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Category Archives: Management

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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
NewLaw around the world and particularly in Australasia are quietly begun to call some shots, pushing old ways aside and winning some important chunks of work and clients and recruiting top people in the process. (Sean Larkan - Edge International)

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
It seems open plan offices can have some unexpected benefits, like selecting out the 'dickhead' factor. (image courtesy of BFX NZ)

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

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
Nick Jarrett-Kerr on the core competence of firms (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

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
Sciaroni & Associates a long-standing provider of business, corporate, commercial and legal services in Cambodia and Myanmar has announced the opening of its office in Laos (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

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

Get Tough on the Little Things and Impact the Big Things

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Values
Allowing partners to consistently be late for meetings, fiddle with mobile devices or take calls, even if done quietly is tantamount to what is depicted here; chaos, rudeness and ultimately will cause a break-down of communication and respect. Leaders need to nip this in the bud and set the example in doing so. (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

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)
Leaders need to develop a system to manage following up on the dozens of important, single items that crop up and need attention - via email, a web article, a tweet or a LinkedIn enquiry (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

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

Old dogs can still play while the young guns surf

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Marketing, Social Media, Trust & Respect
As lawyers have moved away from more traditional relationship building practices due to other options becoming available like online social media they may be leaving a gap for canny lawyers to take advantage of. (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

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

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

Posted in Brand, Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media
Firms are making a dumb mistake when it comes to hiring and promoting female partners

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
Silos are insidious; they can develop by stealth both vertically and horizontally and once embedded in your culture and way of doing business, can be difficult to dislodge. Left to mature they can be hugely damaging. The best bet is to recognise the danger, assess your position and start tackling the problem (Sean Larkan graphic - Edge International)

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
Getting partners or groups of partners in practice or industry sector groups working together, strategically to build practice areas, industry sector specialties or build interaction and relationships with clients can be the most powerful business building a firm does. It also has many off-shoot benefits. (Sean Larkan - Edge International)

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

All legal leaders need to know about growth via merger and alliance. . . and a touch of Swiss

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategy, Uncategorized
The latest edition of the Edge International Review 2012 - essential reading for all legal leaders and senior managers

Alternative growth structures such as Swiss Vereins, global alliances, non-merger affiliations, expansion strategies and a great deal more is covered in the latest edition of the Edge International Review. It provides essential insights for legal leaders – in fact, just what legal leaders need to know about! The review is downloadable from www.edge.ai. Download your… Continue Reading

Leadership is a skill, Manager is a role

Posted in Leadership, Management
radacina_men_in_black

Lyda Hawes is the Director of Client Services at LexBlog, the company that developed this blog. From time to time she and I have discussed the topic of management and leadership and I asked her to share her thoughts in this guest post. She also writes for LexBlog’s Client Services blog, Please Advise. Apart from this, as… Continue Reading

Is your latest big initiative truly an outflow of your vision and strategy?

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision
Too often, on further investigation, a strategic initiative or major issue taking up senior leadership's time and energy has not real connection with the firm's vision and strategy. Sometimes this is even the rule rather than the exception. Is it any wonder then that vision and strategy does not get enough attention or never truly gets implemented, reviewed or stress-tested. (Sean Larkan 2012)

Again and again I come across senior law firm executives who are frantically busy with or concerned about their latest ‘big thing’ but who on enquiry struggle to relate this to the firm’s vision and strategy. Sometimes the latest item getting all the attention has arisen as a few other key competitor firms are doing… Continue Reading

Salaried partnership – make it GOOD, not BAD or UGLY

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Partners
Good Bad & Ugly

Salaried partners as a proportion of total partners in law firms are on the increase. However, there are good, bad and not such good things about many implementations of the salaried partnership regime in firms. It makes real sense to ensure that your salaried partner structure is working in the best way possible. This means… Continue Reading

Your employees are far more powerful than you think

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Partners, People Strategy, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)
Firms seldom give proper credence to the fact that power lies with their employees and even potential employees in regard to their employment brands.

Law firms don’t recognise that the balance of power in relation to their employment brand lies not in their hands, but in the hands of their employees. To make matters worse, some of this power also lies in the hands of former employees, potential employees and other “employment stakeholders” such as recruitment agencies and digital media… Continue Reading

Losing high calibre lawyers or staff – don’t see it for what it isn’t

Posted in Brand, Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy
When something bad happens the challenges is always to retain some equinimity and try not to see it for what it is. That doesn't mean not acting, but acting with depth and not on the surface of things in a knee-jerk way

Like finding the toilet roll  empty, or getting a puncture, some things never come at a good time. But, of course, these things do happen so most of us have learned to respond with equanimity and of course maybe even do a little forward planning! The same applies to losing a really top calibre lawyer… Continue Reading

Beware the manager who speaks with a forked tongue

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized, Values
Forked tongue Sharon Larkan copyright

As a law firm leader one of your best returns on investment can come from appointing the right support services manager. A good manager can easily make a partner-like contribution or more to a firm. They do need to be the right calibre, the right fit and possess good levels of emotional intelligence and initiative. They… Continue Reading

Things we learn from young people

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Uncategorized, Values
The penultimate day in a gruelling 1300km charity cycle ride

Despite the attractive laid-back hippy, flower power and surfing cultures which were around when I was young, our fairly conservative coastal-rural upbringing meant we thought more or less everything there was to learn would come through our parents. As one ‘matured’ one was tempted to think the youth of today had it easier and was… Continue Reading

Your biggest ‘hidden’ law firm expense – and how to turn it into your best return on investment

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Partners
Not utilising your fee earners is like burning a pile of dollar notes as you walk into the office every day

It is always fascinating to hear partners talk about firm finances – usually it involves a focus on fee income, very selected expenses and 100% equity partner profit. The expense focus usually hones in on areas where they feel management is wasting money, maybe on marketing, the library, IT or support staff. Mysteriously, there is… Continue Reading

Remember to walk your fence-lines

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized, Values
As leaders and senior managers we need to constantly remind ourselves to 'walk the fence-lines' of our organisation, keeping in touch with what is truly happening and how people are feeling - also picking up on any great achievements by anyone, or issues which are troubling someone.

My wife and I bought a small farm three years ago. As the grazing was leased out to a beef farmer the quality of the boundary fencing was paramount. The lady we purchased from told me up-front (and has reminded me ever since!) – ‘now Sean, remember to walk your fence-lines‘.  She was essentially saying… Continue Reading