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From the CEO: Answering the call

Every Issue

Cite as: (2004) 78(10) LIJ, p. 6

The Law Institute has revitalised and relaunched its Legal Practice Management Section in order to help firms manage their business.

The most successful firms are the ones that devote time to the management and development of their business. The challenge for all firms, but especially for small and medium-sized ones, is to do this in such a way so that the clients’ needs are met as well as those of the business.

To help firms achieve these goals, the Law Institute has relaunched its Legal Practice Management Section (LPMS). It has also launched, with LexisNexis, a special online package specifically tailored to suit the needs of small practices throughout Victoria.

In small to medium-sized firms, lawyer managers continually face the dilemma of spending time on client needs and day-to-day legal work while finding sufficient time to manage the business.

Inevitably, with the pressures from clients and the need to keep the work coming through the door, management is given a lower priority than it should be.

It is important that there is a resource such as the LPMS to help firms manage these competing needs.

The LPMS was inactive for some years and many firms have expressed frustration about the lack of support in this important area. In revitalising the LPMS, the Institute has acknowledged its necessity and answered the call to provide assistance to firms in the management area.

The range of areas where the LPMS can assist firms is an ever expanding one.

For instance, deciding on technology, computer hardware, phone systems and photocopiers can be a complex problem for firms and the Institute can play a vital role in making high-quality information available.

However, the Institute can also help with the critical issues of business development, cashflow, financing and marketing, which is where many firms look for guidance and assistance.

Increasingly, recruitment and retention of good quality staff is all important and time must be found in the firm’s agenda for this. This is where the LPMS can assist.

The activities of the LPMS will be aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at the lawyer managers within firms.

Although small to medium-sized firms are the ones requiring the greatest assistance, there are sure to be issues of interest to larger firms, particularly associates and newer partners who have a particular interest in management.

The revitalised LPMS plans to run a comprehensive program of events and seminars over the next 12 months, concentrating on a wide range of activities from marketing, cashflow, preparation of tenders and IT issues to business development and planning. These seminars will aim to deliver practical and relevant management assistance that will help both the lawyer managers and the non-lawyer managers in firms.

To make legal information easier for our members in smaller firms, the Institute has worked with LexisNexis to develop an online package specifically priced to suit small practices.

It includes the most popular reference tools and a substantial list of options to customise an online legal library for use in small firms. For more details go to http://www.lexisnexis.com.

With electronic conveyancing becoming a reality in 2005, there will be a whole range of management issues for firms to consider.

The LPMS will work closely with the Institute’s Property Law Section to ensure that firms are as well equipped as possible to meet the challenges of this new conveyancing system.

The Institute website http://www.liv.asn.au is currently being upgraded and in the LPMS area of the upgraded site we will provide a range of tools that will assist firms in managing their business.

The website will offer an easy guide for firms and management issues. It will contain procedures and protocols, articles of interest and general information about management issues.

The LPMS was officially relaunched on 27 September 2004.

Before the relaunch, discussions were held with the Law Council of Australia (LCA) LPMS on ways the two Sections could work cooperatively to offer the best service to firms.

The LPMS has established a new committee but welcomes any other interested participants.

In order for the LPMS to be responsive to the needs of firms, I urge firms which have identified particular areas of concern or interest to contact me so that the LPMS can include these in its program.

In the past the Institute has had an active and vibrant LPMS and I look forward to your future support and interest in the revitalised Section.

John Cain

ceo@liv.asn.au

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