News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Understanding the Business of Law: Thinking Like the Client

ThnikingC|M|Law Library encourages you to look at this October 2012 report from ALM Legal Intelligence entitled Thinking Like Your Client: Strategic Planning in Law Firms.

This report is co-sponored by LexisNexis|InterAction & LexisNexis|Redwood Analytics and authored by Cathy Lazere and Jennifer Tonti.  Cathy Lazere, a former editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, is a freelance writer.  Jennifer Tonti is Senior Research Director at ALM Media.

This report notes that there is a difference between the practice of law and the business of law.  Recent economic conditions have only served to reinforce the  importance of  these differences.  This report highlights that most law firms have a thorough and detailed understanding of the practice part; but lack skills and understanding with the business of law.

The authors state that the legal community is facing big issues … ones that are not easily solved. But the same big issues seem to surface every year, with every survey. In too many ways, the slow pace of change is inhibiting growth and limiting progress.

  • Revenue is the top priority in most strategic plans. Yet, almost half of the respondents are remiss in building, tracking and measuring client loyalty and satisfaction. Are firms overlooking the direct link between revenue and satisfied customers?
  • Profitability is the second strategic plan priority. But, fewer than half are actively focused on a non-billable hour strategy, and more than half can’t yet tell if alternative fee arrangements (AFAs ) are more profitable than hourly rates.  AFAs and various pricing models have been around for a few years; they are not going away. Isn’t it time to honestly reexamine the elements that make your firm profitable?
  • Talent acquisition/retention holds the third top spot for strategic priorities, although laterals dominate the discussions and, apparently, everyone’s plans. How sustainable are growth models tied to an on-going “musical chairs” game of lateral talent shifting from firm to firm? Is anyone focused on a plan for organic growth?

Thanks to for the tip.

Opening a Solo Practice – Some Resources

solo-by-choice-2011-2012With C|M|LAW’s  Solo Law Practice Incubator  on the way, you may be thinking about starting your own law practice. If you need some information to help you decide, try:


This Just In: Solo by Choice

The 2011-2012 edition of Solo by Choice: How To Be the Lawyer You Always Wanted to Be [find it] starts by acknowledging the fact that not all law school dreams are realized. Some law grads find themselves unhappy with firm jobs, wondering what it would be like to follow their dream of practicing on their own. This book is intended to guide these solo aspirants along the path to a successful solo career. Chapters cover making the decision to go solo, planning the move to solodom, practicing solo, and marketing yourself. A copy is available for checkout from AO66.

Getting A Solo Practice Off the Ground – Legal Entrepreneurship Series

Interested in opening your own practice at some point, and you don’t know where to begin? Join us on Wednesday, October 5, at noon in room 11 for a panel discussion of solo practitioners of the C|M|LAW Solo/Small Firm Task Force – Beth Thomarios (Class of ’99), Nathan Wills (Class of ’04), and Sheronda Dobson (Class of ’08) – as they address some key issues on your “checklist” of things to think about as you explore opening your own practice, including:

* Planning
* Set up
* Client Relations
* Fees
* Learning, Growing & Slowing
* Ethics & Malpractice
* Marketing
* Websites and Technology

Please sign up through the Symplicity Events tab or RSVP with OCP at  We look forward to seeing all of you next Wednesday!

This Just In: The 2011 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide

It has the makings of an essential practice book. From ABA Best Sellers: “This annual guide is the only one of its kind written to help solo and small firm lawyers find the best technology for their dollar. You’ll find the most current information and recommendations on computers, servers, networking equipment, legal software, printers, security products, smartphones, the iPad and anything else a law office might need. It’s written in clear, easily understandable language to make implementation simpler if you choose to do it yourself, or you can use it in conjunction with your IT consultant. Either way, you’ll learn how to make technology work for you.” Find a copy of The 2011 Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide at KF320 .A9 S66 on the Atrium level.