I just got back from St Louis where I was a faculty member at the Managing Partner Forum. Firm leaders from all over the Midwest were in attendance and shared information and insights. It was a very powerful conference that I think we can all learn from.

John Remsen the founder of the Managing Partner Forum uses an instant audience polling methodology as a means of gathering accurate (all responses are anonymous) benchmarking data that Managing Partners can use for their own strategic planning and management decision-making. This week I will be sharing some of those results.

There are results from two questions I would like to share with you today.

1. Does your firm have a written strategic plan?

  • Yes – 39%
  • No – 36%
  • Work in progress – 25%

2. If yes, can you attribute improved performance and performance and profitability to it?

  • Strong correlation between planning and performance – 29%
  • Some correlation between planning and performance – 47%
  • No perceived correlation – 24%
  • Inverse correlation between planning and performance – 0

63% have a plan or are working on it… with 76% reporting a correlation between planning and performance. Whether you are a firm leader or an individual lawyer, I’m sure this is very compelling information. Create a strategic plan – it will guide you and give you a framework for decision making as you go forward. Let’s face it… this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about strategic plans, but now you have the data. When will you start your plan? Tomorrow isn’t soon enough, after all we ARE in the second quarter already aren’t we? It’s not too late to ensure that 2011 will be one of your best years ever. The plan can be one sheet of paper… or as Brian Burke, former managing partner at Baker & Daniels for 15 years, pointed out, "the best plans can fit on a 3X5 card… short and understandable."