Stephen Mabey

Stephen Mabey

Stephen Mabey is a CPA, CA and the Managing Director of Applied Strategies, Inc. Stephen’s focus is on law firms in general and small to medium size law firms in particular. He had both written about and advised on, a wide range of issues including - leadership, business development, marketing, key performance indicators, competitive intelligence, finance, mergers, practice transitioning, compensation, organizational structures, succession planning, partnership arrangements and firm retreats. In 2013, Stephen was inducted as a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management in recognition of his sustained commitment to the highest standards of professionalism in law practice management. For more information, visit appliedstrategies.ca or connect with Stephen Mabey on LinkedIn at ca.linkedin.com/in/smabey.

Monday, 05 June 2017 09:00

Pricing innovation

Pricing innovationLaw firms say they are innovating in how they charge clients, but the rubber has yet to hit the road.
Attitude is everything when combatting stress in law firmsThis month’s column will be my 58th column to appear on Canadian Lawyer’s web site and it will be my last on a regular monthly basis. I am a firm believer that one should stop doing something that’s rewarding before passion turns into rote.
Culture — glue or repellent — your choiceWhile there has been a real focus of late on leadership, structure, innovation, strategy, and cost reduction, I am a pretty simple guy from a quaint little community in Nova Scotia and like to start with the basics. And culture is the base on which all firms are either built or destroyed.
Monday, 27 October 2014 08:00

Communication, communication, communication

Communication, communication, communicationThe recent CBA Futures Report, “Transforming the Delivery of Legal Services in Canada,” identified the following deliverables that clients were looking for from their lawyers:
Monday, 15 September 2014 09:00

Client focused cost controls

Client focused cost controlsCenters of excellence

“Canadian lawyers typically don’t compete by reducing their own costs — that type of competitive advantage is lost on them. Gowlings seems to be the lone Ontario exception as they opened operations in Hamilton, Ont. (quite some time ago) for reasons that must be related to costs savings. There still seems to be a notion that moving non-legal or even legal functions to low-cost centres is not the Canadian way.” — Mitch Kowlaski, Sept. 13, 2012
Heard about the high margins and so you want to invest in a law firm?Dr. Larry Richard, seen by many as an eminent expert on the personality profile of lawyers, has pointed out the following characteristics of lawyers in the past:
Monday, 21 July 2014 08:00

Measuring legal department metrics

Measuring legal department metricsFor my July column I was initially thinking about a slightly different approach. The idea was to raise with law firms the concept that perhaps law departments have key performance indicators too and they may want to think about how their law firm services law departments in light of them. Obviously it is a starting point of asking law firms: “Do you really talk to your clients and understand their needs and pressures and if you don’t then maybe you should, especially in the flat market we all live in today?”
Monday, 16 June 2014 07:11

Law firm management by the numbers

Law firm management by the numbersOn May 8, the Managing Partner Forum 2014 Leadership Conference was held in Atlanta, Ga. The conference was hosted by John Remsen Jr., president and CEO of The Managing Partner Forum.
Karen MacKay of Phoenix Legal and I were fortunate enough to be part of the faculty. Approximately 85 participants from more than 75 law firms (one Canadian firm attended) participated in the day-long session that began with an address by Timothy Corcoran, president of Legal Marketing Association and Principal of Corcoran Consulting Group. While Corcoran’s presentation was well done, the three memorable quotes for me were:
Three universal truths raised by the Heenan Blaikie storyAt last count there were over 25 issues/reasons identified by the legal press (blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc.) that led to the unfortunate demise of Heenan Blaikie. To be clear, the misfortune I speak of is not the disappearance of the law firm itself, but of those who were affected as a result through no fault of their own but rather because of the seeming ineptness of others.
Definitely Mabey: You may get paid on revenues but you spend profitsThis month’s column addresses the third “P” that today’s law firms need to tackle to ensure they are tomorrow’s law firms too. The January column addressed the need to have processes that ensure the efficient and effective delivery of legal services without which you could be out of step with clients’ needs. February’s dealt with the importance of having and sticking to a pricing strategy again without which you could be disengaging clients (unfortunately unknowingly).
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