A large law firm with offices across the United States had tried unsuccessfully – on two occasions – to undertake a firm-wide strategic planning effort at the practice group level. The firm was not a stranger to strategic planning, having successfully undertaken and completed a firm-wide strategic plan, and a meaningful update of the plan, in the last six years. Its leadership recognized that increasing market segmentation meant that it was managing a wide variety of different businesses under one roof. To be successful, each major line of business needed to assess its external market, its internal assets and develop a forward looking plan – and do so in a time-effective manner.
But for a variety of reasons, managing and completing a decentralized planning effort among dissimilar practice groups in a single process seemed to raise more questions than answers. In both attempts, after a great deal of effort, only a few practice groups completed serviceable plans, while most groups meandered, became bogged down by minutiae, lost momentum and eventually stalled.
The firm retained Altman Weil to help. Working closely with the firm’s leadership, our consultants studied the firm’s overall practice, its constituent practice groups, major issues and previous stumbling blocks. We then designed a process and selected a project team tailored to the firm and its issues, and developed customized planning materials for the firm.
In partnership with the Altman Weil team, the practice group managers and firm leadership were able to complete a unified – and unifying – planning process at the practice group level. The process included step-by-step support before and during planning, structured teamwork within the firm’s practice leader group, inclusion of partners and associates from respective practice groups in the planning, and review of resultant plans both by Altman Weil and within the firm. The process was completed in three months, and very time-effectively.
With practice group plans finally in place, the firm is in a position to become more competitive, cross-sell services more effectively, serve their clients better and develop new business.