Fatal Fascination of the Familiar

There’s a common disease that plagues many of today’s law firms, it’s referred to as the Fatal Fascination of the Familiar (FFF). The signs of the disease are:  inability to grow the practice, practices more interested in exploring  possible exceptions rather than focusing on being exceptional, each attorney acting as its own law firm (silo-ite- is),  minimal use of technology, lack of strategy, focus on the billable hour vs. focusing on effective and realization rates.

The inability to accept or embrace change is the root cause of the FFF.  The FFF becomes a barrier to dialogue; it creates walls between the older and younger attorneys in a firm.  It generates power through individual agendas vs. firm objectives. It prohibits efficiency and effectiveness and it can ultimately cause the death of a practice.

There’s not one thing that can cure the FFF.  Recovery takes commitment, planning and patience.  The first step is one of a reality check, and it starts by asking the following questions: What’s the makeup of your firm?  Is there a gap between the older and younger generation of attorneys?  Has the firm committed to growth but has been unable to do so? Are practice meetings more about who can deliver the best argument vs. discussing solutions or best practice?  Is there an over arching strategic plan that encompasses business and marketing plans for the firm or are the plans specific only to the individual attorneys?  Does the firm abide by certain standards?  What does the firm measure in order to determine if it is successful?

Consider the following treatment:

  • Confirm you firm’s mission and vision
  • Create time to discuss strategy, make sure the discussion includes a blended group of attorneys; various specialties and age.
  • Have the assigned managing partner or managing committee determine what measureables the firm should focus on, make sure they connect with the firms mission, vision and strategic plan.
  • Look for ways to market the firm as one – website, newsletters, community outreach, events, etc.
  • Create a technology committee and assign them with establishing small ways of incorporating IT into the firm.
  • Create a finance committee to evaluate the revenue cycle of the firm, remember cash is king.

These are merely ideas on potentially cure FFF.  Don’t let the past get in the way of your future.