Saturday 2013-10-26

How to Build and Manage an Employment Law Practice by Mindy Farber

This is one of the books in the American Bar Association's series on law practice management. Farber skipped over associate and paralegal management/delegation, and spent most of the book covering marketing the practice to laypeople and lawyers.

Law firms exceed by capturing business, minimizing the cost to handle it (hence my interest in delegation), and maximizing the reward to the firm. On this last point, Farber spends much time counselling us to use retainers defensively, so as to make sure we get paid. Only then does she discuss contingency cases.

Having warned you about contingency arrangements earlier in this book, it is probably still not a bad idea to keep one or two good contingency cases in your office at all times....
How do you choose your contingency cases? The answer is strictly on the merits. After practicing employment law for some time, you will have certain internal feelings about what will fly and what will not for settlement purposes. There is no workable formula, but beware that the good cases are few and far between.
-- Handling Financial Concerns

Law practices would seem to benefit from better risk analysis for (a) determining an approximately optimal contingency workload, and (b) managing their case flow. I.e. what's the practice's distribution of case load over time? At times it may make sense to lower your retainer bar, and experiment with payment options so as to keep your case workload as even as possible over time.