Rob Knowsley has spent the 43-plus years since his admission as a lawyer in early 1974 working with growth-oriented legal practices in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. He founded Knowsley Management Services (KMS) in early 1988. Heïs unashamedly passionate about assisting his fellow lawyers to build into their firms a strong ongoing capability to optimise their investments of money, education, experience and time, to produce proper profits .dramatically better profits than most assume possible. Heïs clear in his view that a profitable firm greatly increases options in terms of succession, a real problem for many partners in small-medium firms. Rob has a long track record of making vast improvements happen in relatively short periods of time in all manner of firms, and brings to his consultancy advice a wide experience from a range of legal roles, having practised as a Barrister and Solicitor, employed lawyer, partner and managing partner, sole practitioner, and in both private practice and Government. He has served on various State and Regional Law Society councils and committees, and Government committees, lectured and written widely on legal practice management, and is a skilled trainer and facilitator. Rob`s day to day contact with all manner of firms, especially those where he is retained on an annual basis as a practice coach, gives him a constantly updated flow of information about the changing practical problems the Legal Profession is facing. He has had significant consulting input into over 1345 legal firms, and greatly assisted his many thousands of seminar and workshop attendees. A significant part of every business day is spent advising lawyers in Australia, New Zealand and Canada by e-mail, by telephone/Skype, or in person. Rob knows what`s needed, what`s possible, and exactly how to achieve it. His ground-breaking systems for planning and ensuring full utilisation of law firm human resources, developed originally in the late Eighties, have stood the test of time, being used to huge advantage in a multitude of firms to this day. Rob adheres fully to the Code of Ethics of the Institute of Management Consultants in Australia.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob recently to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing the industry today.
You can find the full Q&A below.
Tell us about your consultancy and what you do day to day?
KMS is a management support consultancy for small-medium law firms established thirty years ago by Rob Knowsley to assist his fellow lawyers. KMS advises lawyers in Australia, New Zealand and Canada (1348 firms to date) and these days focuses heavily on profit improvement through better human resources management, smarter pricing, and practical marketing that works.
What are some of the common situations or behaviours that cause a practice to be unprofitable and why?
Common situations and behaviours that cause a practice to be unprofitable include poor investment of available time in paying work. The main causes of this simple and obvious problem are poor planning and seriously inadequate marketing, so there is insufficient effort applied to billable work after “break-even”.
Your presentation will “Improving Practice Profitability…A Key Aspect of Business Development” as a practice management and business skill and will consider resourcing, technology, marketing and HR. How will mastering these areas help a legal practice’s bottom line?
The practice bottom line can be dramatically improved by ensuring key resources continue to have traction of paying work in the ‘profit zone’, where most revenue generated can be retained by Principals because almost all expenses are already covered.
What are the 3 key things that you would like the audience to take away after attending the session?
- An improved understanding of the powerful impact of using the final 25% of each day effectively;
- An understanding of how to properly plan human resources application to a smart business plan;
- An understanding of practical, effective, marketing so there is enough enquiry to allow the practice to reject work that does not generate an acceptable return.
You can hear more from Rob at the CPD Compulsory Units for All Lawyers seminar, being held on Wednesday 14 March at the UNSW CBD Campus, Sydney.