Olmstead & Associates

Olmstead & Associates is a practice management, marketing, and technology consulting firm that works with law and other professional service firms ranging in size from 100 professionals to firms with solo practitioners. The firm, founded in 1984 and based out of St. Louis, Missouri, serves clients across the United States assisting them with implementing change and improving operational and financial performance, management, leadership, client development and marketing. Our clients benefit from our results-orientated team approach to consulting engagements where we focus on implementing change and improvements rather than simply providing advisory services. We partner with our clients and serve as a member of our clients management team and function as an advisor, coach, teacher, and facilitator. Our coaching program provides attorneys and staff with one-on-one as well as group coaching to help them get “unstuck” and move forward on initiatives, reinventing both themselves and their law practices.

Blog Authors

Latest from Olmstead & Associates

Question:  I am the firm administrator of a 16-attorney firm in Kansas City, Missouri. We, like many other firms, have done our best to face up to the challenges presented by COVID-19. For several months, attorneys and staff worked remotely from home offices using the internet, telephone, and video conferencing as the primary means of communications with clients and the office. To our surprise, it worked fairly well, but most of the attorneys were glad when they were able to return to the office. We have been having discussions as to the long-term impact of COVID-19, both in the short…
Question:  I am a solo practitioner in Southern Indiana. I have been practicing law for 43 years and I want to retire next year. My practice is a general practice firm although approximately 80% of my work is estate planning and estate administration. I am the only attorney in the firm and I am assisted by one paralegal that has been with the firm for twenty years. She plans on working for another ten years or so and will need a future home. I am not sure whether there is any practice value, whether I should just close the practice,…
Question: I am a partner and a member of a three member management committee in a eighteen attorney firm in Chicago. During the past year we have discussed conducting an offsite long range planning retreat in the fall that would include the partners and other attorneys in the firm. We have never done this before so this would have been a new experience for us. However, with the COVID-19 crisis we have cancelled our site reservations and are wondering whether we can still conduct our retreat remotely? Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. Response: Sure you can. I suggest…
Question:  I am the owner of a six-lawyer law firm in San Diego, California. Our firm is a business litigation boutique firm. I founded and formed the firm nineteen years ago. The other attorneys are all associates of which one has been with me for over ten years, one over five years, and the other three less than two years. I am 56 and still plan on working another ten to fifteen years. However, I don’t want to lose my senior associates and I want them to be around in ten to fifteen years to take over the firm, I…
Question:  I am a member of the executive committee of a 14-attorney firm in Houston, Texas. We have 10 partners and four associates in the firm. Seven of our partners are in their 60s and we have done nothing to prepare for the succession and transition of our senior partners and have concerns whether we will be able to continue as a firm. Where and how do we start? Response: You need to begin to have some serious discussions with your senior partners as to their retirement goals and timelines and determine how close together their exits will be. Can…
Question:  I am a sole owner of four-attorney, boutique litigation law firm in Chicago. I am 52 years old and looking for a long-term succession strategy for my firm. I have been approached by a large Chicago national firm involving merging my practice with their firm. We have had several meetings and they have provided me with an initial proposal. I have spent many years building my law firm, and, by merging with a large law firm it seems that I am not really receiving any value for goodwill. What are your thoughts? Response:  It is normal to exchange equity…
Question:  I am a partner in a small law firm in Northern Virginia. We are a four attorney firm with two equity partners and two associates. We are interested in acquiring a solo practitioner’s practice that is 60 years old and ready to retire. What are the issues that we should be concerned with before we spend a great deal of time on this matter? Response:  I understand your concern and reason for asking for my thoughts. You must immediately determine the nature of the clientele that you would be acquiring and whether the seller is interested in remaining with…
Question:  I am a member of a three member management committee in a sixteen lawyer boutique litigation firm in downtown Chicago. The firm has been in business for over forty years. We have sixteen lawyers in the firm of which ten are equity partners and six are associates. The original founders are retired and we are in second generation. Until five years ago all partners were involved in all aspects of firm management. At that time we made the decision to put in place a three-member management committee that was charged to handle certain aspects of firm management with the…
Question:   Our firm is a four attorney estate planning and probate specialty practice in Fresno, California. We are in our 15th year of practice. In addition to word of mouth referrals from past clients as well as referrals from attorneys and other professionals, seminars has been a major source of new business for the firm. In fact, for the last several years seminars has been our number one source of new client business. As a result of COVID-19 we are no longer conducting seminars and we have concerns that this is going to have a major negative impact on our…
Question:  Our firm is a four lawyer estate planning firm in Bakersfield, California. As you know our state has been under stay at home orders for some time. We have everyone except our receptionist and one attorney working remotely from their homes. We are doing much better than I expected. In fact we are getting new clients at close to our usual numbers per month and our fee collections have actually exceeded our normal monthly fee collections. How are other firms doing? Response:  It depends on practice area and firm size. Many of the very large firms are facing dramatic…
Question:  I am the managing partner of a fourteen attorney business law transaction and litigation firm in St. Louis, Missouri. Our area is in lock-down as a result of COVID-19 and everyone in our firm except for our receptionist has been working remotely. We had planned on putting in place a strategic plan this year and completed a couple of initial meetings. As we move forward how do we plan in this environment or should we even try? Response:  These are definitely uncertain times and the legal profession will be facing an uncertain future. I believe that COVID-19 will leave…
Question:  I am the owner of a general practice firm in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago with four associates and four staff members. I am 66 and was planning on beginning to work on my retirement plan this year and approach two of my senior associates regarding acquiring my practice. I was hoping to retire and exit the practice two years from now. Now with the Covid-19 situation I am not sure what I should do. Is this a good time to even think about approaching my associates? While business is slow we are doing fairly well working remotely. I…
Question: I am the sole owner of an estate planning firm in downtown Chicago with four other attorneys and six staff members. Since we are considered by the state of Illinois to be a  necessary business service most of us are still working at the office. I know that many firms are working remotely. How is that working out and what are the specifics of how to make that work – new client intake meetings, work on client matters, coordination with attorney and staff team, and client document signings? Response:  It is working out very well for many firms and…
Question:  I am the owner of a six-lawyer business transactional law firm in south Florida. I have been practicing law for 12 and I started my present practice nine years ago. I am 42 years old.  The five attorneys that work for me are all associates, of which two are very experienced seasoned lawyers and three have less than five years experience. Since I am still a young attorney, I am not concerned about retirement or long-term succession planning; maybe I should be, but I am concerned about the short-term. What would the firm do if I got hit by…
Question:  I am a family law practitioner in the western suburbs of Chicago. I have been in practice for thirty years. I have two associate attorneys and two staff members. In the past I had other partners but that was many years ago. Over the last few years our business has been declining. Our financial performance last year was terrible and I made less than my associates. If this continues I may have to lay off an associate or two. Recently we have made some improvements to our website but I am not sure we have not done enough. I…
Question: I am the sole owner of an estate planning firm in San Francisco Bay area. I have four full-time associates, six paralegals, two secretaries, a firm administrator, and four other staff members. We are a high volume operation and we do a lot of marketing. We need help coordinating and handling the marketing. Are we ready for marketing coordinator or director? Response:  Personally I think the firm is a little small for a full-time marketing position. If you can find a person that is willing to work part-time that could work in a firm your size. Many firms your…