Managing Partners Forum

This is a fantastic conference with great topics and great people. The sharing of ideas and information among managing partners is invaluable.

Jarrell B. Hammond, Esq.
Lewis Wagner, LLP - Indianapolis, IN

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White Papers

  • MPF INSIGHT
    Re-Envisioning the Law Firm:
    How to Lead Change and Thrive in the Future 

    by Managing Partner Forum, Jaffe, TheRemsenGroup

    This hard-hitting and ground-breaking report, which includes an abundance of benchmarking data drawn from two MPF surveys conducted earlier this year, serves as a wake-up call for leaders and owners of smaller and mid-size US law firms. We strongly maintain that to be successful in the future, law firms must be run more like a business and less like loose confederations of sole practitioners. For most firms, this involves change and accountability. And lawyers don’t like either. Leadership and planning are required. Here are some of our report’s major themes:

    • Firm owners must accept the fact the profession is undergoing unprecedented change and that your law firm must adapt if it wants to survive and prosper.
    • Strategic planning is no longer optional. Firms need a vision for the future and a plan to get where they want to go. “Hope and pray” is not a good strategy in a rapidly changing marketplace.
    • Firms must invest in the leadership and business development skills of their young lawyers. They are the future of your firm.
    • Importantly, law firms must proactively address issues involving problematic partners. They are affecting the culture and profitability of your firm much more than you realize.
    • The time has come for firm leaders to exercise “more leadership” and “less management.”
    You need to review this report. You need to share it with your partners. Importantly, your firm must respond to the changing marketplace. Otherwise, you may find yourselves selling buggy whips when the rest of the world has moved beyond them.

  • 2016 What's Hot and What's Not
    in the Legal Profession

    by Robert W. Denney

    For 28 years, Bob has published each December his observations and commentary about trends in the legal profession in an annual report he calls “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession.” As always, we’re delighted to feature Bob’s report, and here are a few of his observations for 2016:

    • Red Hot Practice Areas: Cyber-Security and Health Care, in the face of change to the Affordable Care Act
    • Hot Practice Areas: Energy, Environmental, Regulatory, Immigration, Cannabis
    • Mixed Bag: Commercial Litigation
    • Still Ice Cold: Bankruptcy
    Bob also writes about what’s going on with lateral hiring, artificial intelligence and alternative business structures. Always a good read!

  • Reinventing the Law Firm Business Model:
    Making the Most of Business Development
    Opportunities and Driving Long-Term Growth 

    by William Josten, Esq. and Ian Turvill

    William and Ian teamed up to write this forward-thinking White Paper to help your law firm adapt to the challenges and opportunities created by the shifting legal marketplace. Rather than proceeding with business as usual and hoping for a different outcome, today’s most successful law firms are undertaking thorough examinations of how their business models are built for the “new normal.” The five-page White Paper is divided into four chapters:

    • Client Selection: Finding Your Niche
    • Pricing and Profit Model: Choosing a Sustainable Profit Model
    • Scope of Activities: Figuring Out What You Do and What You Don’t Do
    • Winning and  Keeping the Business: Differentiating Your Firm
    We especially like the “Take Five” questions to ask about your firm and how it can do things better.

  • 2015 What’s Hot and What’s Not
    in the Legal Profession

    by Robert W. Denney

    For 27 years, Bob has published each December his observations and commentary about trends in the legal industry in an annual report he calls “What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession.” As always, we’re delighted to feature it in The MPF Weekly and include it on our website. Here are just a few of his observations for 2015:

    • Red Hot Practice Areas: Cybersecurity and Regulatory, with DC as a Hot Market
    • Getting Warmer: Real Estate, although spotty
    • Cooling Down: Commercial Litigation and Intellectual Property
    • Ice Cold: Bankruptcy
    At the end of the article, Bob predicts law firms will do just fine in the wake of unprecedented change in the profession if and only if they “do what they have to do, when they have to do it, whether they want to do it or not.”

  • 2014 What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession
    by Robert W. Denney

    For 26 years and like clockwork, Bob Denney has once again published his much anticipated “What Hot’s and What’s Not” report in early December. Bob is a veteran in law firm marketing and business development and wrote How to Market Legal Services, the first book ever published on the topic, in 1984. He is a long-standing member of the College of Law Practice Management and serves on the MPF Faculty. Here are few of Bob’s observations for 2014:

    • Client Interviews:  More firms are using them to obtain feedback and cement relationships.
    • Cyber Security: It’s fast becoming the #1 concern for an increasing number of law firms.
    • Smaller and Mid-Size Firms: They’re getting important matters that used to go the big firms.
    • Succession Planning: Firms recognize the importance but find implementation to be a challenge.
    • Psychological Profiles: More firms are using them to identify and appoint effective firm leaders.
    As Bob Dylan says, “The times, they are a-changing!” Is your law firm keeping pace?

  • Corporate Counsel Agenda 2014: Southeast
    by ALM Legal Intelligence and Baker Donelson

    Published in October 2014, this White Paper summarizes results of a survey of eighy-three (83) GCs located in the Southeastern US. The report is published by ALM Legal Intelligence in partnership with Baker Donelson and its findings are not unique to the region. The top priorities for GCs over next twelve months?

    • Positioning Legal Department as a Strategic Business Partner,
    • Creating a Corporate Culture of Compliance, and
    • Reducing the Spend on Outside Counsel.
    Are you and your firm taking steps to help your clients achieve these types of goals and objectives? 

  • 2014 Managing Partner Social Media Survey – Part 2
    by Jaffe and Managing Partner Forum

    This summer, we partnered with Jaffe to conduct the most comprehensive survey about how smaller and mid-size law firms and their leaders are dealing with social media. Part 1 was released last month and it covered managing partners’ use of and attitudes about social media. Click here to take a look. Part 2 looks at what law firms are doing in terms of policy, training and other issues. One-hundred twenty-eight (128) firms participated, and you may be surprised at how few mid-size firms are on top of the situation. Here are a few highlights:

    • Thirty-eight percent (38%) of smaller and mid-size firms have a social media policy in place.
    • Forty-two percent (42%) provide social media training; Sixteen percent (16%) make it mandatory.
    • Fifty-nine percent (59%) have a firm LinkedIn page.
    • BigLaw is way ahead in this important and evolving area. Eighty-four percent (84%) have policies and eighty-one percent (81%) provide training.
    • Enhancing relationships with current clients and referral sources is perceived to be the primary benefit social media provides the firm.
    It’s dangerous to assume that your lawyers and staff will behave properly on the Internet. Is your firm on top of the situation? If not, it should be! For starters, click here to download Jaffe’s policy template.

  • 2014 State of Digital and Content Marketing Survey
    by ALM Legal Intelligence, Greentarget and Zeughauser Group

    Although skewed toward BigLaw, the results of the 2014 version of this annual survey, which began in 2010, should be noted. The survey concludes that we’re all in “information overload” when it comes to social media, and it’s important that your law firm’s online presence be strategically directed if you want to stand out in the crowd. Among its findings:

    • You need to be on LinkedIn
    • Blog readership by in-house counsel is in decline
    • Most in-house counsel lurk, and don’t actively participate, in online forums
    • Brevity, relevance and timeliness are critical to cut through the clutter
    • Eighty-four (84%) of participating law firms (mostly BigLaw) have a social media policies in place
    • Eighty-one (81%) of participating firms provide social media training for lawyers and staff
    Stay tuned for Part 2 of our 2014 Managing Partner Social Media Survey which will be featured in next week’s MPF Weekly Update. Its findings are more relevant to smaller and mid-size firms than this report.
     

  • 2014 Managing Partner Social Media Survey – Part 1
    by Jaffe and The Managing Partner Forum

    We’re pleased to send you part 1 (part 2 will be released later this month) of our first annual survey about how law firm leaders and their firms are dealing with social media. Part 1 presents our findings of managing partner attitudes and behaviors when it comes to social media, with a specific focus on LinkedIn. One-hundred nineteen (119) firm leaders participated and here are some of the highlights:

    • Thirty-nine percent (39%) say it’s “exciting” and they love it.
    • Thirty-six percent (36%) describe it as a “necessary evil.”
    • Younger firm leaders (<50 years old) are more enthusiastic than more senior firm leaders.
    • Eighty-six percent (86%) say they have a LinkedIn profile.
    • Thirty-seven percent (37%) access LinkedIn daily, while twenty-five percent (25%) go there weekly.
    • Eighty-nine percent (89%) on LinkedIn say they belong to at least one LinkedIn Group.
    Interesting reading, indeed, with more to follow. By the way, click here to join the MPF LinkedIn Group if you’re not already a member.

  • The 2013 In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey
    by Greentarget, Zeughauser Group and Inside Counsel

    Now in its third year, The In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey takes a look at how in-house lawyers use social media in their search for and selection of outside counsel. This year, it finds that new media has hit and passed the tipping point. It’s now considered “mainstream” and its use is widespread across all age groups. Among some of its key findings:

    • LinkedIn has emerged as the “serious” social network, with nearly half of in-house counsel using it at least once a day.
    • The use of Smartphones and tablets to consume business information has skyrocketed among in-house counsel. Yet, 55% still read a print version of the daily paper.
    • Wikipedia is perceived as a legitimate information source, with 65% using it for research.
    • Blogs are effective, with 55% claiming to follow at least one attorney-authored blog.
    These highlights just begin to scratch the surface of the interesting findings of this year's survey.
     

  • Guide to Develop Individual Attorney Marketing Plan
    by John Remsen, Jr.

    There are two kinds of lawyers in private practice: Lawyers with clients and lawyers who work for lawyers with clients. That said, we believe that every lawyer in private practice should want to take the time to develop and implement an individual marketing plan. The reasons are many:

    • Clients hire lawyers, not law firms.
    • Clients hire and refer lawyers they know, like and trust.
    • Lawyers with clients better control their futures.
    • Lawyers with clients make more money and have more clout.
    We recommend that partners invest about 200 hours a year in marketing and business development. Associates should invest about 100 hours a year. Studies show that most successful rainmakers invest much more. To make sure that time is invested wisely, a plan is essential.
     

  • 2014 Report on the State of the Legal Market
    by Georgetown Law and Peer Monitor

    This 15-page White Paper draws on several other reports and surveys to present its findings and conclusions about today’s marketplace for legal services, and every firm leader should take the time to read and study it. We encourage you to take a step further and share its highlights with your partners. In it, you’ll read about market conditions - flat demand, more competition, improve efficiency, more commoditized work, non-traditional service providers - that should deeply concern law firm owners. But you’ll also read about opportunities for those firms with leadership and a willingness to innovate. Another good sign for mid-size firms: It cites evidence that in-house counsel is sending more "important" matters to smaller and mid-size firms than they were three years ago. Finally, it suggests that growth should be the outcome of well-executed, proactive, client-driven strategy, not be the strategy itself.

  • What’s Hot and What’s Not in the Legal Profession
    by Robert W. Denney

    Bob Denney wrote one of the first books on law firm marketing and currently serves on the MPF Faculty. For 25 years, he’s published “What’s Hot and What’s Not,” his much anticipated annual report presenting his observations on what’s going on in the legal profession. At just four pages, it’s short and gets right to the point. Among its highlights:

    •  Red Hot Practice Areas? Energy, Regulatory and Health Care
    •  Law Firms Are Shifting Resources from Marketing to Business Development
    •  Law Firm Mergers Are Abundant, But Nearly Half Fail Over Time
    •  GCs Are Giving More Big-Ticket Work to Smaller and Mid-Size Law Firms
    •  Smaller and Mid-Size Firms Are Paying More Attention to Succession Planning
    •  The General Outlook for the Legal Profession Looks Pretty Good
    We recommend that you read this White Paper and circulate it among your partners. Then, at your next partnership meeting, ask your partners a few questions? Are we, as a firm, in a good place? Are we keeping up with client demands and our competitors? Do we have a realistic plan to adapt to the changing times? Are we grooming capable and committed firm leaders for the future?

  • 2013 Report on the State of the Legal Market
    by Georgetown Law and Thomson Reuters Peer Monitor

    This solid and well-researched report concludes that the practice of law has forever changed and will be starkly different in the future, as compared to what things were like before the Great Recession. It says further that it's time for law firm leaders to "burn the ships" to force themselves to look at new ways to deliver services and run their firms. Globalization, the oversupply of lawyers, more demanding clients, technology, and relentless competition are causing law firms to rethink the traditional partnership model. Furthermore, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that the AmLaw 200 firms are way ahead of smaller and mid-size firms in adapting to these fundamental changes in the marketplace. And they're pulling away.

  • What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession
    by Robert W. Denney

    For 24 years, MPF faculty member Bob Denney has published his annual "What's Hot and What's Not" report on the legal industry. Basically, it's a compilation of data and information he accumulates throughout the year from a variety of sources including law firm leaders across the US and in other parts or the world. The "hottest" practice areas according to Bob? Energy, health care and sports law. Read more in Bob's 2012 year-end report.

  • Fans, Followers and Connections:
    Social Media ROI for Law Firms 

    by ALM Legal Intelligence

    This White Paper reports on a 2012 survey conducted by ALM Legal Intelligence examining the ROI – of both time and money – that law firms are spending on their social media programs. Although it's a "big firm" study (more than half of the respondents represent law firms with 500+ attorneys), smaller and mid-size firms can learn much from it. The report concludes that "law firms that have taken the plunge are starting to see some definite returns on ther investment, in terms of greater visibility as well as attracting new clients and matters."

  • Social Media Policy
    by Jaffe PR

    By now, almost all of the AmLaw 200 law firms have adopted social media policies to guide how their lawyers and staff conduct themselves and represent the firm in various online forums, including blogs, listservs, LinkedIn and even Facebook. Yet, according to audience polling at The 2012 MPF Spring Conference, fewer than half of mid-size firms have such policies in place. Even fewer mid-size firms provide training to their lawyers and staff. This White Paper by Jaffe PR will help you develop your firm’s own policies and procedures in this rapidly changing area.

  • 2011 Chief Legal Officer Survey
    by Altman Weil

    There's good news according to this 12th annual survey of general counsel. The survey reports that corporate legal departments just might be starting to ease up on cost cutting, with 56% reporting an increase in their budgets for outside counsel in 2012. Even so, "controlling costs" remains the #1 priority for GCs this year. Interestingly, AFAs (alternative fee arrangements) account for just 14% of total fees for outside counsel. On the flip side, managing partners of mid-size firm report that less than 10% of their firms' revenues are derived through AFAs.

  • 2010 Corporate Counsel New Media Engagement Survey 
    by Greentarget, ALM Legal Intelligence and Zeughauser Group

    The new social media - blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook - are revolutionizing the way lawyers and law firms are marketing themselves, and communicating with clients and other important target audiences. This recently published White Paper presents the findings of the first in-depth survey exploring how corporate counsel use various social media. According to the report, it's a rapidly growing area projected to become increasingly influential. It's all about "credentialing"; it's generational; and LinkedIn and blogs are leading the way. 

  • What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession 
    by Robert W. Denney

    Every December, Bob Denney presents his annual report entitled "What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession." This is the 22nd year he has compiled his observations and shared them with clients and friends. In this year's edition, Bob reports that law firms are adopting formal social media policies and, after a one or two-year hiatus, are getting back to holding their annual Firm Retreats.

  • 2010 Law Firms in Transition: An Altman Weil Flash Survey 
    by Altman Weil, Inc.

    Here's yet another report suggesting that alternative fee arrangements are here to stay, with BigLaw leading the way. According to the survey of mostly larger law firms, 95% say they use some form of alternative fee arrangements. Yet, the percentage of total revenue generated through non-hourly based billing remains quite low.

  • The Attorney Hiring Zone:
    Top Activities to Win New Clients 

    by BTI Consulting Group for Hellerman Baretz Communications

    This 14-page White Paper, released in November 2009, studies the hiring methodologies of in-house counsel at Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies. The research concludes that peer referral is the most powerful way for a lawyer (or firm) to catapult into the "hiring zone," and that superior client service drives peer referrals. A scheduled in-person meeting is #2 on the list. It takes seven attempts to get that meeting, and most lawyers give up after the first try.

  • Fulbright's 6th Annual Litigation Trends Survey Report 
    by Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP

    Good news for litigators! This year's trends survey, conducted by Fulbright & Jaworski, reports that litigation is up in most every area of law due in large part to the sour global economy. Contracts, bankruptcy, employment and personal injury lead the way. Electronic discovery is another hot, rapidly growing area of law. The 64-page survey report, which includes over 400 US and UK respondents, also cites an increase in the use of alternative fee arrangements for litigation matters.  

  • LexisNexis
    State of the Legal Industry Survey Report 

    by LexisNexis

    This 48-page report reveals deep divisions in how law firm leaders and in-house counsel perceive the future of the legal profession. Most corporate counsel insist that there will be fundamental changes in the way law firms operate, and that they have changed far too little in the wake of the economic downturn. Many law firm leaders disagree. On top of that, 65% of law students feel unprepared to enter the profession. 300 firm leaders, 150 in-house counsel and 100 law students participated in the survey which was conducted in late 2009.

  • What's Hot and What's Not in the Legal Profession - July 2009 Update
    by Robert W. Denney

    For 20 years, Bob Denney has delivered each December his annual “What’s Hot and What’s Not” manifesto. It’s accurate, concise and has great insight. In more recent years, Bob publishes a mid-year update and we’re pleased to feature his July 2009 update.

  • How Corporations Identify, Evaluate and Select Outside Counsel
    by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell

    It's all here in this groundbreaking white paper published by LexisNexis. The research presented concludes that clients hire lawyers, not law firms. And they hire based on the lawyer's expertise and reputation. Once hired, it's great service that keeps clients happy and coming back.