond to emergency situations as assertively as he… Continue Reading

Killing clients with complexity – be sure to recognise and address it

Posted in Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Legal Profession, Partners, Personal Effectiveness, Uncategorized

In talking about client relations lawyers like to talk about the importance of using simple English, killing clients with kindness and generally keeping things simple for clients. It seems years of training and our natural lawyerly DNA inhibits this. So, instead, we are killing clients with complexity and bloody mindedness. Clients use this as yet… Continue Reading

Well dang! Those nimble NewLaw firms are at it again!

Posted in Australasia, Business Models, Change, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Uncategorized

I recently posted on nimbler firms chipping away at others’ brands. Well, it seems they have been at it again – baking some more of BigLaw’s cake and eating a few more slices along the way. Following this theme, an Edge colleague (Jordan Furlong) and I recently published a short Inventory of NewLaw in Australia focusing… Continue Reading

Open Plan offices and Darwin’s natural selection bring unexpected law firm benefits

Posted in Business Models, Change, Culture, Management, Partners, People Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized

Open plan offices are not new, even for law firms, and no doubt there are a couple of examples in your region. The jury does still seem to be out though in regard to the pros and cons. While there are those who proudly espouse the virtues of ‘open plan’ with benefits like: better staff… Continue Reading

Don’t let nimbler law firms bake your cake and eat it!

Posted in Australasia, Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Personal Brand

Each year I carefully review Interbrand’s excellent report on the top 100 global brands. No professional service firm brands feature there so you may well ask, what relevance do these largely commercial or corporate brands have for law firms? The reason I do is that Interbrand provides useful summary reports as to why these brands consistently outperform… Continue Reading

Edge International Communiqué May 2013 – Firm Core Competencies, Budgeting as a Strategic Issue & Lateral Partner Integration

Posted in Financial management, Legal Profession, Management, Partners, Strategy

In the May edition of Edge International Communiqué Edge partners highlight three key focal points for legal leaders: Nick Jarrett-Kerr in ‘Core Competence and the Competitive Edge‘  considers three vital attributes that make up the core competence of a law firm,which he argues goes way beyond mere ‘competence’ – it: must imply sustainable value, in… Continue Reading

Sciaroni and Associates the new business and legal advisory in Laos

Posted in Legal Profession, Management, Strategy

A long-standing powerhouse in providing legal and business/commercial/corporate advisory services out of Cambodia and Myanmar (since 1993), Sciaroni & Associates has announced  the opening of its Laos office. Daniel Noonan heads up the office. Daniel has been advising on foreign direct investment, mergers and acquisitions and commercial regulatory matters for the past 5 years.  Prior to joining… Continue Reading

Women lawyers in Australia – how you can possibly help

Posted in Australasia, Culture, Diversity, Leadership, Legal Profession, People Strategy, Trust & Respect, Values

The President of the Law Council of Australia today published a column in the ALMJ along the lines of the title of this blog post – as a request was made for readers to complete an important survey, and given the importance of the subject-matter and the tight time-frame I have taken the liberty of… Continue Reading

Get Tough on the Little Things and Impact the Big Things

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Values

Sometimes leaders  need to be tough on some of the little things. These can have significant ramifications which are not always immediately obvious. However, because the benefits are not obvious, or seem unimportant at the time, many leaders don’t address them, also possibly feeling that they don’t want to be ‘petty’. However, as we saw… Continue Reading

How Leaders can Track Actionable Emails and Electronic Media

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

The life of a leader of a modern day law firm is full of variation, challenges and finding time to do everything. One of the toughest things for leaders to keep up with is attending to the small items – tracking and following up on actionable emails and other electronic or computer-generated items – those important,… Continue Reading

Many firms seek pre-eminence; few realise there is a price to pay

Posted in Brand, Partners, Strategy, Values, Vision

Many law firm partners want their firm to either be pre-eminent or to seek pre-eminence. Few realise that there is a serious price to pay. Look at the vision statements of most firms and chances are you will find words like ‘successful’, ‘leading’, ‘premier’, ‘top’ or similar. Nothing at all wrong with that. But the… Continue Reading

Old dogs can still play while the young guns surf

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Marketing, Social Media, Trust & Respect

Many of us who were lucky enough to be part of successful law firms of 20 years or so ago will recall how, in each of those firms, a couple of partners stood out for having impeccable client development and relationship skills. At the time we probably  assumed it was just the way things were done. There’s… Continue Reading

LEX AFRICA publishes 2013 Guide to Doing Business in Africa

Posted in Legal Profession, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

The Chairman of LEX AFRICA, Werksmans partner Pieter Steyn, recently announced the publication of the comprehensive and sought after LEX AFRICA Guide to Doing Business in Africa (PDF). Long a ‘must have’ reference for anyone doing business in or undertaking legal or professional services work in Africa, this unique Guide (PDF) is updated annually and provides a… Continue Reading

Edge Communiqué: women partners, hiring nouse and social media as strategy

Posted in Brand, Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

In the April edition of Edge International Communiqué three of my partners address important issues and provide insights and outline opportunities for the legal profession: Jordan Furlong, in “Law Firms and Women Partners: You’re Doing it Wrong‘ emphasises that if firms are following typical practices in how they promote women into equity positions they are missing a strategic… Continue Reading

Silos can be insidious and damaging and come in vertical and horizontal form

Posted in Business Models, Culture, Legal Profession, Management

One often hears partners or legal leaders mention ‘silos’ as an issue in their firm. Mostly, firms struggle to deal with this insidious threat that can, by stealth, undermine much of what is good about a firm and over time, cause extensive damage or block progress. Also, once they are embedded in the culture and… Continue Reading

Your most powerful business building can come from interaction within

Posted in Management, Marketing, Partners

Law firms have become very effective in establishing functional marketing departments staffed by highly qualified and motivated personnel. All the usual categories can be ticked – communications, publications, client relationship management, events and social media. Why is it then that one is still left with the feeling that something is not quite right, something is… Continue Reading

Are clients one-eyed when they choose your law firm?

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Personal Brand, Uncategorized

The Gouldian Finch, research conducted at Macquarie University in late 2012 has shown, uses just one eye and one side of its brain to choose its partner for life. In the study published in Biology Letters the researchers found that ‘Beauty, therefore, is in the right eye of the beholder for these songbirds, providing, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of… Continue Reading

LEX AFRICA – Africa’s leading legal network, turns 20

Posted in Brand, Business Models, Legal Profession, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

LEX AFRICA, widely regarded as Africa’s leading, and certainly its largest, law firm network, celebrates its 20th anniversary at a time when there is unprecedented interest in Africa and attention from foreign investors and businesses. From humble but determined beginnings in 1993 with just five founding firms, LEX AFRICA has grown steadily to now number 29 country… Continue Reading

Always deliver what you say you do or offer to deliver

Posted in Brand, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Trust & Respect

A fundamental of a successful brand is building trust. You build trust when other individuals who experience your service, product and brand offering trust that you will deliver on what you offer to do thereby achieving what I term ‘Brand Fusion™’. In turn this builds loyalty, that much sought-after, but rarely achieved status. But, it… Continue Reading