This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.

Want to know what is the next big project I am working on, personally?

I promised my team at LawSikho to launch a world class course this month. I have been really caught up in a bunch of things and travelling, but I am keeping my promise nonetheless. I am almost done.

I am so excited about this, that I wanted to share the concept note that I am sending to some of the most famous lawyers in India who I have approached to teach in this course. Confirmations are pouring in. 

So here you go. Share your feedback on this and let me know how we can make this even more awesome. This one has been in the works for years! And I have mailed you about this before also. 

Anyway, another side note, if you know a law firm partner in a big law firm or very successful practitioner who is passionate about law practice development and management, please put me in touch with them. They say it takes a village to raise a good kid. A good course is no less a task. It takes a village to make something like this happen at a world class level!

Concept Note for Legal Practice Development and Management Course

Premises for a course on Legal Practice Development and Management

Growing a law practice – is it a science or is it an art? If it is a mix, what are the skills that a leader needs to develop to successfully grow a law practice?

There is not much work that has happened in India in this domain, although there are robust courses and institutions in the USA, the UK and many other countries. In some jurisdictions, like Australia, you cannot begin to practice as a lawyer until you take courses on legal practice management. American Bar Association states that the prestige and prosperity of the profession depends a great deal on practice management education and its easy availability, and therefore has a division since the 1950s that exclusively look at this subject. 

Compared to this, very little attention is given to practice management or studies related to this in India. There is a prevailing notion that if a lawyer is good enough, she requires no marketing and one must learn how to build the underlying organization of a practice on their own through trial and error! Some say that a lawyer need not engage in business development or promotional activities, and that in fact such practices are unethical in the legal profession!

It is our belief that legal practice development and management practices would become all pervasive in the years to come. A vast majority of lawyers will not even be able to sustain in the legal market without substantially investing into these good practices.

Good processes, policies, practice development, client support and organization building practices can go a long way to create competitive advantage and help a lawyer or legal entrepreneur to find their feet in the legal services market.

Practice of law is rapidly changing in every way, in response to massive tectonic shifts in economy, technology and legal infrastructure. Old ways of doing things are rapidly becoming obsolete. New opportunities are arising that were difficult to imagine even a few years back.

Building a law practice or a law firm in this scenario requires strategic thinking, focussed efforts and great execution. It is important to think of a law practice or law firm as a business, a form of entrepreneurship. There are aspects like finance, strategy, human resources, organizational culture, client delight, information security and technology that needs investment of time, effort and money.

Most lawyers put zero effort towards these ends. For a vast majority of lawyers, law practice is just about you finding clients somehow and winning the case or getting some paperwork done.

Some romantics will like to think that the firm with better lawyers but no system will win. However, in medium to long run, it is almost certain that the law firm or a law practice that invests into systems and good management will trounce the ones that do not do so. Such firms are also more likely to attract and retain highly talented lawyers.

This happens due to efficiencies. Benefits accumulate and compound over time. Even a slight advantage over the years can lead to drastically better overall results. Compounding in competitive advantage works just like compounding of interests. This is the hypothesis and the guiding principle behind the course in Legal Practice Development and Management.

But how does one go about planning, strategizing and building a law practice or law firm?

Most lawyers complaint about getting too caught up in day-to-day legal work to spend time on developing your practice, building one’s reputation and brand or meeting the next big clients. Often, lawyers experience that they do not have the time and opportunity or even guidance to work on these aspects to develop their practice, even inside big law firms. 

 It is the story of every lawyer until they figure out how to rise above these waves of daily chores, firefighting, unsatisfied clients, disappointing performance from admin and communication failures. It is very much part of getting better at legal practice development.

Every lawyer will like to grow your law practice predictably, reliably and smoothly? It is possible to do so by applying sound principles of management. And our goal is to build a course that gives the legal community the necessary tools and skills to do so.

 Legal practice management is not an automatically acquired skill, and one has to learn it actively. This is the premise we are working on.

One can either learn small lessons from trial and error, every now and then, or learn it systematically and apply the lessons to their law practice in a focussed and organized manner.

Surely, doing it systematically can make a world of difference. It is much less painful and far more sustainable.

Additionally, the legal industry is evolving too rapidly for comfort. Machine learning and artificial intelligence threaten to take over, and yet millions of lawyers are poised to join the profession in a few years. Competition is cutthroat, and it may not be easy to understand or anticipate where the next big opportunity is going to come from.

 How will market dynamics affect practice of law over the next 5 years? What does one need to do differently?

 Conceptualization of the course 

We are proud to announce the Law Practice Development and Management course for lawyers looking to build law firms and chambers of the future.

 The material taught in this course is distilled from the experience and wisdom of many successful lawyers and as well as business managers from other related services domains such as management consulting. We had the benefit of working with some great legal entrepreneurs who have built large and reputed law practices as well as have been partners in some of the most remarkable law firms. 

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We have also conducted several surveys over email and phone with solo practitioners and owners of nascent law firms, and have collected data with respect to their challenges, aspirations and sticking points. This has given us several great insights into what should be included in a course like this.

We have a few leading lawyers engaged in different kind of law practices who have agreed to offer live online lectures as well as part of this effort. The goal is to teach the most critical lessons straight from lawyers who have built great law practices, or manage some of the best law firms. We intend that this course should be the beginning of systematic thinking about law practice development and management in India.

We are designing the course to create a new generation of leaders in the legal industry. We also aim to create a close-knit ecosystem of practitioners who can build on each other’s experience and grow together. We hope to evangelize the need and importance of legal practice development and management in India. 

To sum it up, the course should enable lawyers to:

  • Grow their practice faster and scale new heights
  • Explore new markets and new practice areas
  • Increase revenue and profitability of their practice or law firm
  • They will develop a detailed executable business plan to take things to the next level
  • They will learn to hire better and retain the good quality lawyers
  • They would develop practices and policies that ensure a very high level of client satisfaction, referrals and repeat business
  • They should learn to create powerful professional networks and build a brand for themselves
  • Manage their finances better through planning and execution
  • They should see the opportunities for technological disruption in practice of law
  • Identify major up and coming  opportunities in the legal market 

Who should take this course

  • Law firm partners 
  • Principal associates looking to develop BD and management skills
  • Lawyers who are starting their own law firms
  • Solo practitioners looking to develop profitable practices
  • Young lawyers who want to go independent soon
  • Lawyers shifting from in-house roles to law firms or litigation

What is the career potential after doing this course

  • Create your own fee book/ client roster and make partner faster 
  • Will you work for someone else all your life? Get the freedom and autonomy you always wanted by creating your own practice.
  • Build technology driven market aligned modern law practices 
  • Scale law firms while retaining high quality of work
  • Start your own law firm and grow it
  • Become a business development or management professional within legal industry

What would be unique about this course

  • The course is not theoretical. It is based on case studies of actual law practices and successful law firms. 
  • You will find answers to real life questions and dilemmas you are already dealing with, or deal with in the future with respect to growth of your practice.
  • You will not be learning from professors and theoreticians, but law firm partners and successful practitioners who have built breakthrough practices.
  • The course trains you on different kinds of actual work that is required to be performed for growing and managing a law practice, from business development to strategy and planning. You will draft policies and process documents you can implement in your practice.
  • The idea is to move towards smooth operations and predictable growth of your practice.
  • There will be hands on practical lessons where you will have to draft policies, create business plans, achieve tactical clarity and take important calls about your practice under the guidance of mentors. 
  • The course is tough and intensive, and you will not be awarded the certificate unless you complete all the exercises. You have to spend 8-10 hours per week on this course.
  • You will get personal attention and coaching from our in-house trainers, and get individual feedback on the quality of work you produce.
  • You will be writing an article every month and with our guidance publish the same either on iPleaders blog or various other industry publications, and this would give you a headstart with your personal branding.
  • You would get an opportunity to network with other lawyers like you who are also working on building world class law practices. The opportunity to network is truly exceptional here.

Training Methodology

  • Practical exercises
  • Simulation challenges
  • Hands on practice
  • Personal feedback in writing
  • Live classroom sessions
  • Group coaching sessions
  • Personal doubt clearing
  • Mentorship available
  • Convenient class timings
  • Hard copy study materia
  • Access to templates
  • Access through Android and iOS app

Content creation

We have created around 30 chapters so far on the themes discussed above with extensive research and consultation with leading lawyers.

Here is a list of the chapters we have created so far, including video recordings and textual reading material, accompanied by self-assessment tests to ensure conceptual clarity.

Tentative Topics for live lectures

  • How to price legal services
  • What are the policies you need to create?
  • How to plan the finances for the growth of your law practice
  • How to go about expanding a law firm – adding new partners, practices and cities
  • How to hire right across different levels
  • Full service v. boutique – how does it work
  • How to build the brand of your law firm
  • How to use technology for efficiency, competitive advantage and growth 
  • How to manage relationships with big corporate clients
  • Importance of knowledge management practices and systems in a law firm
  • How to get international clients and creating global alliances
  • Getting empanelled as a lawyer or a law firm – how does it work
  • Digital presence of law firms and partners – is it important?
  • Client service: how to build a seamless system for awesome client experience
  • How to structure partnerships and equity
  • How to avoid disappointing clients
  • How does referral arrangements work in the legal world
  • How should a law firm partner go about business development
  • Networking for law firm partners and boutique law firm owners: how to do it right
  • Profitability v. Expansion – how to balance 
  • How to retain the best talent and manage attrition rate
  • How to identify, cultivate and attract the best talent
  • How to identify new and emerging areas to grow your practice in
  • How to plan and build the support organization for your law firm
  • How to find the first 3 clients when you are starting your practice
  • How do you find a partner to work with when you are starting a law firm
  • How to ensure quality of work as your firm grows bigger
  • Nightmares of a law firm partner
  • Recovery of fees – what are the best practices?

Specific Learning Objectives

  • Study different business models of law firms and solo practices
  • Understanding the major market forces that are shaping the legal industry
  • Identify emerging opportunities and trends 
  • What technology can you use to increase quality of legal service delivery and efficiency while reducing costs?
  • How to develop a mission and vision for your law firm or practice
  • How to develop a client experience blueprint and manage client lifecycle journey
  • How to develop and execute an annual business plan
  • How to strategize expansion – adding partners and practice areas
  • How to develop hiring policy and practices to attract high quality talent
  • Reducing attrition: building culture, incentive policies and career progression plan
  • How to build operational processes for smooth execution by your team
  • Document control systems – how to make legal teamwork frictionless
  • How to develop a content strategy for digital presence
  • Using PR professionals – critical lessons
  • Best practices for business development
  • How to design and execute knowledge management and training programs
  • What do big corporate clients expect and how to deliver
  • How to make law firm partnerships work and avoid splits

Expected date of launch

We expect to launch the first batch on this course with 15-20 learners only in the third week of August, tentatively. Our content creation work is going on full steam as we speak. We are going to open admissions before this month ends!

What actions do you need to take if you are interested?

Are you interested? Reply in the comment section and let me know.

Drop me a mail and let me know. What do you think we can do better. The price we have kept low for the first batch as we love our early adopters. It will be only INR 25000. As this is the first batch, we intend to keep the batch size to 15 only. If we get some exceptionally high quality candidates, we may extend the size to 20, but no more in any circumstances.

It’s on a first come first serve basis, and we are launching it in a few days. So keep your eyes on these mails for the next few days.

btw , here the courses that are currently open for enrollment:

Diploma

Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution 

Diploma in M&A, Institutional Finance and Investment Laws (PE and VC transactions) 

Diploma in Entrepreneurship Administration and Business Laws 

Executive Certificate Courses

Certificate Course in Advanced Corporate Taxation 

Certificate Course in Advanced Civil Litigation: Practice, Procedure and Drafting 

Test Preparation

Judgment Writing and Drafting Course for Judicial Services 

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