Oregon State Bar Bulletin — FEBRUARY/MARCH 2011

Managing Multiple Offices is a complex process that is best undertaken after some intense planning. Steve Janik, Founding Partner of Portland's Ball Janik, offers some tips on implementing a successful expansion strategy.

1. There must be a strategic reason to open an additional office. “If you don’t have a solid strategic reason, if you don’t have synergies among practice groups or between the branch office and the main office, you’re going to have serious challenges,” Janik says.

2. Each office must have uniform administrative systems and practices to ensure consistency firm-wide. These include total electronic and telephonic integration so all systems are connected, as well as a system for sharing documents so they are accessible to the appropriate staff members firm-wide.

4. Each office’s staff must be included — either physically or electronically — in all relevant meetings, such as practice group meetings, partner meetings and discussions about special projects.

5. It is essential to maintain frequent face-to-face contact among staff members. This can be done by encouraging attorneys to visit the firm’s other offices, creating opportunities for staff to work together on projects, and hosting retreats and other social events that allow employees to interact.

6. Managers should be encouraged to interact with their administrative counterparts in other offices as well.

Melody Finnemore 



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