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Six factors have the greatest overall impact in the profitability and long-term financial performance of small and midsize law firms worldwide.

The relative impact of each of these "drivers" varies from firm to firm; however, the solution to a law firm's profitability problems -- whether short term or chronic -- is almost always found in one or more of these six factors.






fee levels

  • Are you charging a high enough fee?


  • Are your fee earners fully utilized?


  • What percentage of the billable work is actually billed?
  • What percentage of the work that is billed is actually paid?
  • How promptly are you billing work in progress?
  • How quickly are fees paid?
  • What are the principal reasons for write-offs and write-downs?

cost management

  • How well do you manage operating costs?
  • How accurate is your budgeting process?
  • How do you decide about unbudgeted expenses?
  • To what extent are budget execution issues centrally managed?
  • What control and accountability do individual partners have concerning budget execution?
  • To what extent do you consider the impact of short-term cost-management decisions on long-term business results?

staff compensation

  • Are your fee earners paid more than they produce?


  • Are you delegating work – especially fixed fee work – to less expensive but competent fee earners?

The Six Drivers of Law Firm Profitabiity, first published by Walker Clark in 2007, has become on of our firm's most frequently requested and downloaded publications.  This monograph investigates the challenges that each of these key profitability factors present to small and midsize law firms. It also suggests a set of highly-effective strategies that law firms worldwide are using to manage each of these factors to improve financial performance and to produce sustainable, long-term business growth.

Click here to download a PDF version of The Six Drivers of Law Firm Profitability.

Click here to learn more about the Walker Clark Profitabiity Self-Diagnostic.

Norman Clark