Our firm is a 8 attorney firm located in downtown Chicago. We have just hired our first administrator/business manager and he starts in two weeks. We are concerned that we get started on the right foot so our experience is successful. Any thoughts?
Relationship With Partners
On the first day of employment with the firm, the administrator must begin to develop a relationship with the firm’s partners that is based upon need, understanding, credibility and trust.
Business management in many law firms suffers from decision-making paralysis — in other
words, helpless inactivity and the inability to act decisively. Lack of effective implementation of decisions is also evident. The result: missed opportunities and a deteriorating competitive position in the legal marketplace. Administrators who can be proactive and turn this situation around will be off
to a good start to solidifying their positions in their firms.
- Start with a governance plan.
- Design and implement an effective governance plan and structure in the firm.
- Distinguish between policymaking and overall governance, practice management and
- Establish boundaries by defining roles and responsibilities for the partnership at large,
managing partner or executive committee, administrator or office manager and
practice group heads. Specify these roles in job descriptions and have them
approved by the partnership. This will help reduce the second-guessing that
inhibits decision-making in many firms.
Ask everyone concerned to respect the boundaries. Encourage attorneys to
resist second-guessing and instead allow others to perform their roles.
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC