A law firm that occasionally asks an outside management consultant for advice, a firm review, a firm lawyers’ retreat, or help on a specific problem has five advantages.
(#1) Seeing things you would not ordinarily see. Everyone assumes that what they see around them is “normal”. They act and assess on the basis of what they assume is normal. The outside expert steps back, and views facts, deficiencies, assets, and opportunities, not only as how you view them, but also as they are viewed by parties outside your law firm. With his/her knowledge of a broader normative information base, the outside expert can see your law firm differently than your own lawyers and staff see it.
(#2) Gaining additional knowledge and ideas. A law firm management consultant has expertise in identifying the relevant facts, deficiencies, assets, opportunities, and outside resources of knowledge and technology. He/she simply has broader experience in the subject of law firm management and the tools (both intellectual and physical) available to move the firm toward its chosen goals.
(#3) Creating focus and enthusiasm. Outside consultancy provides a signal to everyone that management regards goals as important, and that the projects that management is working on are important. The outside consultant increases the attention level to the subject of the firm as a firm, not as a mere collection of individuals. Focus and enthusiasm is more easily generated when an outside professional speaker is in charge of generating focus and enthusiasm!
(#4) Hearing things a firm lawyer may not want to tell you. Outside consultancy provides a way to have a voice that is not fearful of being destructive of a relationship with another lawyer. The plain fact is that everyone in the “clubhouse” of the law firm is fearful of voicing an opinion or recommendation that seems like a criticism of someone with whom they work. The outside consultant can skillfully bring those unspoken thoughts out quietly, then voice the idea himself as an objective voice seeking to “build up”, not as someone trying to “tear down” one of the lawyers.
(#5) Gaining “time-power” without spending attorney revenue-billing time. Lawyers have enough on their management plates. An outside project specialist brings time to you. An outside project specialist gets the project done, done right, done now!
“If a law firm only has its lawyers and staff involved, the firm loses the extra knowledge, skills, and time-power that outside experts bring to the table.”