Keeping Clients When A Key Partner Leaves

When a key partner in a large law firm moves to a competitor, do his or her institutional clients tend to leave too? The answer might depend on how much internal conflict there is at the firm left behind.

Michelle Rogan of INSEAD recently published ground-breaking research on the relationships between large, multi-unit advertising agencies and client firms. These relationships are very similar in structure to those between law firms and institutional clients, where services in several areas of professional expertise are provided through personal connections developed over time. Read more

Innovation in the Modern Age: Strategies for the New Reality

We’re halfway through 2014. How’s your practice strategy coming along?

If you’re feeling stuck, you might find inspiration in “The End of Competitive Advantage” by Columbia Business School’s Rita Gunther McGrath. McGrath’s framework makes a lot of sense for firms dealing with rapidly changing environments.

The new “playbook for strategy” outlined in McGrath’s research is premised on the creation of transient advantages instead of exploiting business-as-usual to sustain historical performance. Her logic will resonate with anyone preparing firms for new realities: Read more

It’s Okay to be an “Invisible”

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UPDATE – September 23, 2014–I’ve just finished reading “Invisibles”. It was a breath of fresh air amidst what sometimes seems like a lot of hot air filled with non-stop social media, amplified tweeting and frenzied calls for attention. This book is well-researched (some might say meticulously so, in keeping with the conclusions Zweig has drawn about Invisibles). If you have ever wondered how to balance career fulfillment with the pressure to self-promote, you should read this book. Read more

How to Start a Legal Project Management Initiative in Your Firm: 11 Ideas

Are firms becoming more attuned to the benefits of legal project management (LPM)? Are clients? Judging from a workshop I attended on this topic last month in Chicago, the answer is “yes”.

But many firms – including almost every firm I’ve encountered – still struggle with the question of how to encourage organizational and individual changes required to inculcate wide-spread adoption of LPM.

The panelists who spoke at the “LPM Showcase and Workshop” lead some of the firms that have been the most successful at LPM implementation – Baker & McKenzieLoeb & Loeb,Foley Hoag and Reed Smith. Their honest accounts of their experiences in getting the ball rolling, however, were common to organizations of more than 50 lawyers, regardless of practice or regional focus. Read more

Giving, Taking and Getting Ahead

Spring has sprung here in Vancouver with its bounty of networking events and opportunities to reconnect with colleagues.

In between fun appointments in my social calendar, I sat down to read “Give and Take” by Wharton business professor Adam Grant. If you’ve ever felt anxious about networking, skeptical about selling your services or burned out from fielding non-stop requests for help, this book is for you. Read more

A Brush with Debt: Climbing Out of the Financial Wreckage

Tax season brings the financial aspects of our careers into stark focus. Ledgers of our spending habits laid out in black and white. Nice and not-so-nice surprises in discussions with our accountants. What fun!

In this vein, the topic of financial literacy sometimes crops up in the practice management discussions I have with young professionals. The cost of living in Vancouver being what it is, student loan payments, social pressures to “keep up” with peers…it all adds up. Sometimes, it reaches a breaking point. Read more

Differentiating your Firm: the Triple-A Formula

If you’re tasked with leading strategic planning, cultural change or market positioning efforts in your firm, this post is for you.

A brand narrative describes the essence of ‘who your firm is’.  This narrative – or story – becomes the way people inside and outside your firm describe it relative to other firms. It’s an essential component of strategic projects because it sets the tone for future activities. Read more

Back to Basics: Trustworthiness and the Modern Firm

Trustworthiness permeates almost every aspect of my work with regulated professions. I’ve been on a mission to learn more about how to build, recover and regain organizational trust, and I recently attended the Summit on Building the Trustworthy Organization at Fordham University in New York. It was transformational. Read more

Seminar Announcement: Reputation Management for Recruitment Success

A law firm’s reputation sets the stage for attracting, developing and keeping talented professionals. On October 3, 2013, Bellwether Strategies principal consultant Natasha Chetty will present a seminar to the Vancouver Professional Development Network on how to build and leverage a firm’s reputation for recruitment success. Read more

Growing a practice: reputation vs. relationships

A young accountant recently asked how she should prioritize her limited marketing time: should she meet more potential clients at lunches, cocktail parties and golf tournaments, or should she build a reputation among existing clients for her niche services and expertise?

I advised her to do the latter. Here’s why: Read more