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Law Firm Management Consultant

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Law Firm Management Consultant Powered By Docstoc
					Wednesday 8th October 2008

Dear Sir or Madam,

Independent Financial Skills Survey – Please complete by Wednesday 21 October

The Legal Services Commission recognises that it has a role to play in supporting its
providers through the forthcoming changes to legal aid. In early 2009, we are hoping to
fund a series of training events and other initiatives. We want to understand your needs so
that we can ensure that the training is of practical use to you, so we are carrying out an
independent survey (enclosed) to find out about the financial skills you use in your
business.

We have commissioned an independent law firm management consultant to design and
carry out this survey for us, so that you can be totally frank, as we will not see any of your
responses. You may know Andrew Otterburn from other work he has carried out in relation
to legal aid markets. At the conclusion of the survey Andrew will provide us with his
analysis to inform the training and support that we develop for spring 2009. We will also
share his report with you, by making it available on our website: www.legalservices.gov.uk

We have talked to solicitors’ firms and not-for-profit agencies providing legal aid services
as well as the representative bodies and other stakeholders. Fixed fees require new
financial management skills and we believe that funding training and support in such skills
will help you deal with the changing legal aid environment.

I would strongly urge you to participate in this survey and return it by 21st October 2008
we will use the analysis that Andrew provides to develop the training and support we will
make available next spring. Andrew has designed the survey to make it as short and easy
as possible, so that it should not take more than a few minutes to complete. There is also
a Freepost address to return the survey direct to Andrew, free of charge. We want to
make the best use of the resources we have available for training and support. Please
help us to ensure that the training meets your needs.

If you have any queries about the survey, please contact Andrew at
andrew.otterburn@otterburn.co.uk or on 01484 682928.

Yours faithfully,
John Binks
John Binks
Head of Provider Readiness and Support


 Please complete the appropriate questionnaire – there is one for solicitor firms and one for
                                  not-for-profit agencies




                                         Page 1 of 5
                                                       Financial Skills Survey – October 2008
Please send completed responses to:
Post: FREEPOST RRZE-KJSA-XTHZ, Otterburn
Legal Consulting, Upperthong, Holmfirth, HD9 3HS.
DX 708626 Holmfirth
Fax: 01484 684477
Email: andrew.otterburn@otterburn.co.uk
                                      Confidential Survey:
                    Financial and management training needs in Solicitor firms
           This survey is being undertaken to assess financial awareness and understanding within firms prior to the
           LSC commissioning financial training in 2009. The information you give is being analysed independently by
           Andrew Otterburn and is confidential. The LSC will not see individual questionnaires. It should be completed
           by your managing partner or finance partner – the person responsible for financial management in
           your firm. Unless otherwise noted, the questions are about your firm as a whole (not just legal aid work).
                           Please return it to Andrew Otterburn by Wednesday 21st October.

            Section 1          Your Firm
                                                                £’000          Headcount *Full time equivalents     Number
                  Approx total fees of firm (annual)                           Equity partners
                  Approx crime fees (annual)                                   Salaried partners
                  Approx other legal aid fees (annual)                         Other Solicitors
                  Do you employ:                    Yes           No           Other fee earners
                  An in-house accountant                                       Secretaries and support staff
                  A practice manager                                           Total headcount
                  A cashier                                                    What LSC office is
                                                                               your account
                                                                               manager in?

            Section 2          How you financially manage your firm?
                  Does your firm have:                    Please tick     Do you know:                            Please tick
                                                          Yes     No                                              Yes     No
                  A comprehensive budget at the                           The value of work billed or
                  start of each year                                      claimed so far this month?

                  A target level of profit                                What today’s bank balance is?

                  A cash forecast that is revised &                       How much needs to be billed
                  updated during the year                                 each month to break even?

                  A simple set of monthly                                 How many chargeable hours
                  accounts that focus on the key                          each fee earner produced last
                  figures                                                 month?

                  A set of key performance                                The average cost to your
                  indicators that it monitors                             business of the different types
                                                                          of matter you undertake?

                  A meaningful business plan                              What your profits are likely to
                                                                          be this year?

                  A managing partner                                      How much you are owed by
                                                                          clients or by the LSC?

                  What % of his/her time is spent                  %      What the bank balance should
                  on management?                                          be at the end of this month?

                  What level of fees is he /she        £                  The value of your firm’s work in
                  expected to bill?                                       progress?

                  What are other, legal aid            £                  The profitability of different
                  partners expected to bill?                              departments or teams?
                                                                 Page 2 of 5
                                                                               Financial Skills Survey – October 2008
Section 3           Where would your firm benefit from training?
                                                                 Please score each area on a scale from 4
                                                                  (would be very useful) to 1 (not needed)
                                                                    4            3            2         1
      Understanding accounts

      Assessing team profitability & the overall cost of a
      fee earner
      Understanding the firm’s cost base, hourly cost and
      minimum fees
      Key performance benchmarks

      Information and reporting

      Developing a forward strategy

      In house finance training

      Law firm structures and management

      Other suggestions:



Section 4          Who are you?
     Are you … (please tick)
     A partner                 An in-house              A Practice                         A
                                accountant               manager                      cashier


     Assessing your financial knowledge
     (please tick)                                   Good            Ok        Weak          Not sure
     How would you assess your financial
     skills and understanding?
     How well do you understand a set of
     accounts?
     How well do you understand the main
     financial drivers in your agency?
     Do you understand the difference
     between an income and expenditure
     budget and a cash flow forecast?

     What ethnic background are the                          What is the gender of the
     person(s) in your office with                           person(s) in your office with
     managerial control?                                     Managerial Control?
     White                                                   Male
     Mixed                                                   Female
     Asian or Asian British                                  Split Control
     Black or Black British
     Other ethnic group                                      Are the person(s) in your office
     Spilt Control                                           with managerial control disabled?

                                                             Yes
                                                             No
                                                             Split Control

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. If you have any questions, please contact
Andrew Otterburn at andrew.otterburn@otterburn.co.uk or on 01484 682928.
                                                 Page 3 of 5
                                                                 Financial Skills Survey – October 2008
Please send completed responses to:
Post: FREEPOST RRZE-KJSA-XTHZ, Otterburn
Legal Consulting, Upperthong, Holmfirth, HD9 3HS.
DX 708626 Holmfirth
Fax: 01484 684477
Email: andrew.otterburn@otterburn.co.uk

               Confidential Survey: Financial and management training
                           needs in Not for Profit Agencies
    This survey is being undertaken to assess financial awareness and understanding within NfPs prior to the
    LSC commissioning financial training in 2009. The information you give is being analysed independently by
    Andrew Otterburn and is confidential. The LSC will not see individual questionnaires. It should be completed
    by the person responsible for financial management in your organisation.
                    Please return it to Andrew Otterburn by Wednesday 21st October.

     Section 1           Your organisation
                                                            £’000        Advice Headcount *FTE             Number
           Total income (07/08)                                          Managers
           LSC funding (07/08)                                           Solicitors
           Non-LSC advice funding (07/08)                                Other paid advice staff
           Do you employ:                                Are they        Volunteers
                                     Yes         No
                                                         qualified?
           A book-keeper                                                 Secretaries and support staff
           A practice manager                                            Total headcount
           An in-house                                                   What LSC office is
                                                                         your account
           accountant
                                                                         manager in?

     Section 2           How you financially manage your organisation
           Do you have:                               Please tick     Do you know:                       Please tick
                                                      Yes     No                                         Yes     No
           A meaningful budget?                                       The value of LSC work billed or
                                                                      claimed last month?
           A cash-flow forecast that is
           revised & updated during the                               What your bank balance was at
           year?                                                      the end of last month?

           A monthly analysis of income                               How much needs to be billed or
           and expenditure against your                               claimed each month for the
           budget?                                                    LSC contract to break even?

           A monthly balance sheet?                                   How many casework hours
                                                                      each caseworker produced last
                                                                      month?

           A meaningful business plan?                                The average cost to your
                                                                      organisation of the different
                                                                      types of LSC matter you
                                                                      undertake?

           Individual billing targets for your                        Whether you are on target to
           legal aid caseworkers?                                     reduce your buffer in line with
                                                                      the transitional arrangements?

           A manager appointed to                                     Whether any funder owes you
           manage the LSC contract?                                   money?

           What % of his/her time is spent                     %      What the bank balance should
           managing the contract?                                     be at the end of this month?

           What is his/her monthly billing        £                   The value of your LSC work in
           target?                                                    progress?
                                                             Page 4 of 5
                                                                         Financial Skills Survey – October 2008
Section 3           Where would you or your colleagues benefit from training?
                                                              Please score each area on a scale from 4
                                                               (would be very useful) to 1 (not needed)
                                                                 4            3            2         1
      Costing your services

      The risks and opportunities of expanding your
      services

      Developing processes and information to manage
      your organisation financially

      Developing and implementing a forward strategy

      Structures and management for delivering legal
      advice
      Other suggestions:



Section 4           Who are you?
      Are you … (please tick)
         A paid manager                     A treasurer                    A finance worker



      Assessing your financial knowledge
      (please tick)                                       Good        Ok         Weak            Not sure
      How would you assess your financial
      skills and understanding?
      How well do you understand a set of
      accounts?
      How well do you understand the main
      financial drivers in your agency?
      Do you understand the difference
      between an income and expenditure
      budget and a cash flow forecast?

     What ethnic background are the                       What is the gender of the
     person(s) in your office with                        person(s) in your office with
     managerial control (your trustees)?                  managerial control (your trustees)?
     White                                                Male
     Mixed                                                Female
     Asian or Asian British                               Split Control
     Black or Black British
     Other ethnic group                                   Do any of the person(s) in your
     Split Control                                        office with managerial control (your
                                                          trustees) have disabilities?
     What advice network do you belong to?
                                                          Yes
                                                          No
                                                          Split Control

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. If you have any questions, please contact
Andrew Otterburn at andrew.otterburn@otterburn.co.uk or on 01484 682928.




                                                Page 5 of 5
                                                              Financial Skills Survey – October 2008

				
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