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How to Compensate Associates for Bringing in New Business

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Your firm’s culture will guide your compensation plan.

In a law firm, compensation is more than salary, benefits and financial considerations.

It includes intangibles like professional pride, collegiality, respect and teamwork – all of which shape your firm’s culture.

Your firm’s culture will guide your compensation plan. In turn, your plan will deliver the culture you want to build.

Join us on September 27, 2023 at Noon CST for a special, one-hour CLE, Creating an Attorney Compensation Plan That Will Build Firm Culture and Attract Top Talent, and learn how to design the right payment package for your practice.

This free, live CLE webinar will be presented by two of the nation’s foremost authorities on law practice management: Brenda A. Barnes and Camille Stell, co-authors of RESPECT: An Insight to Attorney Compensation Plans.

Do you have a Law Firm Compensation Plan? Without one, you’re hampering the success of your practice. An effective and equitable pay structure will increase firm productivity, reduce turnover and boost office morale. It will help you recruit and retain the highest caliber of legal talent. And it will allow you to provide consistently excellent client service. Join us on September 27 for the CLE webinar, Creating an Attorney Compensation Plan That Will Build Firm Culture and Attract Top Talent, and learn how to design and develop a compensation plan that’s right for your practice – whether you’re building one from scratch or updating an existing plan. This free, one-hour CLE will be taught by two of the country’s top authorities on law firm economics, Brenda A. Barnes and Camille Stell, co-authors of the book RESPECT: An Insight to Attorney Compensation. Don’t miss this latest installment in Alta Pro’s highly popular, cutting-edge CLE webinar series. Register now!

How to Handle Business Originations

Following are excerpts from RESPECT: An Insight to Attorney Compensation Plans, by Brenda Barnes and Camille Stell (reprinted with permission of the authors):

“Businesses thrive only when they have sales – and lots of them. To increase top-line revenue, firms must continually generate new business. In professional service firms, sales, or business development, is generally referred to as Business Origination.

“Whether or not your firm tracks originated business or compensates attorneys for new business, it is vital to understand the importance of the top line. A healthy top line performance allows firms to consider strategic planning as opposed to focusing solely on attorney productivity.

“Deciding how to reward a partner for bringing in new business isn’t always straightforward. For example, what does it mean to originate business? Who gets the credit for a specific client or engagement? What about additional matters generated by other attorneys for the existing client? How long is it fair to compensate for this contribution: forever or through a certain period of time?

“A book of business is the size of the client base that partners are responsible for managing and for which they receive credit in the firm’s partner compensation system. A book of business can either be originated (known as “finder” credit”) or inherited (known as “minder” credit). Many partner compensation systems pay attention to business origination as an important contribution to the success of the firm.

“Many firms generate new revenue from referrals made either by clients or other external sources such as law school classmates, friends or family. Typically, the sales process is shorter. But it still requires effort to close the sale. Many firms treat referrals the same as finder sales because it does take additional effort to close the sale.

Often the best and easiest new revenue is from the existing client base. For example, if your client has generated a litigation matter, are there other litigation matters that can be generated? Another example would be additional trademark work for a trademark client.

Source: RESPECT: An Insight to Attorney Compensation Plans, by Brenda Barnes and Camille Stell (with permission of the authors)

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