Firm Retreats for Lawyers: A Prime Management Tool

A management retreat (Firm Retreat) is the single best time for a law firm to assess its present position, strengths, and capabilities, to make realistic plans, and to effectively move forward.

The Firm Retreat is a block of time where you can most efficiently investigate, discuss, and plan. It is a modest investment of time with solid returns.

A Firm Retreat is not just for mega-firms. The huge majority of lawyers in the United States are in a solo practice or in a firm of ten or less attorneys. In today’s world, law firms of solo to ten attorneys are the ones most in need of having a Firm Retreat with a management consultant.

Why are these the lawyers most in need of a Firm Retreat with a management consultant? Because larger firms, in and out of state, are quietly and surely gobbling up the business that are the future of the smaller firms.

If lawyers in the smaller-sized firms do not realize their potential — if they simply stand still, doing the same things, in the same way, that they did last year, they will wither. Standing still is equivalent to going backward when other firms are moving ahead, improving their practice, their client base, and their incomes.

Let’s summarize what you gain from an outside expert facilitator / coordinator helping you on your Firm Retreat.

You gain the results that come from having someone who really knows firms management and brings more ideas to the table.

You gain new examinations and new planning activities you would not otherwise have thought about. For example, most firms, doing a Firm Retreat by themselves, fail to realize that, instead of senior partner led discussions, an outside chair of the meeting, who might even use a local outside speaker for a half hour, can often move each of the attorneys to quicker, better, self examination of the firm or to quicker, better, goal planning for the firm as a unified production team.

The outside expert facilitator / coordinator gains you time. You should be working on thinking the substance of your future, not creating a powerful agenda, coordinating the events of the day, and executing the retreat. You need to be free to concentrate only participating fully in the Firm Retreat day. You gain a person to to help you establish what the firm retreat should accomplish; then, gets it done!

The maximum benefit in a firm retreat day comes when experience in firm retreats is used to produce careful planning and execution of the law firm management retreat. Both content and method are important for the day. In some respects method and originality coming from outside your attorneys may be the most important in keeping the sessions vibrant, creative, and attorney-bonding. The expert will help you structure your firm retreat to have the right methods to meet defined objectives; e.g., making decisions on whether to broaden or narrow firm areas of practice, or determining a consensus on future needs or goals for the firm growth, or getting more clients or more profits. You gain experienced examination of your firm, by an outside person who cannot be accused of trying to assume more power among the attorneys.

Your Firm Retreat’s objectives and agenda should be determined before you decide who should attend, and what social events are needed. For example, if the Retreat’s primary purpose is investigate the firm’s SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) or to decide on a new strategic direction, attorneys only might be appropriate. If, however, the primary purpose is relationship building, the firm might include senior staff for some part of the day. Your expert facilitator / coordinator will have ideas on that for you.

Side effects of a properly planned and executed firm retreat are a new feeling of unity to the firm and new energy in the lawyers. Lawyers become colleagues, and working together becomes more enjoyable and fruitful. But those side effects of a more enjoyable work experience are only one of the results of a Firm Retreat.

The main reason for having a Firm Retreat is:

A Firm Retreat of your lawyers is the single best time for your law firm to assess its present position, strengths, and capabilities, to make realistic plans, and to effectively move forward.

A dynamic, successful, profitable firm does not just happen — it is planned!