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Law Practice TODAY

Practice Management Q&A

How Is Practice Management Different for Mid-sized Firms?

by Susan Raridon Lambreth and Susan C. Longo

May 2006

In many ways, mid-sized law firms are very much like their larger counterparts. They have collections of attorneys who practice similar types of law, serve similar industries, share the same clients, and even market together. The firms also have, for the most part, similar (though sometimes less complex) governance structures, compensation models, and partnership tiers. There are, however, some important distinctions between mid-sized and large firms that can impact the smaller firms’ success operating under a practice group structure. For the mid-sized firms that have addressed these challenges effectively, the results have been very positive:

Distinctions Between Mid-sized and Large Firms

While the issues below are not necessarily exclusive to mid-sized firms, they typically are more pronounced and have a greater impact on the firm’s management and operations than large firms with hundreds-or thousands-of lawyers. Therefore, it is even more important for mid-sized firms to understand their significance in successfully implementing practice management.

Success Stories

Despite the challenges faced by mid-sized firms, we have seen many success stories. Here are some testimonials of mid-sized firms that have implemented practice management and how they say it has benefited their firm.


As those of us who work in the legal industry know, all law firms are different, regardless of their numbers. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach with practice management even if you look just like the firm down the street. However, there are important differences between mid-sized and large firms that should be addressed when mid-sized firms are considering adopting a practice group business model. Having said that, mid-sized law firms can also be the beneficiaries of the best practices-and lessons learned-of large firms, placing them in a good position to take advantage of a proven business model that can have a significant impact on the efficiency and profitability of their operations. The end result will be a competitive advantage for long-term success.

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About the Author

is a consultant with Hildebrandt International who concentrates on practice management issues and heads the Hildebrandt Institute Practice Group Leader Training Workshops. She can be contacted at 800-223-0937, ext 220.

About the Author

is a consultant with Hildebrandt International. Her practice focuses on helping firms develop and implement practice management to achieve their business goals. Susan can be contacted at 800-223-0937, ext. 411.