Fifty percent (50%) report that they are “very concerned” about the concentration of client relationships among senior lawyers. Another 36% are somewhat concerned. Yet, only thirty-five percent (35%) have plans in place to help transition senior lawyers toward retirement.
Which begs the questions: ‘How good is your law firm’s Key Client Account Program?‘; or, probably more importantly: ‘What processes do you have in place to ensure the clients of your firm are firm clients, not partners of the firm clients?‘
And, if you are not sure how to go about securing your firm’s key clients, check out some tips on this from Kim Tasso or Kevin Wheeler.
I would hazard a guess that every single law firm website you looked at globally would make some mention of that firm’s values. And in most cases, they are very noble – questionable as to whether they are mere words on a page, but noble.
With the above in mind, I read with fascination a post on the Closer Group’s blog recently on ‘BUSINESS ETHICS? REALLY?? YES!‘ in which they set out the following from the American Marketing Association Statement of Ethics from 2014:
Honesty: be forthright in dealings with customers and stakeholders.
Responsibility: accept consequences for marketing decisions and strategies.
Fairness: balance justly the needs of the buyer with the interests of the seller.
Respect: acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders.
Transparency: create a spirit of openness in marketing operations.
Citizenship: fulfill the economic, legal, philanthropic, and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders.
I had not seen these previously, but now I have I can say with authority that law firms don’t need to spend lots of $$$s trying to come to collective agreement on what their firm values are; just adopt, live and breathe these from the American Marketing Association and you will be streets ahead of your competitors!
As always, opinions are my own – so if you have something to say please do so in the comments section!!
Lawyers don’t want to spend time figuring out how to get work to a competent, properly skilled support team member. Firms want lawyers to prioritize billable hours and profit. This is an expensive and untenable stand-off.
For what it is worth, my experience here in Australia is that lawyers are more than happy to embrace working with Allied Professionals (my preferred term for ‘support staff’ and one I see Greg Lambert uses on The Geek In Review Podcast so it cannot be all that bad) and that most lawyers now work collaboratively with all parts of the law firm to maximise the profit of the business (while adhering to the firm’s values and social contribution).
To that end, my experience has been that most lawyers know very well who is in their support team or, at minimum, know who the quarter-back is who they can chuck the ball to (Legal Project Management 1-0-1 anyone??).
In short, it is not a one man game any longer (if it ever was), it’s a team sport and views like the one expressed by BigHand above are outdated. But, as always, these are just my views.
The secretary in question is a secretary. Not to dismiss the role secretaries play, but they are not on a roll, let alone THE roll
As far as I am aware, secretaries in law firms do not have a duty to the Court
Who owns air miles accrued while undertaking business activities (i.e., where the business is paying for the flights) would seem to be a contractual issue between an employer, its employee and the airline loyalty programme – it could well be the case that the air miles are for the use of the business, but it is equally as likely that the individual accrues the right to use the air miles. In either case, it doesn’t seem to be an issue for the regulator but for the employer – so how did we get here and how did the employer let it get here?
As Mitch points out, the secretary in question: “did nothing that impacted the quality of legal work, or that impacted clients.” so while the activity in question is clearly unsavoury, is it professionally reprimandable?
I’m interested to see, given the misconduct here is by a secretary, how this decision can be enforced? In other words, what would happen to a law firm if they hired this secretary in the future?
Every now and then you come across a case that on its bare facts doesn’t look all that interesting, but makes you scratch you head and think how can that be so? For me, this was one of those cases – so if you know anything about the system in England and Wales that allowed this case to happen, I’d be very interested to hear from you!
As usual, opinions in this post are my own – and if you have any thoughts on this, feel free to let me know.