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The Law Firm of the Future

Adapting to a Changed Legal Marketplace

John M. Westcott

During the “golden age of law firm growth” from the late 1960s until 2007, most large law firms adopted a default growth strategy, increasing practice areas and offices, aided by the momentum of the tail winds of law firm growth. Since the recession of 2008-2009, however, the legal marketplace has drastically changed. In this timely book, Jay Westcott suggests strategic building blocks that firms can adopt in order to adapt themselves to this radical change and prosper as lasting institutions.
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Chapter 9: Strong administrative staff

John M. Westcott

Extract

A large law firm needs a strong administrative staff. Most large law firms need an Executive Director who is a seasoned and experienced business professional, both to signal to the rest of the administrative staff the importance of the business aspects of the legal practice and to provide leadership for the staff and feedback for the top administrators. Firms should not rely on their lawyers for specialized business tasks which would be better done by an administrator; and large law firms need leadership and expertise in the areas of billing, finance, practice management, computer systems and applications, operations and space, personnel, and technical areas such as the library. Traditionally, law firms developed their own administrative staff, but increasingly large law firms require assistance from professionals who have developed their skills in large businesses, such as finance and technology. Also, they have a need for more computer-literate aspiring administrators who have upward mobility and need to be managed skillfully.

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