Buried in Paper: Practice Group Performance

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If 51 percent of a corporation’s product lines or departments functioned at a fair to poor level, what would a CEO do? That’s the situation my colleagues at Altman Weil and I found with law firm practice groups in our latest survey on practice group performance.

Our survey asked managing partners in U.S. law firms to assess their practice groups in a variety of areas... finding: 

• Only 49 percent of respondents rated their practice groups, in general, as very good or excellent in overall performance.

• Only 42 percent of respondents rated their practice groups, in general, as very good or excellent at generating new business.

• Only 41 percent of respondents rated their practice groups, in general, as very good or excellent at cross-selling.

This means that a majority of managing partners believe that their practice groups, as a whole, are performing at a fair or poor level in each of these three categories. At a time when the growth of legal business is flat and few people believe that it will return to prerecession levels any time soon, it is imperative that practice groups, as law firms’ primary competitive engines, operate at maximum effectiveness. Firms are spending a great deal of time, money, and other resources on practice group development, and they are not achieving the return they should.

Why? The most glaring causes are shortcomings by senior leadership in attending to a few simple things.

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Download the Altman Weil Practice Group Performance Survey

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