When it comes to law firm performance, does alignment matter? The answer is an emphatic yes. In our collective 65 years entrenched in law firms, we’ve seen well-aligned firms soar and succeed while poorly aligned firms have foundered and failed. But what exactly do we mean by alignment and why is it important?

There are law firms where everything is in sync. Like the vertebrae in a well-formed spine, elements of the business seem aligned. Members of the firm’s leadership team have collaborated to create a very clear business strategy and they’ve communicated that vision throughout the partnership and associate and administrative ranks. The partnership has worked together to support the strategy through a host of appropriate tactics: developing new practice areas, forming a firmwide compensation system in support of a mission, and fostering a culture allowing them to retain and develop top professionals and talented staff. For partners, they’ve put into place both extrinsic (compensation) and intrinsic (peer approval) rewards to reinforce those behaviors the firm prizes. These firms have agreed on a purpose and have established a plan for healthy growth.

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