Who We Are
Since 1985, Coburn Consulting has been providing planning and management services to medium and larger sized law firms. Our areas of practice include strategic/long-range planning, competitive positioning and strategy, organizational and leadership development, practice group planning and management, profitability enhancement, client satisfaction measurement/enhancement, and law firm mergers and acquisitions.
Why We Do What We Do
Someone once commented, “There are two kinds of lawyers – those who dislike change, and those who absolutely hate it.” We understand this reluctance to change and have focused our practice on helping law firms through the challenging process of initiating and managing change.
Why is change important? Because most firms really don’t have a choice.
The U.S. legal industry has experienced more change during the past twenty years than it did during the previous hundred. Change is impacting the industry from all sides:
Law firms used to be in the drivers’ seat; clients now are.
Long-term loyalty is all but gone on the part of both attorneys and clients.
Marketing and management have become drivers of firm success.
Size, breadth, and geographic reach have become key competitive factors.
Technology has become an essential part of legal services delivery.
Law firm profitability, once secret and unimportant, has become a firm’s defining success factor.
Client service, once known as quality legal advice, is now ‘relationship management.’
Marketing, once prohibited and distasteful, is now an essential route to partnership.
Coburn Consulting helps clients manage change. We know that to be viable in an increasingly competitive market, firms must continuously reposition themselves. Our mission is to design and execute change management programs that take the firm to the next level.
How We Work
Our methodology incorporates certain fundamental tenets that we believe are keys to successful change management:
When large segments of the firm are involved in an initiative, both quality and acceptance are high. We know when broad participation is needed and when firm leadership should hold the reins.
We believe that a clear, strong vision of a positive future state is critical to getting there. Each engagement starts with an agreement of all participants on a definition of this future and a commitment on changes required to achieve it. We employ creative ways to engage partners in the firm's visioning process.
Reality checks: surveys and market research
Any change should be based on facts. We start by identifying what clients really want, not what the firm thinks they want. By the same token, any internal change should include an honest assessment of the sentiment of partners, associates and staff. Current market research is a prerequisite to framing a unique position for the firm.
Push to action
The Achilles heel of law firm planning is lack of implementation. Coburn Consulting plans don’t “sit on a shelf.” We develop work plans that include budgets, timelines, and accountabilities that can be monitored and measured. We want results.
We aren’t interested in applying old solutions to your issues. We think creatively and propose new ways of doing things that will give you a competitive edge in your marketplace.
Facilitating consensus in law firms is often difficult. We get to a reasonable consensus in a short time, which eliminates the frustration of a long, contentious, “endless loop” process.