Law firms present a unique business challenge: firm leadership, management, organizational structure, financial performance, partner compensation and staffing. They don’t teach these things in Law School!
Beginning in 1988, SBC and Michael Smith began specializing in helping lawyers, law firms and law-related associations enhance the business side of their practice. Maggie Behar joined SBC & Associates in 2013, bringing with her 30 years of experience in these areas of specialization. Combined they have advised and consulted to hundreds of law firms throughout the US and Canada.
SBC provides advice and counsel in the following areas:
- FIRM ANALYSIS/ASSESSMENT
The scope of this service is a comprehensive review of a firm’s organizational structure, staffing, staff morale, financial performance and business focus. The outcome for this type of project is a clear definition of what is working well, where improvements can be realized and a plan of action for achieving immediate and long-term improvement.
- MEDIATION OF PARTNER DIFFERENCES
Most partnerships (like families) experience difficulties from time to time. Often these differences are very sensitive and emotionally charged. SBC assists in defining the root cause of the differences, not just the symptoms, and then facilitates a series of meetings to resolve the differences and develop a constructive plan for moving forward.
- PARTNER/ATTORNEY COMPENSATION
The glue that either holds a partnership together or pulls it apart is often partners’ compensation. SBC has vast experience in identifying creative compensation systems that take into consideration both subjective and objective measurements. These services include the development of base compensation plans, incentive plans and division of year-end profits.
- FIRM RETREATS
Michael Smith regularly facilitates annual retreats. Being out of the office for even a brief period of time allows the firm to address the most pressing issues and opportunities. Each retreat is customized for the firm and concludes with a written plan for follow-up on decisions reached during the retreat.
- PARTNER RETIREMENT/TRANSITION PLANNING
Many senior partners fail to plan for their transition out of the firm as they begin to approach retirement age. These senior partners have long-standing client relationships that may retire with them unless some proactive planning is developed and implemented. A systematic process is often invaluable toward ensuring that these critical client relationships are transitioned to other competent attorneys within the firm. Michael Smith is experienced and skilled in helping these senior partners and the firm with this difficult transition process.
- SPEECHES AND PRESENTATIONS
Michael Smith frequently speaks to law firms, bar associations, firm administrators and CLE programs. The topics are customized for each audience, and have included: Business Development; Future Direction for Law Firms; The Power of Strategic Planning; Financial Performance; Recruiting, Motivating and Retaining Staff; Change Is a Friend of Mine.