Adam Lewis, a Director and the Managing Partner of the Australian and New Zealand practices of McKinsey & Company, was one of my co-presenters at the World Masters of Law Firm Management last week, in Sydney.

Adam told us a number of fascinating things about McKinsey, one of the premium consultancies in the world. Among them were two gems:

1) McKinsey & Company has no internal marketing department. (Why not? Because the consultants themselves market the firm.)

2) 2/4/8. Every Director in the firm is required to be working on “2” assignments, be in the process of proposing for “4” more, and in communication with “8” more prospective clients.

Management within McKinsey follows up to ensure that “2/4/8” is a reality.

Some superb marketing professionals in some extraordinary law and accounting firms confided in me that if their fairy godmother granted one wish it would be that their “professionals” would interact with clients beyond just doing the work.

It sounds like McKinsey’s “2/4/8” means that the fairy godmother has already visited McKinsey & Company.

All of the Managing Partners with whom I work are devoured by their "multitasking work environments".  "Recovering from information overload" (McKinsey Quarterly, January 2011) authors Derek Dean and Caroline Webb have succinctly laid out their take on the problems and solutions:

Problems (multitasking):

slows us down,

hampers creativity and

makes us anxious and it’s addictive)

Solutions (Coping with the deluge):


Filter and


Perhaps the most valuable part of the article lies in an exploration of how to hit the "reset button".

If you are the Managing Partner (or have any leadership responsibilities in your firm) I suggest you read this article twice, once to assimilate it and next to make your action plan for the parts or pieces you want to implement.  Download the PDF or read online.








Andre Dua, a director in the New York office of the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, recently explored the ramifications of the growth of “Massive Open Online Courses,'” commonly known as MOOCs.

The online delivery of MOOC learning systems makes them cost-effective, and accessible to students from around the world. Some of these courses are already being offered as credentials towards degrees and professional designations, and Dua wonders what will happen to universities and colleges when such courses are developed into more comprehensive programs, partially or completely eliminating the need for students to attend educational institutions in person.

There is no doubt that the field of online education is exploding. Dua points out that “Coursera, a for-profit venture that taps professors and lecturers from 62 universities (including Princeton, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania) boasts many courses with 50,000 to 100,000 users who pay nothing for access to the best professors in the world; overall, the company has more than 2.7 million registered students (most of them overseas), who take at least one course.”

In a video embedded in the article, Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of Udacity – another on-line education company, which has already taught an introductory computer-programming course to more than 200,000 students worldwide – talks about how effective on-line teaching differs from classroom teaching: it makes use, for example, of techniques employed in computer games, and allows students to take as long as they need to master specific skills or areas of knowledge.

Indeed, in discussing the pros, cons and inevitable growth of online educational offerings, Dua mentions in particular the possibilities such courses offer to address widespread concerns among employers that today’s graduates do not enter the workforce with the knowledge and the skills they need. The capacity of MOOCs to offer customized learning experiences to thousands of students at a very low cost gives them an undeniable advantage over the large classes and distractions that are increasing hallmarks of bricks-and-mortar learning.

It seems inevitable that MOOCs will become at least a component of higher education, and it is interesting – perhaps even urgent – for us to consider how law schools will adapt to this new reality: and what will happen if they don’t. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject – or any other – either below in the comments section, or directly through my email.

Note: has compiled a list of 20 places where you can already get on-line educational offerings for free.

The September 2007 McKinsey Quarterly has an interesting article called: The Evolving Role of the CMO by David Court who discusses four areas of change for the CMO:

  • Changing to reflect new consumer [client?] buying behavior
  • Shaping the Company’s [Firm’s?] public profile
  • Managing Complexity
  • Building new Marketing Capabilities

Before concluding, David discusses how the CEO [Managing partner?] can help.  This advice touches three areas

  • Take time to understand what’s really happening with customers [clients?]
  • Foster the right connection between the CMO’s efforts and those other parts of the organization
  • Be a "thought partner" for the CMO as he or she transforms the marketing organization.

PUNCHLINE:  I know The Evolving Role of the CMO was not written for law firm CMO’s but then again how much of real quality is.  If you are a serious CMO in a serious law firm, get your librarian to acquire this for you and, if I am right, you will then want to ask your Managing Partner to read it (11 pages including graphics etc) and have a meeting with you to discuss the benefits the two of you can achieve from selectively implementing the David Court’s suggestions.  I am well aware that many CMO’s do not have the influence they deserve inside their law firms – this may be a helpful tool on the path to acquiring it.

NOTE:  General access to McKinsey Quarterly is free but requires registration and log-in – for recommended article, premium (paid) subscription is required.

Darrell Kelley is a powerhouse and I wish him the very best at Holland & Knight. For the full story see: New COO named at one of Florida’s largest law firms EFI-DKelley-Color.jpg My question is not “can Darrell Kelley manage” it is “will Holland & Knight let him”. This is in no way personal to H & K; my question is based on what I have observed globally from ex-airline presidents to former McKinsey partners to ex-presidents of large engineering firms — appointed to manage law firms — one year in a law firm and they are pulling their hair out one strand at a time. Stay tuned!