Archives: Law Firm Leadership

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World’s Wealthiest Man, Jeff Bezos, Says Customers Today Are “Divinely Discontent”

I read with great interest Jeff Bezos’s 2017 letter to Amazon shareholders. I believe we can learn a great deal from a man whose company annually ranks number one on several distinguished surveys of customer and employee satisfaction. Bezos’s theories and suggestions – which he  confesses he has gained not only through Amazon’s successes, but … Continue Reading

How Will US Law Firms Compete with International Firms Offering Equity Outside the Legal Profession?

Two recent, related articles announce the details of a $21m investment by growth equity investor Highland Europe in INCOPRO, a leading machine-learning brand and intellectual property protection business that was co-founded by the UK law firm Wiggin. INCOPRO will use the investment for “the development of its Talisman online brand protection technology to help businesses … Continue Reading

Reducing the Tedium of Meetings: Wise Words from a Meetings Expert

As all of us know, most meetings are a pain. Many attendees are there only out of obligation or fear of being negatively perceived. A recent article by Paul Axtell in the Harvard Business Review, entitled “5 Common Complaints about Meetings and What to Do about Them,” takes a refreshing look at how meetings might be … Continue Reading

Why is Alcohol Abuse such a Problem among Lawyers? What Can We Do About It?

As this blog and many other law-related publications have reported, a 2016 study sponsored by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association found that more than 20% of lawyers are problem drinkers – a rate that is higher than that of any other profession. The study also showed that those in private … Continue Reading

Five Essential Articles: Depression and Substance Abuse among Lawyers

Rocket Matter has published a series of five excellent articles on depression and substance abuse among lawyers. They represent a valuable reminder that – given the competitive nature of our work, its heavy workloads, long hours, and limitless opportunities for stress –  even some of the most successful lawyers in the world are prone to … Continue Reading

Time-limited discount: Tackling Partner Underperformance, Second Edition, by Nick Jarrett-Kerr

A special note to readers:   My esteemed Edge International colleague Nick Jarrett-Kerr has arranged a substantial discount (effective only until March 28, 2018) for readers of Edge International Communique (EIC) who wish to purchase the second edition of his bestselling book, Tackling Partner Underperformance (Ark Group, 2018). So if you’ve been meaning to subscribe to … Continue Reading

Change Can Be Easier than We Think

In my years as a managing partner, I believed that the most difficult challenge of a leader in a law firm was to inculcate change. This Harvard Business Review article – which indicates that such indices as ease of implementation and the careful deployment of friction are essential to successful change initiatives – would suggest that … Continue Reading

Nurture Effective Leadership Where You Need It the Most

I was pleased to contribute an article entitled “Stealth Discrimination: A Model for Choosing and Managing Your Leaders” to the December 2017 issue of Edge International Communique. I developed the “Stealth Discrimination Model” several years ago to assist managing partners and others responsible for leadership in law firms who (like most of us) simply do … Continue Reading

Lawyers or Business Experts: Who Should Be in Charge?

It is not a new debate, but the question is perhaps more relevant than it has ever been before: Should lawyers or business wizards manage law firms? A recent article by Casey Sullivan in Bloomberg Big Law Business profiles chief operating officers at major US law firms that have chosen to put business and finance experts in charge of operations, rather than … Continue Reading

Law Firm Senior Management Underrepresented at CLOC Conference

At its second annual conference in Las Vegas in May 2017, the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) offered professional development sessions on a range of topics to more than 1000 attendees – twice the turnout of its first conference, which was held a year ago. CLOC describes itself as a “non-profit organization consisting of legal operations professionals providing education, … Continue Reading

Linklaters to Measure Teams Rather than Individuals: Exciting Model for Our Time

In a post at Legal Business, Matthew Field reports that Linklaters is about to “phase out individual partner metrics and annual assessments to focus on broader measures of team and firm performance.” The new performance-assessment strategy will focus on such areas as “client winning, business development, training and innovation,” Field says. Based in London, Linklaters … Continue Reading

Law Firm Success Depends on Success of Firm’s Lawyers

I was pleased to be invited by The Law Office Management Association (TLOMA) of Ontario to create an article based on my book, The Successful Lawyer: Powerful Strategies for Transforming Your Practice, for the February, 2017 issue of the association’s publication, TLOMA Today. The article I submitted, “Drive Law Firm Success by Helping Each Lawyer Succeed,” offers guidelines … Continue Reading

J+O Firm: Where Start-Ups Utilize Legal Counsel in New Ways

Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.  ~ Steve Jobs Rachel Johnson and Christina Oshan spent the beginning of their careers at large firms. They noticed that startups and emerging growth companies engaged with their legal teams using a different … Continue Reading

Exciting Breaking News – Transatlantic Merger Creates Global Top 40 Giant: Eversheds Sutherland

On Friday, two major firms I have deeply respected for many years – Eversheds, the global powerhouse based in London, and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, the exemplary American firm based in Atlanta  – announced a merger that changes the multinational legal game. I have known and watched both firms for a long time. Mark Wasserman, long-time managing partner of … Continue Reading

The Successful Lawyer – Now Available on your Computer, Tablet or Smartphone

The Second Edition of The Successful Lawyer: Powerful Strategies for Transforming Your Practice is now available in both paperback and Kindle versions. Among the kudos the first edition of this book attracted was one from Tom Peters, the highly acclaimed writer on business-management practice and author of In Search of Excellence, who described The Successful Lawyer … Continue Reading

Is the billable hour turning off talented young lawyers?

In an article published in the Globe and Mail earlier this month, Allison Speigel, a commercial litigator with Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, argues convincingly that the billable hour may be at the root of the disaffection of so many recent law graduates with firm-related work. Among Speigel’s arguments against the profession’s most cherished and wide-spread billing system are ones we … Continue Reading

Alternative Legal Providers: A Warning to Law Firms

Friedrich Blase, Global Director in Legal Managed Services at Thomson Reuters, is warning traditional law firms – especially the larger ones – of the potential threat to their existence of alternative legal providers, including the growing range of legal-market ventures and forms of disruptive technology. Blase believes that alternative legal providers could present an “existential threat” to law firms as early as 2020. Blase says that large firms … Continue Reading

Retaining Associates with Potential: The Coaching Circle

In a recent article in Practice Innovations Newsletter, Jane DiRenzo Pigott, Managing Director of R3 Group LLC in Chicago, highlights a problem faced increasingly by law firms: how to retain associates with promise and potential who are likely to be courted by other firms. She proposes the “coaching circle” as a strategy to help firms avoid the loss of their valuable young lawyers. The Problem Pigott points … Continue Reading

Addressing the Generational Divide

Statistics show that vast majority of managing partners in law firms in America are older (and usually male) members of the baby boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1955. Many lawyers from this demographic are hanging onto their practices well past the traditional age of retirement, and this phenomenon is leading to an age imbalance that could put … Continue Reading

Report warns that traditionally structured law firms could fall behind within a decade

A February 2016 “Insight Report” from Deloitte takes a close look at the future of the practice of law in the UK, and urges firms to make plans immediately to prepare for changes that are likely to upend the entire profession within a decade. “Indeed, by around 2020,” says the report, “we expect a tipping point for firms which will impact … Continue Reading

Will greed spell doom for the world’s largest law firms?

Legal-issues writer Elizabeth Olson tackled the subject of the legal profession’s generational divide in “Graying Firms Wrestle with Making Room for Younger Lawyers,” an article recently published in the New York Times. “If any discipline is a window into the debate about balancing short-term profits over long-term survival,” Olson wrote, “it is the legal profession, one of … Continue Reading

Making Difficult Decisions

An article by Peter Bregman in the Harvard Business Review will interest anyone faced with making a decision from among a range of equally appealing (or unappealing) options  – which, of course, happens to most of us all the time. Such deliberations can range from the relatively trivial, like deciding what to have for lunch, to the significant, such as determining how best to broach a difficult … Continue Reading
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