Maximizing Law Firm Profitability: Hiring, Training and Developing Productive Lawyers

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Debra Forman

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Whether you practice with a small group of lawyers or manage a large law firm, Debra Forman's Maximizing Law Firm Profitability: Hiring, Training and Developing Productive Lawyers will help you become more effective, productive and successful.
Completely rewritten by an acknowledged expert, this comprehensive resource will enable you to better manage your practice and effectively realize the potential of junior colleagues.
With practical advice for legal professionals that is updated two times every year, its coverage includes:
Building a unique blueprint for your firm's success
Establishing hiring and integration procedures for summer and lateral associates and lateral partners
Creating professional development programs for associates and partners
Formulating social media guidelines
Standardizing effective evaluation processes
Instituting elevation and development policies
Following personal branding standards
Focusing on client service
Developing delegation and feedback techniques
Fostering internal and external relationships

Book #00614; looseleaf, one volume, 510 pages; published in 1991, updated as needed; no additional charge for updates during your subscription. Looseleaf print subscribers receive supplements. The online edition is updated automatically. ISBN: 978-1-58852-053-1

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  • Availability: Available
  • Brand: Law Journal Press
  • Product Type: Books
  • Edition: 0
  • Page Count: 510
  • ISBN: 978-1-58852-053-1
  • Pub#/SKU#: 614
  • Volume(s): 1

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  • Debra Forman

Debra Forman is a ProfessionalCertified Coach (PCC) and founder of Pinstripe Coaching, an executive coachingand training firm. Debra held senior positions at three major Canadian lawfirms before establishing Pinstripe Coaching. Sinceforming Pinstripe, Debra has workedwith more than 2,000 clients and hasprovided over 25,000 hours of executive coaching and training services with a focuson business development and practice management coaching. Building on more than30 years of legal and business experience, Debra partners with legal and business clients inindividual and group coaching sessions that help them realize theirprofessional and personal goals.

Anacknowledged expert in law firm management, Debra is regularly engaged tofacilitate law firm retreats across the globe. Leveraging her expertise in business development, Debra produced 70 videos in her MakingRain series, created in partnership with Canadian Lawyer Magazine.  In January 2016, Debra launched AfterIt Rains, a video/blog seriesthat focuses on being a trusted advisor, generating business and retainingclients. Her videos and blog can be found at

Based in downtown Toronto, Debra has an international coachingpractice. Debra has coached clients in Alberta, Argentina, Belgium, Brasilia,Brazil, British Columbia, California, Chile, Colorado, Costa Rica, Czechia,D.C., Denmark, Dubai, Finland, Florida, France, Germany, Illinois, Ireland, Italy,Japan, Kentucky, Latvia, Louisiana, Luxembourg, Maryland, Mexico, theNetherlands, New Jersey, New York, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia,Oklahoma, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Poland, Quebec, South Carolina, Spain,Sweden, Switzerland, Texas, Turkey, United Kingdom and Washington,face-to-face, or by telephone or Skype.

Table of Contents


Defining Profitability: Your Blueprint for Success

§ 1.01         Introduction

§ 1.02         Defining Profitability

[1]          Legal Talent

[a]          SummerAssociates

[b]          Defining theOCI Process

[c]          Associatesand Lateral Associates

[d]          Counsel

[e]          Partners

[f]           ManagingPartner

[g]          Rainmakers

[h]          ServicePartners

[i]           LateralPartners

[j]           SpecialCounsel

[2]          Practice Areasand Practice Group Leadership

[a]          PracticeGroup Leadership

[b]          PracticeGroup Leader Responsibilities

[3]          FirmLeadership

[4]          EvaluationProcesses

[5]          CareerDevelopment

[6]          LawyeringSkill Development

[a]          FormalTraining

[b]          InformalTraining

[7]          ProfessionalDevelopment

[8]          Business andClient Development Focus


Summer Associates and Lateral Associates: MaximizingProfitability Through Effective Hiring


§ 2.01         Introduction

§ 2.02         HiringSummer Associates

§ 2.03         FollowingNALP Guidelines

§ 2.04         NALPPrinciples and Standards

§ 2.05         ASystematic Approach to Summer Associate Hiring

§ 2.06         DefiningYour Hiring Criteria

[1]          Skills

[2]          PersonalQualities

[3]          Behaviorsand Values

§ 2.07         ApplyingHiring Criteria in Entry-Level Recruitment Process

[1]          ReviewingResumes

[2]          EffectiveInterviewing Skills

[3]          EvaluatingStudent Candidates and Making Offers

[4]          TrackingRecruiting Statistics

§ 2.08         TheBehavioral Interview—Keys to a More Effective Recruitment Process

§ 2.09         AssociateLateral Hiring

§ 2.10         TheInterview Process

[1]          EnsuringConfidentiality

[2]          ChoosingYour Interview Teams

[a]          InitialInterview Team

[b]          CallbackInterview Team

[c]          Follow UpInterview Team

[3]          Goals forEach Interview Phase

[4]          GatheringEvaluative Information

§ 2.11         WorkingEffectively with Search Firms

§ 2.12         Diversityand Recruiting

§ 2.13         Sample JobDescriptions for Law Firm Recruiting Professionals

[1]          LegalRecruitment Director

[2]          LateralRecruitment Director

[3]          AttorneyRecruiting and Development Coordinator


Lateral Partners: Maximizing Profitability ThroughEffective Training

§ 3.01         StrategicPlanning for Bringing in Lateral Partners

§ 3.02         InternalPlanning for Onboarding Laterals

§ 3.03         Choosing aTeam to Oversee the Process

§ 3.04         Responsibilitiesof the Committee

[1]          Recruitment

[2]          DueDiligence

[3]          Integration

§ 3.05         SelectionCriteria

[1]          The “What”Criteria

[2]          The “WhyCriteria

[3]          The “Who”Criteria

[4]          PersonalQualities and Cultural Fit

[5]          Next Steps

§ 3.06         TheLateral Partner Recruitment Process

[1]          InternalDiscussions

[2]          ProfessionalLegal Search Firms

[a]          ContingentSearches

[b]          RetainedSearches

[3]          Advertising

[4]          SamplePartner Candidate Selection Criteria

[a]          PracticeConsiderations

[b]          CulturalConsiderations

[5]          Determiningthe Materials that Each Candidate Will Be Asked to Submit

[a]          ProfessionalResumes/Curriculum Vitae

[b]          Lists ofRepresentative Engagements

[c]          Client Lists

[d]          Three Yearsof Billing/Collection Figures

[6]          BusinessPlans

[a]          Permissionsto Conduct Background or Credit Checks

[b]          References

§ 3.07         TheInterview Process

[1]          CandidateConsideration

[a]          Expectations

[b]          Respect andHonesty

[c]          Responsiveness

[2]          Screeningthe Applications

[3]          The InitialInterview

[4]          Follow UpInterviews

[5]          DecisionMaking Factors

[6]          CompensationIssues

[7]          ChoosingTitles for Lateral Hires

[8]          FinalMeeting

[9]          CheckingReferences

§ 3.08         EvaluatingPortable Client Relationships and Revenues

[1]          Overview

[2]          VettingLateral Partners’ Portable Relationships

[a]          ProductionValues and Stage Setting

[b]          Steps to VetPotential Lateral Practices

[i]         Endorsement

[ii]        Goal Accomplished Assessment

 [c]         Vanishing Act: Now You See It, Now YouDon’t

[d]          Fulfillmentof Suitor Firm’s Strategic Plan

[3]          VettingProcess

[a]          Role ofLateral’s Business Plan

[b]          BusinessPlan Format

[c]          Candidate’sVetting of Suitor Firm—Know Your Audience

[4]          EfficientVetting

[a]          MinimizingVetting Burden

[b]          ConductingClient Reference Checks

[5]          PredictingFuture Success

[a]          EconomicAssessment

[b]          Process Assessment

[6]          Summary

§ 3.09         Sellingthe Firm in Lateral Recruiting

[1]          The LateralAttorney Mindset

[2]          Deliveringthe Message

[3]          Selling inEvery Interaction

[a]          Selling inthe Interview

[b]          Selling withthe Firm’s People

[4]          A Final NoteAbout Offers

§ 3:10         Follow-Upto a Successful Recruiting Effort

[1]          Announcingthe Decision within the Firm

[2]          Announcingthe Decision Outside of the Firm

[3]          Details,Details, Details

[4]          Orientation

[5]          SpecificActions for Partners

[6]          SpecificActions for Practice Groups

[7]          Planning forthe Future

§ 3.11         LateralPartner Integration

[1]          ProtectingYour Firm’s Investment

[2]          EffectiveIntegration Strategies

[a]          Pre-IntegrationPhase

[b]          On-BoardingPhase

[c]          Sustainingand Maximizing Phase



Professional Development for Competence,
Performance, and Results

§ 4.01         YourLawyers’ Professional Development: Key Capital Investment

§ 4.02         TrainingLawyers to Deal with the New Competitive Firm Culture

§ 4.03         ChoosingYour Target Population

§ 4.04         What Doesthe Target Audience Need to Know and Do? Choosing the Subject Matter

[1]          AligningProfessional Development with the Firm’s Strategic Goals

[2]          Why and Howto Do a Needs Assessment

[a]          Benefits ofNeeds Assessment

[b]          Summary ofthe Needs Assessment Process

[c]          Program andResource Development

§ 4.05         How CanThey Best Know and Do It? Choosing Delivery Strategies

[1]          ProfessionalDevelopment Strategies in Context:
The Nine Performance Factors

[2]          When theFocus is Competence

[3]          DevelopmentStrategies for Law Firms

[a]          Frameworks

[b]          Work-BasedLearning

[c]          Job Aids

[d]          InformalLearning

[e]          FormalInstruction

[f]           Self-Study

[g]          PerformanceFeedback

[h]          InformationResources

[4]          Pilot-Testingand Evaluation

§ 4.06         SpecialConsiderations

[1]          Obtaining CLEand Other Continuing Education Credit

[2]          SupportingDiversity

[3]          UsingInternal Faculty

[4]          UsingExternal Consultants

§ 4.07         ProgramLeadership and Resources

[1]          ProfessionalLeadership and Staffing

[2]          Developingand Working with a Budget

[3]          ProfessionalDevelopment Committees and Office/Practice Area Resources

§ 4.08         Examplesof Real-World Approaches

[1]          CompetencyModel and Practice Milestones at Blackwell Sanders

[2]          SampleIndividual Professional Development Plan

[3]          Small CaseProgram

[4]          Work-BasedLearning at Proskauer Rose LLP

[5]          SampleAssociate Orientation Exercise

[6]          CoordinatingTraining Logistics

§ 4.09         Bibliography


Associate Development: Maximizing ProfitabilityThrough Legal Talent Development

§ 5.01         TakingControl of Your Practice: Associates’ Responsibility for Managing Their OwnExperience

§ 5.02         Why TalentManagement Matters: What Associates Need to Know

[1]          Introduction

[2]          Arriving atthis Point

[3]          What theFuture Holds

[4]          ManagingPerformance at an Organic Level

[5]          Using FirmResources

§ 5.03         Act Likean Owner

[1]          Goal Setting

[2]          Manage YourTime




Maximizing Profitability: Meeting and ExceedingExpectations


§ 6.01         Introduction

§6.02         Successful Attributes

§ 6.03         It Is All About Communication

§ 6.04         Avoid “It’s Good Enough”

[1]          Stay Focused on Your Listener

[2]          Control How You Market Yourself

[3]          Manage Expectations, Yours and Thoseof Others

§ 6.05         Key Action Steps


Workplace Balance: Drive Your Professional CareerForward

§ 7.01         Introduction

§ 7.02         Road of Best Intentions

§ 7.03        Stay in the Driver’s Seat

§ 7.04         Four Immobilizing Blocks to YourEffectiveness

[1]          Your Numbing Voice of Negativity

[2]          Your Assumption Based on PastExperience

[3]          Your Interpretation of Events

[4]          One Size Fits All Problems

§ 7.05         Get Back on Course


Maximizing Profitability: Using Social MediaEffectively


§ 8.01         Introduction

§ 8.02         Values ofNetworking and Social Networking

§ 8.03         SocialMedia and Social Networks: Defined

§ 8.04         SocialMedia Marketing and Social Networking

§ 8.05         Networking: Communication + Relationships

§ 8.06         LINKEDIN: Business Opportunities For Lawyers

[1]          Create aStrong Profile

[2]          Add Contacts

[3]          Use LinkedInStrategically

§ 8.07         YouControl Your Social Media Presence

[1]          You Want ToBe with Your Clients and Prospects

[2]          Be Strategic

[3]          It Is AlwaysOn


Practice Skill Development

§ 9.01         Importanceof Practical Skill Development

[1]          Fostering Relationships andManaging Expectations

[2]          Writing andSpeaking Persuasively; Delivering Your Messages Clearly

[3]          DelegatingEfficiently and Building In Follow Up Measures

[4]          Listening toYour Audience and, if Necessary, Reframing Communication

§ 9.02         WritingSkills Training

[1]          What YourFirm Can Do

[a]          Define Goals

[b]          Decide onWriting Program Participants

[c]          Determinethe Extent of the Program

[d]          Decide onthe Curriculum

[e]          Decide WhoShould Teach

[f]           MusterProgram Support

§ 9.03         NegotiationSkills Training

§ 9.04         Developinga Performance/Project Management Skills Training Program

§ 9.05         BuildingProject Management Effectiveness

[1]          EmergingPractices

[a]          Six Sigma

[b]         KnowledgeManagement

[2]          Technology Driven

[3]          ManagementTraining and Upward Reviews

[4]          So WhatShould OUR Firm Do?


Direct Your Values Quotient to Control Your Success

§ 10.01       Introduction

§ 10.02       MonetaryValue

§ 10.03       IntangibleValues

[1]          Your ValuesQuotient

[2]          Communicationas Value

[3]          Image andPersonal Branding Values

[4]          ProfessionalService Values

§ 10.04            Leverage All Your Values


Maximizing Profitability: Be Visible and BrandEffectively

§ 11.01       Introduction

§ 11.02       You AreYour Brand

§ 11.03       Make theRight Impression

[1]          Clarity ofMessage

[2]          Build inPersonal Controls

[3]          Be Visibleand Have a Voice


Effective Evaluations

§12.01       Introduction

§12.02       Assessment and Goal Setting

§12.03       Implementation

§12.04       Developing the Review Messagefor Each Associate

§12.05       Enhancing participation inReviews

§ 12.06       IncludeAssociates in Evaluations

§ 12.07       EmphasizeFuture Performance

§ 12.08       ShareFinancial Data with Associates

§ 12.09       SampleAssociate Evaluation Policy

§ 12.10       SampleAssociate Evaluation Form

§ 12.11       SampleAssociate Self-Evaluation Form


Maximizing Profitability: Stay Engaged – Always HaveSkin in the Game

§ 13.01       Introduction

§ 13.02       EvaluateYour Commitment

§ 13.03       It Is AllAbout Your Time

[1]          Own YourTime: Pace Yourself

[2]          Bill YourTime Effectively

[3]          AllocateYour Time Effectively/ Work Smart


Individualized Career Guidance and Mentoring

§ 14.01       Introduction

§ 14.02       Career PathPlanning

[1]          Organizingand Analyzing Information for Your
Career Plan

[2]          The CareerDevelopment Plan Outline

[a]          Your Vision

[b]          SubstantiveKnowledge Goal/Professional Development

[c]          PracticeSkills Training Goals

[d]          ClientService and Development Goals

[e]          PersonalSkills Training Goals

[f]           FirmSupport

§ 14.03       Mentoringas a Part of Career Planning

[1]          FormingMentoring Circles

[2]          Guidelinesfor Mentoring Circles

[3]          PossiblePitfalls

[4]          Summary

§ 14.04       Mentoringand the Competency Model

§ 14.05       Coaching

[1]          Introduction

[2]          WhatCoaching Offers

[3]          A LearningModel

[4]          Attorney andProfessional Administrative Staff Development

[5]          How theProcess Works

[6]          Externalversus Internal Coaches

[7]          MeasuringReturn on Investment

§ 14.06       Making theTermination Decision—Transitioning a Lawyer Out of the Firm

[1]          Introduction

[2]          Making theDecision: Factors to Consider

[3]          Preparingfor the Separation Meeting

[4]          Plan for aSmooth Transition

[5]          Action Plan

§ 14.07       OutplacementCounseling Services

[1]          “Outplacement”Defined

[2]          The Value ofOutplacement Services to Lawyers

[3]          SpecificServices Offered by Outplacement Providers

[4]          Lawyers inTransition Who No Longer Want to Practice Law

[5]          Why FirmsProvide these Services to Departing Lawyers

[6]          SelectingOutplacement Providers for Lawyers

§ 14.08       Creating anAlumni Program in your Firm

[1]          CreatingPositive Long-term Relationships with Transitioning Attorneys

[2]          Reconnectingwith your Firm Graduates

[3]          Benefits ofCreating an Alumni Program

[4]          Organizingan Alumni Program


Firm Leadership

§ 15.01       Introduction

§ 15.02       Motivatingthe Next Generation of Firm Leaders

[1]          The Numbers

[2]          Motivation

[3]          Generationsand Diversity

[4]          What’s Next?

[5]          DefiningLeadership Competencies

[6]          The ManyFaces of “Leadership”

[7]          FunctionalCompetency and Mindset

[8]          Steps toDeveloping Leaders

[9]          PotentialPitfalls

[10]        Summary

§ 15.03       SuccessionPlanning: Developing Law Firm Leaders

§ 15.04       A Guide toCreating Leadership Development Plan


Associate and Counsel: Elevation and Development

§ 16.01       GettingElevated to Your Next Level

[1]          Act Like anOwner

[2]          Manage YourTime

[3]          Foster Relationshipsand Manage Expectations

[4]          CommunicateEffectively

[5]          DelegateEfficiently

[6]          Listen toYour Audience

[7]          MakeCommitments that You Can Keep



Focusing on Partnership Needs: Development,Succession, Transition

§ 17.01       Developing Partners

[1]          WhyPartners?

[2]          What’sChanged?

[3]          But Profits Did Increase

[4]          So What CanFirms Do About It?

[5]          Expectationsand Competencies

[6]          TargetedTraining Interventions

[7]          PerformanceMeasures and Standardization

§ 17.02       PartnerSuccession

[1]          TheImportance of Succession Planning

[2]          Who WillSucceed?

[3]          PracticeLeadership Competencies

[4]          Needs andSupport for Successor

[5]          Needs andSupport for Senior Lawyer

[6]          Future ofthe Firm

§ 17.03       UnproductivePartners

[1]          Introduction

[2]          Where toStart

[3]          TransitionStrategy Plan



Training Lawyers to Market
the Firm’s Legal Services

§ 18.01       Introduction

§ 18.02       IntroduceAssociates to Marketing Ideology

§ 18.03       IncludingAssociates in Business Development

§ 18.04       Sell MoreServices to Current Clients

§ 18.05       Develop NewClients

§ 18.06       Bid on NewBusiness

§ 18.07       Examples ofPitching Services to Potential Clients

[1]          IntellectualAsset Management

[2]          HumanResources Initiatives

[3]          LitigationManagement

§ 18.08       The Art ofEffective Client Communication

Chapter 19

Maximizing Profitability: Promote Championing andSponsorship at Your Firm

§ 19.01       Introduction

§ 19.02       Law FirmMentors

§ 19.03       Law FirmSponsors

§ 19.04       SuccessfulSponsorship

[1]          Build Trustas a Sponsor

[2]          ShareImportant Information Freely

[3]          Champion andHold Yourself Accountable


Maximizing Profitability: Corporate Love – LeverageYour Internal Relationships

§ 20.01       Introduction

§ 20.02       CorporateLove Defined

§ 20.03       Value ofInternal Relationships

§ 20.04       Leverage Your Internal Relationships


Maximizing Profitability: Build, Develop and SustainYour External Relationships


§ 21.01       Introduction

§ 21.02       NurtureYour External Relationships

§ 21.03       Key Valuesto Gain through Networking

§ 21.04       Best Practicesfor Growing Your External Relationships

[1]          AvoidGetting Stuck: Adapt New Practices

[2]          TreatEverything as an Opportunity

[3]          BeProactive, Not Hopeful

[4]          Be aBlinking Light


Your Blueprint For Success: Choose to be a White BoxFirm

§ 22.01       Introduction

§ 22.02       White Boxand Black Box Management Defined

§ 22.03       Promote aTransparent Culture

[1]          EncourageOpen Communication

[2]          Strive forClarity of Process

[3]          ProvideAccess to Management

[4]          EmpowerPractice Group Leadership

[5]          FacilitateFirm Committee Involvement

[6]          Lead byExample

[a]          EnableDifficult Conversations

[b]          BeDirective, Not Direct

[c]          Hear, WhenYou Listen

[d]          BuildRapport