Law Firm Practices: Ideas to Recover If Stumbling

by Deborah J. Hodges

It’s amazing how simple, yet challenging, it is to define your business goals and to implement a plan to reach them. Jim Collins’s “How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In” is a good indicator of problems that confront business executives. It also serves as a lesson to lawyers and law firms regarding building law practices—potential failure.

Right now, you may be mentally stating to yourself the obvious: “I know what to do, and I know my goals for cases and clients. This isn’t my problem.” Collins would say that a step is missing in the thought process. Some failure is inevitable—it’s life, and how we address it is important for the firm’s turnaround and well‐being.

Using a well‐crafted plan to reverse the course of failing, if it happens to your firm, is vital to its overall success. Collins postulates that failure can be reversed if you recognize the stages and take action. We try to avoid catching a cold or the flu when the season is upon us; however, it is inevitable that we will be slowed down by a brief cold or flu at some point. Decline at a law firm can be thought of in a similar fashion.

According to Collins, decline can be detected, avoided, and reversed. The book is based on his four‐year research project in which he uncovered the five stages of decline.

Stage 1 Hubris Born of Success
Stage 2 Undisciplined Pursuit of More
Stage 3 Denial of Risk and Peril
Stage 4 Grasping for Salvation
Stage 5 Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

Once again, Collins, the best‐selling author of Good to Great, shares his wisdom and reminds us of what even the strongest of leaders may need. Great companies can skip a step, fall, and recover stronger than ever.

American Bar Association―GPSolo eReport July 2013

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