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Podcast Ep. 120: Why Every Law Firm Needs a Strategic Plan with John Remsen Jr.

by Madeline Miller • July 21st, 2020 • Uncategorized | Podcast

On today’s episode of the Legal Marketing 2.0 podcast, Guy Alvarez and John Remsen Jr. discuss the importance of strategic planning for law firm growth and prosperity. A strategic plan should act as the backbone of a firm’s strategy and remind the firm of its priorities when crises arise. Today, law firms must have a strategic plan that evolves with the firm and changes in the market.

John is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on law firm leadership, management, marketing and business development. Since 1997, TheRemsenGroup has worked with more than 400 law firms to help them develop and implement long-term strategic objectives to improve cohesiveness, performance and profitability. In 2002, John created The Managing Partner Forum, a highly acclaimed conference series for law firm leaders. In 2017, he was inducted as a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management. You can connect with John on LinkedIn here or through TheRemsenGroup website here.

Podcast Show Notes

How many law firms have a strategic plan?

More and more law firms are creating strategic plans in order to maximize their business development. When I first started the Managing Partner Forum, only about 30% of mid-sized firms had a firm-wise strategic plan. Currently about half of mid-sized firms have a strategic plan in writing that helps guide decision making and creates a shared vision for the firm.

How do you go about the process of developing a strategic plan for a law firm?

The first thing I keep in mind while developing the firm’s strategic plan is inclusivity. I include all of the firm’s associates and non-attorney staff involved in the process and encourage them to provide input. Then, I share with the law firm what other firms are doing for their strategic plan, which gets the staff thinking about how other firm’s tactics could work for their firm. From there I arrange meetings with the shareholders to receive their input on the process, and what their role would be to help us complete the goals determined in the strategic plan.

What are the components that a strategic plan should have?

First, you must determine the firm’s core practice areas and the core clients, because that will determine where to spend your marketing and business development resources. Next, decide which geographic regions your firm would like to expand to. When creating your strategic plan, write down a timeline for each of your goals.

How do you convince skeptics to believe that this will work?

The most effective way to show skeptics that a strategic plan will help your firm’s business development is by showing them data and statistics from your efforts.

During your career, what has changed or evolved in the ways that you create strategic plans?

Technology has changed everything. We find that firms that invest in technology or move to a cloud platform, are more successful when adjusting to a changing market. Also, lawyers who are active and engaged on social media tend to bring in more clients. This is because clients hire lawyers, not law firms, so if they feel they can connect with a lawyer, they are more likely to do business with them. Also the firms that host webinars, tend to bring in more clients because these webinars show how educated they are and how much they can accomplish for their clients.

How has Covid-19 affected the legal industry?

It has forced law firms to become more technologically advanced as more virtual communication and work is done. This might create a push to virtual working agreements, where most employees work from home and the workplace shrinks or even becomes a thing of the past. 


Your law firm’s strategic plan acts as your roadmap, helping you reach your goals, keeping you accountable, and acting as the backbone of your strategy moving forward. With the right strategy focused on future-proofing your firm, you’ll be able to build a sustainable law practice that can better adapt to shifts in the marketplace. Don’t forget that your strategy should not be created in silos. Everyone should take part in the planning and implementation process.

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