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Strategic Planning, Article

March 31, 2021

Law Firms Likely to Continue Quietly Trimming Employee Rosters

Staff roles, and perhaps some underproductive partners, will be scrutinized as firms consider their new normal.   Even as many firms found themselves busy with legal work amid the pandemic, several acknowledged significant layoffs, driven by outsourcing and other changes within the foundation of the law firm business model.  Mary K Young observes that people are getting by without a legal assistant, or what used to be called secretaries, outside their door. They don’t need them as much, and they don’t need receptionists.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Mary K Young | Law.com

March 29, 2021

How a Good Year Can Trip Up Firms Down the Road

Complacency and the assumption that what is working now will always work can put a darker tint on a successful financial year for law firms.  What worked last year isn’t guaranteed to work this year, and relying on that principle could in fact have a detrimental effect on success down the road.  Mary K. Young observes that a small number of firms tend to move forward in a halting fashion, taking two steps forward and then one step back. But she believes that most firms recognize that being static after success isn’t the way to replicate it moving forward.  It isn’t so much that firms have a great year and then rest on their laurels. The firm could have had a major litigation matter settle and have comparatively lower numbers the next year.

Branding, Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Mary K Young | Law.com

March 25, 2021

How Goodwin’s Big Bet on Tech ‘Convergence’ Pushed Up Revenue

Goodwin Procter has seen its top line roughly double from $678 million to $1.5 billion over the last 10 years, thanks in large part to a playbook that focuses on the intersection of technology and capital.  The firm developed a “convergence strategy” roughly a decade ago in the wake of the global financial crisis that sought to capture work from the technological expansion happening across industries.  Kent Zimmerman observes that many firms see an opportunity to not just focus on serving pure tech companies, but instead serving companies across industries whose businesses are evolving from tech-driven innovation.  Some firms realize that the credible market position to take is to be a leader in certain sectors.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Kent Zimmermann | Bloomberg Law

March 2, 2021

The Outperformers: What Sets Big Law’s Most Successful Firms Apart

Kent Zimmermann and Peter Zeughauser review how, in a difficult year, a subset of firms separated from the rest of the market with double-digit revenue and profits growth.  Standout firms are growing faster than their peers by focusing on profitability and reaping the rewards. For 2020’s most successful firms, the year offered valuable insights into the future of their workplaces, their talent and their overall trajectory.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles | Peter Zeughauser, Kent Zimmermann | The American Lawyer

February 23, 2021

Billing Can Be So Much More Than a Necessary Evil

In this article, Alex Dimitreif discusses important billing principles and the need for detailed budgets.  Law firms can no longer afford to view billing and budgeting as necessary evils or relegate them to backroom administrators. Outside counsel should seize upon the billing process as a vehicle for thoughtful discussions with clients about how assignments will be handled. Up-front exchanges about how much a matter will cost should facilitate dialogue on a client’s objectives and how best to achieve them. Interim bills should serve as informative status reports and alert clients to potential issues. Final bills should stimulate candid discussions about how the law firm performed and whether the client’s expectations were met.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles | Alex Dimitrief | ALM Intelligence Fellows

December 7, 2020

Large Law Firms Learned to Go Lean This Year—but Staying That Way Won't Be Easy

It only took being blindsided by a global pandemic to finally impress upon Big Law the importance of trimming the fat. The sudden onset of the pandemic forced law firms to quickly make cuts they otherwise wouldn’t have dreamed of. Many of those measures now seem like they were long overdue.  But the real challenge now is figuring out how to keep the weight off.  Bruce McLean notes that the caution that prevailed when the pandemic first struck is prevailing for 2021.  People believe the economic situation will be quite similar.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | R. Bruce McLean | Law.com

December 2020

How to Win and Protect Client Relationships In the Age of Remote Engagement

By bringing in-person client interactions to a virtual halt, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a digital content explosion as law firms compete for the attention of clients and prospects. A new study of in-house counsel shows that providing substantive, actionable guidance remains the best way to rise above the noise, preserve existing client relationships, and win new ones.

These findings are detailed in the report, “How to Win and Protect Client Relationships in the Age of Remote Engagement,” released by strategic communications firm Greentarget, legal consultancy Zeughauser Group, and B2B branding agency Right Hat. The August 2020 survey of 75 in-house lawyers, including 37 general counsel, offers important guidance for law firms anticipating an extended period of remote outreach

Marketing Planning, Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles

December 2, 2020

General Counsel's Simple Ask for Outside Counsel: Pick Up the Phone and Call

There are a lot of ways for attorneys to reach prospective and current clients, and the pandemic has only increased the importance of an all-hands-on-deck approach, as lawyers try to replace the face-to-face interactions that used to occur at lunches, networking events and conferences. A new survey of general counsel, conducted jointly by strategic communications firm Greentarget, legal consulting firm Zeughauser Group and B2B branding agency Right Hat LLC suggests that when the messaging is relevant, timely, novel and useful, a simple phone call will do the trick.  While law firms have gotten creative in their outreach and content production, the simplicity of a personal, relevant message goes a long way.  Norm Rubenstein observes that the fundamentals of marketing and business development have not changed. It really comes down to whether your content and service delivery are aligned with what the client wants. 

Branding, Client Service Interviews, Marketing Organization Design, Marketing Planning, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Norm Rubenstein | Law.com

November 18, 2020

To RFP or Not to RFP? A Question All Firms Need to Answer

As clients look to drive down pricing, exert influence over team composition and evaluate potential new legal counsel, law firms have to ask themselves if the juice is worth the squeeze when it comes to many RFPs. The reality is that RFPs are now a constant presence in the marketing and business development process. But just because something is prevalent doesn’t mean it’s always in the best interests of the firm.

Mary K. Young notes that the prevalence of RFPs in recent years has increased, and not always with good effect. Department resources are finite. Firms should be very selective even if they are not using marketing resources. Knowing which RFPs are worth engaging on and which ones should be met with a hard pass isn’t always easy. 

And while RFPs are a necessary evil for law firms, Kent Zimmerman notes that many firms also have room for improvement to set priorities on which ones they invest the firm’s resources in answering based on which are more likely to lead to work that uses the firm for its strengths and commands its rate.

Client Service Interviews, Marketing Organization Design, Marketing Planning, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Mary K Young, Kent Zimmermann | Law.com

October 26, 2020

2020 Is a Year of Discounts as Law Firms Prioritize Cash Flow

Collecting on legal bills during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy, but fueled by a desire to fill their coffers with cash, many firms are willing to give discounts in exchange for quick payment this year. Mary K. Young observes that law firms are often providing temporary discounts or allowing slower payments in order to maintain strong ties. For important, strategic clients, it’s necessary for the relationship partner to have conversations with clients about their cash flow. And It could be another six months, or it could be 2022, before rates and billing arrangements return to normal.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Mary K Young | law.com