Law Firm Advice and Planning

Successful management of a law firm requires a clear-eyed and holistic approach to the risks that law firms face, to address and resolve issues as they arise, and to plan ahead to prevent problems and minimize risks.

Our law firm advice and planning practice is designed around the critical issues that your law firm faces:

Law Firm Formation and Structure

We counsel California law firms on all aspects of law firm formation, structure, and planning, including law firm partnership agreements, law firm start-up, law firm partner compensation systems, and law firm attorney promotion systems.

A law firm’s partnership agreement, or other organizing documents, is a critical element in law firm management. A well-developed and well-drafted law firm partnership agreement is a competitive advantage for a law firm. It provides the right incentives for partners and clearly guides expectations, making it easier to manage and administer the firm and to handle partner transitions at the firm.

Similarly, one of the most critical aspects of law firm management is how the firm’s profits are divided among the partners. For most California law firms, because partner practices can differ in significant ways—different fee structures, different receivables, different expense loads, different staffing requirements, different business cycles—law firms need partner compensation systems that are flexible, dynamic, and fair, tailored to all partners’ practices and designed to generate an equitable division of firm profits, year after year, whatever the changes the firm may experience.

Law Firm Risk Management Best Practices

Firms must have sound policies and procedures in place to address and manage ethical issues like client conflicts, confidentiality, technology, outsourcing, attorney marketing, departures, and fee arrangements, to name a few. To be effective, these policies must also work with the particular law firm culture, governance, and overall business strategy.

We review your firm systems and practices from an independent and practical perspective and analyze them compared to best practices – but also with what really works. We work collaboratively with law firm managers to revise existing policies and to develop or supplement new ones when it makes sense.

We also draft and revise key law firm documents to ensure compliance with current legal and ethical guidelines, including law firm engagement agreements, client disclosure agreements, partnership agreement provisions, common interest agreements, consulting attorney and contractor agreements, partner separation agreements, departure protocols and procedures, client notice letters, and third-party contracts, indemnity agreements, and administrative service agreements.

Legal Ethics Compliance and Planning

The world for lawyers is evolving, rapidly, and so are the ethical challenges that lawyers and law firms face. Firms must have sound policies and procedures in place to address and manage ethical issues like client conflicts, confidentiality, technology, outsourcing, attorney marketing, departures, and fee arrangements, to name a few. To be effective, these policies must also work with the particular law firm culture, governance, and overall business strategy.

We review your firm systems and practices from an independent and practical perspective and analyze them compared to best practices – but also with what really works. We work collaboratively with law firm managers to revise existing policies and to develop or supplement new ones when it makes sense.

We also draft and revise key law firm documents to ensure compliance with current legal and ethical guidelines, including law firm engagement agreements, client disclosure agreements, partnership agreement provisions, common interest agreements, consulting attorney and contractor agreements, partner separation agreements, departure protocols and procedures, client notice letters, and third-party contracts, indemnity agreements, and administrative service agreements.

Partner and Attorney Transitions

Our highly experienced team has a deep understanding of the variety of issues law firms face in the wake of departures and transitions. We understand which issues to focus on and how to analyze the issues correctly. We consistently counsel law firms on how to protect clients and their interests — from ethical considerations to departure logistics, to anticipating, interpreting and resolving partnership obligations — to ensure a successful resolution for the firm.

We provide our clients with in-depth analysis on each issue, approaching these important legal and ethical considerations systematically. This gives the firm confidence to act and frees the firm to focus on its successful and demanding law practice, so the firm’s interests are protected when an attorney or group departs, or when a partner is asked to, or required to, transition out of the firm.