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Managing the Professional Service Firm [Paperback]

David H. Maister
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

6 Jan 2003
Professional service firms differ from other business enterprizes in two distinct ways. Firstly, they provide highly customized services, thus cannot apply many of the management principles developed for product based industries. Secondly, professional services are highly personalized, involving the skills of individuals. Such firms therefore compete not only for clients but also for talented professionals. Drawing on more than ten years of research and consulting to these unique and creative companies, David Maister explores issues ranging from marketing and business development to multinational strategies, human resources policies to profit improvement and strategic planning to effective leadership. While these issues can be complex, Maister attempts to simplify them by recognizing that "every professional service firm in the world, regardless of size, specific profession, or country of operation, has the same mission statement, outstanding service to clients, satisfying careers for its people and financial success for its owners".

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; New edition edition (6 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780743231565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743231565
  • ASIN: 0743231562
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Peter P. Mullen Managing Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom I have found David Maister to be one of the best thinkers in the law firm consulting arena. His writings apply common sense and a long background in business consulting to provide practical advice about law firm and other professional service firm management. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you have ever worked in, been a partner or managed a consultancy firm, this book will not only answer a lot of your troubling questions, it will also explain matters that you did not know the questions to - just the obnoxious frustration of something that was not working. It is with incredible ease, yet depth and understanding that David H. Maister plough through the important issues that concerns not only managing partners in a consultant company, but anyone who wants to climb up the ladder. He explains why you got to balance your workcrew (juniors up to partners) and why it is so vitally important to mix people on the right combination of projects (brains, grey hair and procedure projects) as this builds up the firm's human capital, and provides the means and profitability to continue to grow steadily. I could go on but space does not allow me to. This book is not filled with theoritical babble but practical and useful information, no - knowledge and experience!
The book is divided into seven parts (personal highlights inside brackets): basic matters, client matters (quality work does not mean quality service!), people matters (building human capital, the motivation crises), management matters (creating a strategy), partnership matters (the art of parner compensation), multisite matters (the collaborative firm, hunters and farmers, etc.) and asset management. All in all it comprises of 32 chapters.
You won't find many books that explains service business any better than this one. I know because I went searching.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
It is for consultants like the Bible for Christians and Capital for Marxists
This book is like a Bible for all professionals, regardless of whether they are working on their own or for a company. It can be read again and again and every time you can find something new. I think that even Maister did not suspect how great it would be. I feel able to declare that everybody who wants to be called "a consultant" must read this book.
Although this book consists of articles by different years it can be read without any difficulty. Maister also used international English and therefore it is easy for non-native English speakers to read.
I found especially interesting the following chapters:
1. Marketing to Existing Client
2. Attracting new Clients
3. Managing the Marketing Effort
The core ideas of all these chapters are:
1. Demonstrate you ability do not declare (Marketing works when it is demonstrative not
assertive)
2. The most effective type of marketing is client-level marketing (face-to-face meeting not to-broadcast marketing)
3. Existing clients are the best sources of new business (and often the most profitable ones)
4. Marketing activities represent an investment and therefore should be budgeted for.
The author puts all these principles into practice. In this book (and all the rest of his books) he demonstrates his quality. He treats all his readers (all of us) if we were already his clients and which means he shares some top secrets of this business.

All in all, I can say that it is amazing how many new ideas I managed to get from this book for so little money. Buying this book was one of my greatest investments. I only regret that I did not read this book in the eginning of my career in consulting.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
David Maister is one of the best exponents around of managing professional service firms. I came across the hardback edition of this book seven years ago when I was doing a course run for board directors of the global public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller. Now as independent public relations practitioner I find it an invaluable source of guidance. While I am generally none too keen on Amercian management textbooks - a little too evangelical for me - this is different. Full of cogent, well-reasoned and useful advice from the viewpoint of a practitioner. Highly recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Increasingly out of date 5 Dec 2009
By OzSn
Format:Paperback
I read this book as a lawyer and my comments apply only in that context.

There are many areas David Maister refers to where the legal profession has simply moved on from the analysis that he gives. For example, he is very uncritical of the traditional firm model of equity partners leveraged by ambitious young professionals motivated by reaching partner status. The whole book assumes that this model will largely persist. However in the UK this model is substantially under threat from alternative business structures and external non lawyer sources of capital.

Junior grades at law firms are increasingly staffed by non qualified paralegals who are trained to become effective in a very narrow area of practice. They are paid a fraction of what traditional lawyers would earn, but they are just as effective in their area. These people are also highly disposable in that they acquire a relatively narrow range of skills and may be redundant when the market turns away from their area. They have no chance of becoming an owner of the firm. Where this isn't the case now, it is a model likely to be increasingly adopted. Thus the whole premise of much of Maisters book, management of the process by which junior staff work fantastically hard to gain the prize of partnership, is looking increasingly irrelevant.

The chapter based on the presumption that demographic changes, reducing the number of young talented individuals available to recruit, is not the experience of law firms who find that the massive increase in lawyer training in the UK means there is a glut of people with law degrees and professional qualifications seeking to be solicitors. In the current economic climate it is likely to be many years before this changes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very full account of most aspects of a Professional firm and how to...
Very helpful and practical guidance throughout. Really good content overall which can be applied in day to day situations. Worth buying. .
Published 7 months ago by Ernie Messer
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent high level view
Good book, does what it says on the tin. Presents very simple management concepts very succinctly. Chapters are well laid out and you can pick and choose.
Published 10 months ago by Algae
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Managing the Professional Service Firm
A very practical guide to enhance profitability of a professional services practice
The advice given is as relevant today as it was when it was originally written
Published 13 months ago by Gavin Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic on professional firms
Great book. A classic on professional firms.

It is all rather calculating perhaps. And maybe it is less strong on creating the soul (or identity or whatever you want to... Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2011 by Peter W. Burden
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
Very useful and excellent book! I found at lot of interesting information in it. Simple and clear explanation of basics of a law firm.
Published on 12 Oct 2011 by Mykola
4.0 out of 5 stars Biblical
Reading this ought to be mandatory for very professional services firm.
Maister nails the critical issues with frightening insight (has he been monitoring our company?). Read more
Published on 5 Jan 2011 by D. W. Kessler
5.0 out of 5 stars Timelessly excellent read
Read this during my MBA, found it useful. Recently re-read it and found new insights nearly ten years on. I would recommend this to anyone managing in a Professional Services Firm.
Published on 24 July 2010 by Mr. C. J. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide to both managing the professional service firm, as...
While not increadibly profound, it does an excellent job of finding the right balance between breadth and depth. Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2009 by AK
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for aspiring managers in Consultancy/PS firms
David Maister is undoubtedly an expert in this area. This book will be an asset to practice managers and certainly aspiring managers working within management or IT consultancy... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2008 by Chandan Chowdhury
4.0 out of 5 stars Standard work on managing professional firms holds up fine
If you manage or work in a professional service firm, this book can put your operation into perspective by explaining what drives the firm's profitability. Read more
Published on 4 July 2006 by Rolf Dobelli
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