Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC
Interview with Timothy B. Corcoran of Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC
Tell me a little about your background and the services you offer:
I’m a management consultant based in New York with a global client base. As a former CEO and corporate executive, I now advise law firm and law department leaders on the profitable disruption of outdated business models.
What compelled you to offer your services?
In my corporate life, my clients were law departments and law firms, and I found that to properly convey the value of the products and services my companies offered, it was necessary to educate law firm leaders on basic business principles and how modern business operated, so they could then properly assess the suitability of our solutions to their business challenges. Far too often I ran into lawyers who were blind to the challenges, or more troubling – the opportunities – presented by the changing legal marketplace. I was recruited from the corporate sector by a boutique legal consulting firm to translate what I learned as a businessperson, and eventually I struck out on my own. The sophistication level of many of my law firm and law department clients is far greater that it was just a few short years ago, but we have still have a long way to go. What energizes me is when my clients, skeptical by nature on the lawyer side, and frustrated on the business professional side, embrace the ideas I share and then translate them into action to improve their financial performance, their clients’ satisfaction, and the quality of the work they do. My philosophy is to “teach people to fish” rather than do the work for them, so it’s even more pleasing when my clients build on the work we’ve done together and take it in new and different places that surpass what I could do.
How can lawyers benefit from your services most?
The greatest insight I provide, I believe, is the revelation that nothing happening in the legal marketplace today is a surprise. The disruptions taking place are predictable precisely because they have happened already in other market segments. So lawyer-leaders who are skeptical by nature, who are driven to find precedent before they take action, who want to see that some crazy new idea has been implemented successfully before, can benefit by seeing that the business lessons I share are tried and true methods for dealing with change. To adapt to the new legal marketplace requires a deeper understanding of the underlying financial and economic foundation upon which law firms are built, as well as an understanding of human nature and change management.
A leader who’s ready to adapt but doesn’t know where to start, or who has a plan but doesn’t know how to bring others along, will benefit a great deal from working with me. A leader who believes the status quo is a better option than change, or who wants to drive change in a top-down, directing style, or who wants to drive change behind the scenes without “bothering” the lawyers will probably find working with me to be an uncomfortable experience because they’re not accustomed to someone challenging them. As a practical matter, I generally don’t really find myself at odds with my clients, because I don’t waste my limited time with those who aren’t willing or capable of listening.
What is the sticky subject when addressing law firm management challenges?
Compensation — but it isn’t the “third rail” of management, or something to be avoided lest it burn you. In fact, it’s a excellent tool to drive and reward behaviors that are beneficial to the firm and to the individual, and it works equally well for those motivated by money and those who aren’t.
What one thing can law firms or law departments do differently that would better position them to adapt to the changing marketplace?
Get better leaders!
If lawyers do not use your services, what might they expect?
My role is to serve as a catalyst, a muse, a voice of experience. Law firms or law departments who choose not to work with me will eventually adapt, because the market will demand it. Of course, many of today’s leaders won’t be around to see this transformation.
What actionable advice or tips can you give lawyers?
Select and nurture leaders who embrace the lessons of business, find the right balance between the short-term (“I gotta get what’s mine”) with the long-term (“this is best for the firm”), and listen to your clients. They’re providing a crystal clear roadmap for adapting and thriving.
Timothy B. Corcoran delivers keynote presentations, conducts workshops, and advises legal business leaders through the profitable disruption of outdated business models. Tim is a former CEO, past President of the Legal Marketing Association, a Trustee and elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, and a Committee Chair with the Association of Legal Administrators. To bring in Tim, contact him at +1.609.557.7311 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can you connect with Tim?