What Does A Law Firm Consultant Do?
When it comes to the topic of law firm consultants vs law firm coaches, many firm owners might linger to make a decision because the differences between the two are not always so clear to see.
A law firm consultant and law firm coach can both provide valuable services to law firms; however, they approach their work a bit differently.
A consultant provides advice on business development opportunities such as new practice areas or lateral hires. He/she usually has little impact on decisions because they leave once the problem has been diagnosed. On the other hand, a law firm coach works with individual lawyers in private consultations and small group workshops. The law firm coach’s input often leads to changes in behavior that alter existing business models.
While law firm consultants and coaches share traits such as fee-payment arrangements, operating methodologies, and sometimes backgrounds, it is the law firm consultant’s business acumen that differentiates law firm consultants from law firm coaches.
Law Firm Consultants
A law firm consultant is retained to offer insight and advice on law-firm growth opportunities, such as new practice areas or hiring decisions. Consultants typically receive a flat fee or hourly rate for their services. The law firm may also pay the consultant a percentage of the increased revenue generated by their advice. Moreover, because law firms often hire law-firm consultants when looking at increasing their practices in particular areas (such as litigation, bankruptcy, high-yield debt, etc.), legal professionals must demonstrate experience in that specific area before they are considered viable candidates to become a consultant.
The law firm consultant’s advice typically centers on strategic growth opportunities and how law firms can take advantage of those opportunities. Thus, the law-firm consultant’s responsibilities involve developing a plan for law firms based on their goals and making presentations to law firms about potential problems and successes related to their business development strategies.
Law Firm Coaches
A law firm coach typically works with individual lawyers in private consultations and small group workshops that result in changes in behavior that alter existing business models.
The law firm coach instills new behavior by utilizing role-playing, lectures, discussions, one-on-one reviews, and other teaching techniques over an extended period of time (seven months on average). Coaches provide practices with the tools necessary to help law firms achieve their business goals. These business goals often include increased profitability, higher productivity, and effective utilization of resources. In addition, law firm coaches aim to align the firm’s personnel with these goals in order to develop a 12-month plan that covers areas such as law-firm mission, vision, and values; law practice management; strategic planning; marketing and branding; human capital management.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “How do I know if my firm needs a consultant or if it needs a coach?”
This is highly dependent on your practice and the personal goals that you are looking to accomplish in the next few years.
The coach is going to have a stronger focus on changing law-firm culture and behavior, whereas the consultant might focus more on increasing law-firm revenue.
As always, it’s important to note that both law firm consultants and law firm coaches have been known to contribute to better business practices for law firms. It is just that law firm consultants typically focus on increasing law-firm revenues, while law firm coaches tend to maximize law-firm profitability.
Both options can be beneficial depending upon law firms’ needs and goals. Thus, if you are looking for help with management consulting or practice development issues in your law firm, it is important to explore your law firm coach and law consultant options in order to determine which will be most effective for you.
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by Charley Mann
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