Posted by Marisol Ramirez Ugarte.
In the recent years there has been an upheaval in the legal profession. Legal services, more than ever, are being required by the population. In the rise of employment for attorneys comes the need to manage legal firms in a manner which exploits the large increase in demand.
In fact, speculation on whether legal firms should adopt the structure of corporations has become prominent. According to Frank Carone, executive partner at Abrams Fensterman, “Law firms that are able to consistently bring in high-quality business and ensure that a sizable portion of the revenues go to the bottom line are the ones that will seriously excel” (Prince). He concedes that while the best interests should remain on the clients, the firm should pay attention to growth through the introduction of new legal matters, as well as a focus on profitability. A firm would do well to systematically reach out to potential clients, and referral sources through business development activities. Firms would be able to benefit their client as much as possible, which would in turn provide the greatest profitability for the firm.
Provided that a firm’s management decides to manage the firm like a business, they must consider a key element. The ability to develop and use metrics. The firm’s management would need to clearly identify which areas of law were most profitable, as well as which lawyers participated in the largest monetary gains. Inversely, those areas and attorneys seen as underperforming would need to be identified. In concert with the law firm’s strategic vision, metrics could aid the firm to reach the highest profits through the pursuit of a business model.
Given the success of those firms who have already chosen this path, many others should soon follow suit. I suspect that upon realizing they can continue to serve their clientele to their greatest potential leaders in management will rise to the task with vigor. I find most curious that most firms do not view themselves are businesses; in providing services, albeit legal ones, they are participating in a commercial transaction. Thus, I believe it only natural for the firms to manage as businesses for the benefit of its customers, and the sake of the legal firm.
Marisol majors in finance and philosophy at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.