Frequently Asked Questions
How do I determine whether you can help my firm?
We believe it is vital that our potential clients get to know us before deciding if our services will be valuable to their firm. Our ability to be successful may depend on how well we work together and how we are received by your partners. Credentials aside, we understand that knowing our personalities and our styles is important to deciding if we are a good match for your firm.
Typically, we start with one or more telephone conferences or a meeting with you at the firm to discuss your needs. During the discussions we share our preliminary opinions and the approach we would likely take in addressing your needs. The initial meeting provides the opportunity for both you and us to gain a full understanding of your needs and our ability to meet those needs. As a result of these discussions and at your request, we prepare a proposal for your consideration. There is never a charge for the initial discussions.
How do you charge for your services?
We believe our clients should decide how they are charged for our work. Whenever we submit a proposal for a particular scope of services, we will offer a choice of billing methods, which may include a flat fee, monthly retainers, or hourly billing.
How do you charge for travel time?
We don’t charge travel time to and from a client’s office or retreat site within the continental United States. Our philosophy is that we should get paid for providing services that benefit your firm. We do not believe you should pay for travel time. As a result, we hope that neither your location nor ours will discourage you from engaging our services.
What sized firms do you serve?
We describe our clients as small to mid-sized firms. However, size is relative. A small firm in New York City or San Francisco may be larger than a large firm in Grand Rapids or Providence. Most firms we work with are between 25 and 125 lawyers; we have had several clients of less than ten lawyers and even a couple of solos. While we find that many of the issues and solutions tend to be the same regardless of firm size, we are not looking to provide services for the mega-firms, as do some of the larger law firm consulting organizations.
As consultants, how do you find working with small or mid-sized firms different than working with larger firms?
We can make a real difference when working with small to mid-size firms. We work directly with the lawyer and non-lawyer management team and “partner with the firm” to reach desired goals. Large firms are run by leadership and management teams with little, if any, input for the practicing lawyers. Consultants working with those firms are simply making recommendations to be adopted by the leadership groups. Small and mid-sized firms present a very different challenge, as the consultant is working within a culture in which all partners participate and make the decision to adopt and implement recommended changes. We also provide a personal approach to consulting rather than a “canned approach.” This philosophy allows us to better understand and meet desired goals. Frankly, we are well experienced with a wide variety of firm cultures and enjoy that challenge.
What are the areas in which you consult?
We work with law firms on most management and practice issues. Our services include Strategic Planning, Management and Governance Audits, Buy-in and Withdrawal Strategies, Practice Group Organization, Partnerships Agreements, Retirement and Succession Planning, Partner and Associate Compensation, Profitability Analysis and Enhancement, Practice Group Profitability, Hiring Structure and Implementation, Associate Training and Career Planning, Associate Retention, Effective Delegation, Paralegal Profitability, Conflict Management, Crisis Management and Turnaround, Time Management, Billing and Collection, Alternative Billing Methods, Mergers and Acquisition, Firm Branding, Marketing Plans, Client Surveys, Facilitation of Meetings and Retreats.
Do you have an arrangement for continuing assistance?
Some of our most successful arrangements involve providing advice and assistance on a continuing basis. In return for a modest monthly retainer, we provide virtual support to the management partner offering unlimited telephone and e-mail advice, resource materials, and needed help.
Do you really provide your clients with your cell phone number?
Yes. Serving our clients is our priority. We are committed to doing our best to be available 24/7 should our clients get into a difficult situation or need immediate service. We do shut our cell phones off when in meeting or when sleeping, which hopefully gives our clients the courage to call night or day, without worrying about interruption at an awkward time. However, our clients quickly learn we have our phones on most of the time and return calls promptly.
What makes you different than other consulting groups?
We get to know our clients. We learn about our clients. We begin to gain understanding of our clients. We learn about and understand their needs. We create recommendations, techniques and strategies to work within individual client cultures. We work with the receptionists on up to the Managing Partner to ensure success. We invest our experience and knowledge in clients. We enjoy working with our clients to help build on current success. We understand how to work with diverse personalities and cultures to gain success.
How do I buy your books?
Most of our books are available from the American Bar Association and can be purchased on their website.