Practice Group Performance Falls Short According to New Survey

Newtown Square, PA and New York, November 7, 2007 – Despite the time and money law firms invest in their practice groups, over half of Managing Partners and Executive Directors rate practice group performance overall as average or worse, according to the Law Firm Practice Group Management Survey released by ALM Research and Altman Weil, Inc.

The survey reports on practice group structure, performance, operations, leadership, administration, and marketing.  It is the first formal benchmarking survey of law firm practice group management to be published in the U.S.

Practice group operations show surprising deficiencies according to the survey.  Over 40% of groups report having no business plan, and over 60% have no group marketing plan.  Only slightly over one-third of groups meet on a regular monthly basis.

Marketing performance is dismal in most practice groups.  When asked to rate their groups on the ability to market, develop new business, and cross-sell other practices, fewer than 20% of firm leaders rated their groups as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ on any one of those measures.

Practice Group Leaders have an important job, but little direction, limited professional support, and almost no training according to the study.  While leadership and management skills are rated highest of all criteria for group leaders, a large majority of firms have no training requirements before or during a leader’s tenure.

“Practice groups are the key strategic business units of law firms, and truly effective groups can create a big competitive advantage for their firms.  These survey results show that the field is wide open for law firms that are willing to train their practice leaders and give them the resources they need to succeed,” said Marci Krufka, principal of Altman Weil, Inc. and chief author of the study.

“For the first time, law firms can compare their practice group performance against legal market benchmarks and develop best practices for their groups using this research.  Firms will also benefit from the specific recommendations for enhanced performance included in the report,” said Margaret Daisley, Research and Surveys Consultant to ALM Research.

About ALM Research
ALM Research is a division of ALM Media, a leading integrated media company serving legal, real estate, financial, and business professionals.  ALM Research was formed in 2002 in response to the growing demand for competitive intelligence within the legal industry. Their core product, ALM Research Online, (www.almresearchonline.com) provides subscription access to research and surveys conducted by ALM Media’s industry-leading publications, including The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, and IP Law & Business.

ALM Research also offers custom research services, and publishes a number of research products in partnership with industry experts and analysts. These include the annual Law Firm Business Development Practices survey and the 2006 Global Law Firm Knowledge Management survey.

About Altman Weil
Founded in 1970, Altman Weil, Inc. provides management consulting services to law firms, law departments and legal vendors throughout North America, Latin America, the U.K. and Europe. The firm advises clients on strategy, practice management, mergers, finance, compensation, marketing and leadership development.  Altman Weil Publications, a division of Altman Weil, is known for the many legal economic and management surveys it conducts and publishes.  For more information about Altman Weil, go to www.altmanweil.com.

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