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law firm management

05 September 2011

Legally India newsletterLawyers generally have a conservative relationship with technology although once embraced it can become (sometimes unhealthily) symbiotic. The general argument goes: “Things have always worked for me this way, why do I need anything to change?”

16 August 2011

Trilegal-Anand Prasad Exclusive: Trilegal has internally promoted the first two salaried partners into its equity partner lockstep since the Phoenix Legal breakaway, with Mumbai corporate partners Nishant Parikh and Amit Tambe starting on the first rung of the firm’s 13 year lockstep.

08 August 2011

image Luthra & Luthra has promoted three Delhi lawyers to partnership and will buy German-made cars for five partners, as a raft of associates have been promoted to senior and managing associate levels.

02 July 2011

Legally India newsletterManaging a law firm tends to become harder rather than easier with size. Acknowledging this, in what is still a largely symbolic step albeit with potential future significance, AZB Mumbai has created a new top-level management function outside of the name partners.

30 June 2011

imageExclusive: AZB & Partners has appointed senior partner Abhijit Joshi into the newly created chief executive officer (CEO) role, overseeing strategy of the Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune offices while continuing in his client-facing duties.

10 June 2011

Legally India newsletter Everyone loves cake, particularly lawyers who really like cakes that just keep growing. Unfortunately cakes do not do so without hard work so this week many have been busy baking.

01 April 2011

Trilegal-anand_prasad_thExclusive: Trilegal Delhi lawyers Harsh Pais and Yogesh Singh were elevated to the firm’s salaried partnership, as the firm overshot its fee-earner bonus budget after having instituted a new system.

28 February 2011

image To overcome challenges and enhance the profitability of law firms, Legal League Consulting is conducting India’s First Management Workshop for Law Firms on “Creating Sustainability and enhancing profitability through Business Development” scheduled on 12 March 2011 at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. The Workshop will be inaugurated by Mr. Lalit Bhasin, President, Society of Indian Law Firms (SILF).

14 September 2010

Khaitan-Co_Rajat-MukherjeeEXCLUSIVE: Khaitan & Co has hired Symbiosis graduate Rajat Mukherjee as an “associate partner”, which is the first time a non-equity salaried partner has joined the firm under the revamped partnership structure.

14 December 2009

chain-broken-cut_cropHemant Sahai Associates and Paras Kuhad & Associates have split only two months after announcing the ill-fated merger of their practices to create PHA Advocates.

07 December 2009

amarchand-cyril_shroff_small_thumb_100x125Amarchand-Shardul_Shroff_thAmarchand Mangaldas has been increasingly turning to the UK and Ireland for talent making three innovative hires in recent weeks alone. So what is the Shroffs' game plan? Is Amarchand spreading its wings to turn into a global law firm?

23 November 2009

amarchand-cyril_shroff_small_thumb_100x125Amarchand Mangaldas Mumbai has created the role of chief operating officer (COO) and filled the post with a former UK firm's COO who will create a 100-day-plan to improve internal management at the firm.

22 September 2009

Ministry_corporate-affairs-thKhaitan & Co and Trilegal have taken the first formal steps towards becoming limited liability partnerships (LLP) by registering their LLP names.

21 August 2009

rupees_medMany law firms would probably pay consultants an arm and a leg for this advice. Inspired by FoxMandal Delhi's recent cash flow woes, regular Legally India commenter Legal Dodo posted an interesting list for law firms to save money. For free!

While Legal Dodo is happy to admit that some of these points are obvious and may not necessarily apply to every law firm, his/her points are nevertheless worth thinking about:

"Here are some random thoughts/tips on cost cutting. They are in no particular order of priority and may not necessarily apply in every situation. Some of them are borne out of experience. Of course - some are very obvious.

1) Assess all the infrastructure you are using - especially the real property. Do you own excess space? Have you leased excess space? If yes, ensure that all your staff work together. Keep the excess space unoccupied. This helps save electricity costs. If you use air-conditioning - believe me - the savings can be substantial.

2) In case you are paying an above average rent for the space you are
occupying, negotiate with your landlord for a downward revision of the rent. After the recent global meltdown, there are hundreds of office spaces lying vacant.
Your landlord will be put on the defensive and is likely to accede to your request, especially if you threaten to vacate.

3) Alternatively, negotiate for a right to sub-let. If you have excess space and your growth plans are not as aggressive as they were when you first leased your office space, short-term sub-letting makes a lot of sense.

4) Is your office located on a main road in a prime business location? If yes - then reconsider whether it makes sense continuing from there. For a law firm, such a location offers little advantage. Consider shifting into a suburb or into an office off the main road. Rents are considerably lesser in these areas. Perhaps, your staff's efficiency may also increase.

4) Do you have multiple telephone connections (landlines) or multiple
Internet connections? If so, it makes sense to cut down on them.

5) If your office has good ventilation and natural lighting, consider making optimum use of the natural air and light. This could help cut down your electricity consumption.

6) Cut down on your marketing and promotional spending. Avoid sponsoring seminars, conferences, moot-courts, local-events and/or business-round-tables.
In my experience, these are a colossal waste of time and money.

7) Similarly, stop attending such seminars, conferences or other events, especially if you have to pay through your nose for it. If you are invited, and do not want to miss out on the networking opportunity, offer to speak at the conference. Often, organizers are short of speakers. If so, they will be more than happy to
get a free speaker and perhaps may also give you a few free delegate passes, which you can share with your colleagues.

8) Avoid wasteful travel. If you have to travel, then do so and stay economically. Staying in five star hotels and commuting in expensive chauffeur driven cars burn a significant hole in your pocket. You can stay just as comfortably in good service apartments and save on transport by using city taxi. Avoid overnight stay, if possible.

9) Avoid expensive lunches/outings and/or throwing lavish parties.

10) Cut down on the freebies that you give to your staff. Do they have free telephones? Are they provided with expensive cars? Impose a limit on their telephone usage. Consider car pooling for the staff.

11) Cut down on your excess security and maintenance staff. Keep the minimum staff required to ensure security and cleanliness of the office. Invariably, these employees are sourced from a security or house keeping agency. Therefore, you are not firing anyone, and even better, they are not losing their jobs when you relieve the security and maintenance personnel of their duties.

12) Cut down on unnecessary subscriptions, especially foreign publications.

13) Hire interns, instead of fresh employees, for doing routine work or carrying out support functions.

14) Use Skype or e-mail to communicate and reduce telephone costs. Reduce stationary usage by printing only if you have to. Use both sides of paper while printing. For rough drafts, you can use the printer option to print multiple pages per sheet.

15) Cut down on giving corporate gifts.

16) Use the courier service only for important documents. For routine mails, use the postal service. It's much cheaper.

17) This is the most contentious point. Chop dead wood. In other words, identify the non performing staff and encourage them to leave. Almost every organization lands up making hiring mistakes and taking on people whom it should never have hired. Employees with an "entitlement culture," i.e. those who cannot look beyond their own nose, are the worst people to have around at any time, more so during an economic crisis. Such employees shirk work, avoid responsibility and mysteriously develop high fever or a severe tummy ache whenever a complex assignment crops up. They stop looking for work the moment they are employed.

Once employed, they are the first to approach the HR Department to ascertain how many sick leaves, casual leaves, paid leaves and national holidays they are entitled to. They expect hefty pay hikes every six months and fudge their time/work records to show how well they are performing. While at "work," they spend time chatting, surfing the net, taking long coffee and smoking breaks and complain about just anything they can complain about. Invariably, whatever little work they do requires to be entirely redone. Such employees are a big nuisance and extremely demoralizing to have around. It's a big mistake to consider them as "family" and put up with them. Invariably, they go around bad-mouthing the organization at every given opportunity. Such employees are perhaps the greatest liability any organization can have, especially a service oriented organization like a law firm, whose human capital is its greatest asset. It's wise to be diplomatic while doing away with such employees. Give them glowing recommendation letters, if necessary. Words are free. Won't you be glad that your worst performer lands up joining your rival?

As I mentioned earlier, these are just random thoughts. Constructive criticism welcome. Feel free to add to the list.

Legal Dodo."

And as requested, I'd like to add a couple of extra points to this very comprehensive list:

18) Institute reasonable pay-cuts. A lot less painful that outright lay-offs and a sensible option for unsustainable salaries that were pegged after blind competition in a boom market.

19) Introduce a part-time working option for employees who are interested for personal or other reasons. Someone on a four-day week will save a firm 20 per cent and if the employee is good they could end up managing their time more efficiently than a full-time employee. On the flipside, it can be a headache to manage from an HR and client service-level perspective.

20) Consider outsourcing your back-office operations (which is perhaps my most contentious point). Clifford Chance, for example, was targeting £8m (around Rs 60 crore) annual cost savings with its offshoring of document production (and now also paralegal fee-earners) to Gurgaon.

Please do add your ideas, suggestions and comments.

18 August 2009

FoxMandalLittle_Delhi_office_thFoxMandal Little's Delhi office has paid its fee-earners the salaries it owed them, after the firm was unable to pay for two months due to cash flow difficulties.

30 July 2009

Amarchand_Shardul-ShroffAmarchand Mangaldas Delhi's joint chief financial officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO) Bithika Anand has resigned after almost 11 years with the firm, as Amarchand Delhi's auditors have temporarily stepped in until a replacement can be found.

28 July 2009

knots_thumbFor an Indian firm, going under the wing of an international firm is not necessarily as appealing as some might suppose and could even be downright dangerous.

20 July 2009

rupees_thumbFoxMandal Little has not been able to pay fee-earners in Delhi their salaries as the office faces a liquidity crisis.

20 July 2009

rupees_thumbLong delays in recovering fees has become an increasing a problem for law firms whose clients are caught in the credit crunch, most recently preventing FoxMandal Little in Delhi from paying some of its staff their salaries.

"Lock-up is a big issue for most firms these days in particular collections on long-overdue invoices," says Kerma Partners legal consultant Friedrich Blase in New York and adds: "It's become harder for firms to collect on the work produced."

09 June 2009

rupees_thumbTrilegal has promoted four partners, raised its associate base salaries by 20 to 30 per cent and paid out unprecedented bonuses this year.