Header graphic for print
Legal Leaders Blog Building Strength, Confidence and Well-Being

Sean Larkan

Posts by Sean Larkan

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

Ignore your law firm capital structure at your peril

Posted in Financial management, Leadership, Legal Profession

Law firms seldom pay much attention to their capital structures. This has certainly been the case traditionally. Management of this important area was and still is often delegated to ‘the partner who seems to have the best handle on the financial stuff‘, sometimes the banking partner as he or she works with financial institutions! Given… 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

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

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

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision

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

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)

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

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

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

Leaders and accessibility – don’t just open the door, walk out the door

Posted in Leadership, Personal Effectiveness, Trust & Respect

In a recent post I highlighted the importance of leader accessibility, responsiveness and reliability, effectively saying nothing beats these for importance. A reader suggested I follow up with a note on how a leader can achieve accessibility – here goes with my thoughts. I remember when I was in a managing partner role I thought… Continue Reading

Things we learn from young people

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Uncategorized, Values

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

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

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

Nothing, but nothing, beats accessibility, courtesy, responsiveness and reliability

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Trust & Respect, Values

You can be the brightest spark in the office but if people can never get hold of you, or after they do you take ages to respond or are simply unreliable, no-one is ever sure you will do the job, professionally you are going to do yourself in. I know of one professional who is… Continue Reading

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – just one more thing: PART FOUR (final)

Posted in Brand, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Thought Leader, Trust & Respect, Values

So far we have considered some 18 leadership lessons from Steve Jobs from Parts ONE, TWO and THREE of this series and how they may be relevant for legal leaders – all based on the Walter Isaacson article it the HBR. There are some things however I wouldn’t recommned for legal leaders. So what are… Continue Reading

Why law firm support service groups don’t add value, and how to fix this

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized

Many support service groups in law firms do a fair job of delivering their services and work hard at doing it, but beyond that, do not ‘add value’. That is a fairly common observation we have when we undertake firm reviews for clients and my own experience having run large law firms in three jurisdictions…. Continue Reading

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – for legal leaders – PART THREE

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision

As highlighted in PART ONE and PART TWO of this series, there are real leadership lessons for legal leaders from the career, achievements and life of the late Steve Jobs – who in just two stints of 9 and 14 years, founded and then transformed Apple Computer into the world’s most valuable company. These were the lessons… Continue Reading

Get to know your clients – or someone else will!

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)

Yes, get to know your clients, or someone else will!  Law firms that fail to obtain regular feedback from their clients run the risk of: not keeping pace with their clients’ needs and expectations – and losing their work. not knowing when a client is unhappy – and losing their work. missing out on lucrative… Continue Reading

You gotta feel sorry for those angry, difficult partners!

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Trust & Respect, Values

It does seem like we have been laying into angry or difficult partners lately – so much so, you (almost) gotta feel sorry for them! (not really, we all know how difficult they can really be and how much time and positive energy they eat up) –  3 recent posts attest to this: Difficult partners… Continue Reading