find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
'Simple things' key to success (1)

'Simple things' key to success (1)

Speaking at the Australian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) annual conference in Sydney, the principal of John Chisholm Consulting had a simple point for the successful management…

Speaking at the Australian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) annual conference in Sydney, the principal of John Chisholm Consulting had a simple point for the successful management of a law firm. "I think the better firms do the simple things consistently well," he said.

Further innovation, he said, was pointless if a law firm can't get common courtesies and common sense right. "Even the small things, like saying 'Thank you' and returning phone calls ... how often do we need to hear about that kind of stuff? Why do we keep getting it wrong?"

Moving forward with successful management occurs when a law firm has a clearly defined vision, along with values and strategies. "The better firms have visions that are realisable, they stretch goals and aspirations, usually they're written down," he said.

And values, he said, should be real and achievable instead of empty words that mean nothing to staff. "I've seen firms with value written down but when you go into that firm, it's all just marketing puff," he said.

Recognising the values of the firm should always be applied when hiring new personnel to join the firm. If a hiring mistake has occurred, Chisholm said, it often comes down to simply choosing the wrong person - usually someone who is not consistent with the firm's values. "I'm all for giving people an opportunity, but if you've made mistakes and got the wrong people, my view is that you deal with it quickly."

Meanwhile a culture of stewardship, of empowerment and encouraging staff to constantly seek improvement and foster change and innovation will ensure people will give back to the firm, he said. "Good firms embrace the culture of stewardship, it means we're not here for the day to rape and pillage and take from the firm, it means we also embrace the future."

Tolerance in the profession, said Chisholm, has also seen the values of a law firm destroyed as partners are sometimes not always held accountable for their actions. "At times we've been tolerant of abhorrrent behaviour - particularly that which doesn't fit our values," he said. "Collegiality is the whole essence of the partnership. But that doesn't mean that we tolerate abhorrent behaviour."

As for taking on as many clients as possible, he said that doing too much with too little would only lead to the demise of the firm. "Eighty per cent of profit comes from 20 per cent of our clients ... We have got to look after our top clients," he said. "Say no. It's difficult for us lawyers . In many firms I look at, we would be better off financially if we got rid of that bottom 20 per cent. We have this culture of 'We need clients'. [But] we don't need every client," he said.

John Chisholm, a former chief executive at Middletons and ex-partner at Maddocks.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

'Simple things' key to success (1)
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...