9 Guiding Principles for a High-Impact Law Firm Strategy


When successful people talk about their accomplishments, you don’t usually hear them say, “I don’t have a clue how it happened …” or “Beats me.” What you are more likely to hear is, “I had a vision that I turned into a plan.” They planned to succeed – they set themselves up for it and execution made it happen.

So, if planning is the key to success, why does strategic planning have such a high fail rate in law firms? Are lawyers simply bad at long-term planning? Do political, compensation, or other cultural issues get in the way?

Perhaps there’s truth to much of this. But there is another, easily forgotten explanation for failure of law firms’ strategic plans: Clients are the engines of a law firm, and yet, together, strategic plans are primarily inward-facing; they are more operational than strategic. By listening and connecting to clients, you can create a strategic roadmap that puts clients first, to get where you want to go. Here is how you do it.

9 Guiding Principles

  1. Bringing the Voice of the Client into the Firm
  2. Get Lawyers Face-to-Face with Clients and Prospects
  3. Invest Smart, Measurable Nonbillable Time in Existing Clients
  4. Teach Client Service and Communication Skills to Everyone in the Firm
  5. Make Key Clients Your Partners by Building Teams Around Them
  6. Require Case Management and Budgeting for All Matters
  7. Measure Everything
  8. Adapt to the Sea Change in Technology
  9. Reward Behavior that Contributes to the Firm’s Future