Partnerships and Strategic Thought

In a recent blog I urged you to consider your strategy for the future. I believe that, whatever your position in a practice, you can to a greater or lesser degree implement a strategy for the future. Of course, the scale of that opportunity would differ if you were the senior or managing partner rather than a new trainee…….or would it?

A well-rounded strategy deals with the world as it is and not as we would like it to be. To design and implement a strategy is to sign up to new challenges and to changing your way of working. If successful, the strategy will improve profit and enable growth.

In most markets, the products and services required will change over time. If your organisation, via a strategy, is aiming to track those changes, it is inevitable that your business will change over time. In a practice this will mean people must re-train or leave the firm.

In a partnership world where years of experience are usually rewarded with the security of long-term tenure on the basis that this accumulated experience has a future value, the idea that change is inevitable is not widely accepted. To embrace it would be to suggest that the longest-serving members of a firm are not necessarily the most valuable. And yet the longest-serving are usually the partners, otherwise known as the business owners.

Depending on the future direction of the strategy, some senior members of the firm might be surplus to requirements. In my first hand experience, some of the larger and more successful partnerships do attend to this. It is not easy and as a business model partnerships do not lend themselves to these decisions.

So, in answer to my own question, partners may not be willing to design or implement strategies as they may fear that any changes may be their personal undoing. However, if partners are encouraged to wear the “business owner” hat while thinking about the business, they can take good business decisions that benefit both themselves and their business. If it is not appropriate or desirable for some partners to retrain, they could change the nature of their participation in the company by stepping aside from the hourly billing and reshaping their roles, e.g. to act as directors or even as silent partners in exchange for capital.

Liam Wall
BigWig Legal Network

What is BigWig Legal Network?
The deregulation of UK legal structures will have a huge impact on how Law is practised and new legal services are offered. BigWig Legal Network is the UK’s first membership development organisation for fee earners in legal practices, priced for membership affordability, which will offer what legal professionals desire most of all: Accurate, dependable new insights and techniques for developing the legal services of the future.

Find out more at our Last Wednesday meetings.


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