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Walker Clark, LLC, is a member of the World Services Group, a global membership association whose members are among the top providers of professional business services in more than 115 countries and throughout the United States.
business advisors and counselors to the legal profession
points of contact
useful links at walkerclark.com
Click on each title to see a synopsis and a download link.
The toughest competition in most legal markets is not for clients --- it is the competition for legal talent. Unfortunately, professional recruiters -- any even some law firm partners -- might not understand all of the unique characteristics of law firms, which make successful lawyer recruiting a highly specialized -- and sometimes risky -- activity. Lisa Walker Johnson outlines how you can improve your firm's ability to attract the retain the legal talent that your firm needs. Download.
Many law firms invest considerable time, effort, and resources in cross-training younger lawyers to work in more than one practice area. Cross-training is a worthwhile investment, but often a very costly one. This in-depth analysis outlines a new approach to cross-training, which achieves well-defined, measurable results without the negative business impact that most law firms experience. Download.
"This would be a great law firm if I could get my partners to do the right thing."
Lisa Walker Johnson explains the concept of competing commitments, which are often the principal factors that prevent law firms from implementing decisions that everyone appears to support. Download.
This Background Briefing by Daniel E. Millier, Ph.D., of the Walker Clark Central Europe Group, traces the political, economic, and cultural forces that have shaped the development of Romania.
This is "required reading" for any lawyer who is interested in competing in the Romanian legal market. Download.
This Background Briefing by Daniel E. Millier, Ph.D., of the Walker Clark Central Europe Group, traces the political, economic, and cultural forces that have shaped the development of the modern business environment in the Czech Republic.
Understanding these historic forces is critical to sustainable business success for any law firm -- Czech or international -- that wants to succeed in this dynamic Central European jurisdiction. Download.
For good or for ill, every law firm partner is a leader. Every partner has leadership potential. Not everyone will become a great leader, but anyone can learn skills to be a better leader in a law firm..
This paper by Lisa Walker Johnson describes Walker Clark's unique leadership counseling methods and poses questions to help law firm partners determine whether it is right for them. Download
Are you considering starting your own law firm? What are some of the questions that you should answer before you take the plunge? Download.
This short book, now more than 75 years old, remains one of the most important guides to leadership and management in any business, but especially in law firms and legal departments.
One of the new currents in today's legal profession is the growing number of law firm partners who are starting their own firms.
Are you ready to go out on your own, either as a solo practitioner or as a member of a small new firm? Do you have the values, interpersonal skills, and leadership behaviors that are necessary even in a solo practice?
Well thought-out business plans and a portfolio of faithful clients are important, but you also need to examine the most important resource of all --- yourself.. Lisa Walker Johnson suggests some tough questions that will yield important answers. Download.
Law firms and their clients are facing business challenges that make the future uncertain even for the best-managed firms.
Lisa Walker Johnson points out that the current health of your law firm's culture will have a profound influence on your firm's ability not only to survive these troubled times, but also emerge stronger than before. Download.
Leading a law firm is not like herding cats. Lawyers can be effective leaders, as well as productive followers. Lisa Walker Johnson summarizes her research and experience developing leadership skills in law firm partners worldwide. Her message is clear: Any lawyer can learn the practical business skills and develop the emotional intelligence necessary to become an effective leader in a successful law firm. This article is based on Lisa's presentation to the 2008 annual conference of the International Bar Association. Download
General counsels and chief legal officers report that they are spending more time and money than ever before on legal matters outside their companies' home jurisdictions. At the same time, a very clear set of best practices in client service is emerging among international law firms.
What should corporate clients expect from their foreign law firms? Clearly a good legal product is not enough. This paper explores the same question discussed in Serving the Foreign Client, but from the client's perspective. It suggests questions that in-house lawyers should ask their foreign law firms. Download
As national economies emerge and regional economies begin to develop, the legal profession faces new opportunities and complex new business risks. Some law firms will survive these challenges and build sustainable long-term success. Many more will not.
This paper is based on an address by Walker Clark founding principal Norman Clark, delivered to Second Annual Business Law Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association on 13 March 2007. Download
This article is based on a speech by Lisa Walker Johnson to the 2005 conference of the International Bar Association in Prague, Czech Republic. Lisa explained her role as a counseling psychologist dealing with sensitive and frequently firm-threatening issues arising from abusive or inappropriate workplace behavior by lawyers. She also discussed three fundamental rules that must be observed if a partner crisis is to be resolved productively. Download
As law firms cross borders, lawyers, managers and staff from different cultures must learn to appreciate traditional professional customs and values while remaining open to new leadership behaviors.
North American lawyers, in particular, may be surprised to learn that styles and behaviors that work well at home may produce unintended negative effects among lawyers and staff in other countries. At the same time the firm's international clients and the firm's own younger lawyers may be more open to, and even expect, approaches that are different from the traditional law firm culture.
Bill Henderson and Lisa Walker Johnson explore the challenges for each culture in an international law firm. Download
This paper was presented at the annual conference of the International Bar Association on 7 October 2010. As a group, law firms are singularly inept in recognizing and responding to mental health issues in the practice of law, one of the most intellectually intense and emotionally stressful professions. Even without considering the human toll, the costs of mental illness in law firms can be enormous. Yet most law firms are better at managing office supplies than they are at managing the risks and consequences of stress, depression and mental illness.
As psychologists who work with lawyers and law firms, Lisa Walker Johnson and Robert Sharpe present the danger signs of serious, or even potentially lethal, mental illness, as well as a menu of responses to help a law firm protect its most valuable asset, its people. Download
This article, originally written for and published by Latin Lawyer summarizes Walker Clark research into the common characteristics of Latin American law firms that have produced sustained, long-term financial success. The research identified seven strategies that each firm followed, with varying degrees of formality, documentation, and customization to each firm's national and organizational culture. These secrets of the "successful survivors" in the Latin American legal market can be used very successfully by any law firm anywhere in the world. Download
This article, written for LegalTimes (Korea), outlines common mistakes that law firms everywhere make concerning client service expectations and priorities. As a result, some firms actually disqualify themselves from the competition for legal work that they could have won or lose clients whom they assumed were satisfied. "Selling the Wrong Things to Foreign Clients" also outlines highly effective, low-cost methods to check assumptions, confirm client priorities, and strengthen competitive advantage. Download
Serving the foreign client requires more than good cross-cultural skills. It is a learning process. The authors recommend that law firms invest considerable time and effort at the beginning of the relationship to discuss and define the client’s expectations, as well as any practical, economic, or political implications in the firm’s home jurisdiction. When acting for a foreign client, law firms should assume nothing. In today’s quickly changing global marketplace, assumptions based on yesterday’s experience might not be reliable guides for client satisfaction tomorrow. Download
Six key economic factors are the most influential forces in the profitability of a law firm. If a law firm is failing financially, the problem can almost always be found in one of these six factors. Moreover, a careful analysis of these six factors will reveal significant opportunities to improve profitability, even in well-managed firms. Download
Leadership is the most important component in the business success of a new law firm. It is more important than a business plan, capitalization, or a portable client base. These three things are needed, to be sure. However, the new firm will not succeed unless its owners can motivate themselves, their staff, their clients, and their external suppliers to make the contributions needed to sustain long-term financial performance.
This article examines the special challenges and characteristics of leadership in new law firms. In the successful professional services organization, leadership is more than a philosophy or set of cultural values. It is more than slogans and exhortations. Rather, leadership is a set of specific, observable behaviors, which motivate by the force of their example. Download
The next ten years will see the greatest increase in foreign trade and direct investment in history, and most of this growth will come from fast-emerging economies in Asia and the Pacific. Law firms in Latin America may discover that their most important relationships will no longer be in North America and Europe, but across the Pacific.
In this article, reprinted with permission from Latin Lawyer, Norman K. Clark and Gerald J. Kirkpatrick, of Walker Clark, LLC, assess strategies for developing these relationships. Download
If a small law firm isn't growing, it is dying. On the other hand, bigger is not necessarily better in today's legal markets. How can a small firm grow its business and market presence? How can it compete successfully against much larger, better financed firms?
Gerald J. Kirkpatrick outlines a "think big" strategy that works even for the smallest firms. Download
Why do law firms fail to achieve goals that would appear to be easily attainable?
Lisa Walker Johnson explores how lawyers sometimes habitually act contrary to their best intentions and interests; and she explains how to identify, analyze, and reduce these undermining behaviors. Download
This paper was prepared and presented by Lisa Walker Johnson at the annual conference of the International Bar Association on 4 October 2010. It investigates the management challenges of a trend to longer law firm careers, including into the 80s and 90s, which is likely to increase and extend even farther in the next ten years.
Lisa examines the psychological and economic obstacles to planning for careers long beyond the traditional retirement age; and she offers practical strategies to make much longer law firm careers more satisfying and successful for the senior partners and their firms. Download
Law firms have not done a good job of providing equal opportunity for women and minorities. Contrary to widespread assumptions, U.S. law firms, as a group, do not provide shining examples or best practices for the rest of the world to follow.
In this article, originally written for and published in Latin Lawyer, Lisa Walker Johnson points out four highly successful strategies that allow progressive law firms, in Latin America and elsewhere, to leverage diversity for greater business success. Download
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