Ask the Authorities

Article excerpt

THE QUESTION

My firm's practice groups do not have strategic plans. How do I convince my managing partner of the benefit and need?

Julie Amos

Between the evolution of law firms and the challenging economy, the legal marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive and it is critical that firms keep a clear view of priorities. A plan ensures that the group identifies and defines the correct priorities, and chat the activities of the group support the plan.

When practice groups are required to develop strategic plans, they are more likely to have a team discussion about priorities, and a holistic view of the client experience should rise to the forefront of that discussion. The planning process itself is beneficial, removing assumptions and replacing them with facts, and ensuring that members of the team understand and endorse their collective goal.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Once a plan is in place, it serves as a vital anchor for the practice team. A plan is a tool that can help increase efficiencies, and ensure that projects have a purpose and do not fall within the dreaded category of "random acts of marketing," or beyond that to "random acts of business."

What managing partner is going to argue against increased efficiency and happier clients?

Julie Amos is the marketing director at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and is a founding member, and a past president, of the LMA Metro Philadelphia Chapter. She can be reached at jamos@kilpatrickstockton.com.

Jonathan Groner

My suggestion is to first conduct a bit of research on an industry or a specific company for which the law firm does a good deal of work. Find solid evidence--through articles, Web sites or interviews--that companies in that industry routinely develop and use strategic plans to help their business grow and to ensure that growth is thought out in advance.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Then try to obtain 20 minutes of the managing partner's time. (That may be the most difficult aspect of the assignment.) Once you are in his or her office, share your findings with the managing partner and make the point that this specific industry, which he or she knows well, uses strategic plans on a routine basis. The law firm, you can then contend in an engaging but firm manner, should use the same effective business tools that its clients have used to hasten their success. …