When Mark Oium decided in 2000 to split from O’Connor, Cohn, Dillon & Barr and start his own shop, the defense-side personal injury litigator had his book of business, and he had his employees. But when it came to law firm management, the San Francisco attorney didn’t have a clue.

“Having been a liberal arts major, and a lawyer for 23 years, I really didn’t have any business experience,” he said. “That was the daunting task.”