Growth is Dead: Part 11-Granting Your Wish

Thursday, November 8, 2012

We’ll have one more installment in our “Growth is Dead” series but let’s focus today on trying to synthesize a few themes that have been pervasive topics here on Adam Smith, Esq., since at least September 15, 2008, and even before, and look at their implications for “Now What?,” on the assumption that the thesis of this series has any truth to it.

Here at Adam Smith, Esq., the recurrent themes include:

  • Relentless pricing pressures, which every firm wants to escape from, but only a chosen few will be able to do.
  • New, varied, and multiple career paths, with many alternatives to the bimodal partner-track associate or equity partner model.
  • Ever accelerating rates of lateral partner mobility.
  • And new and/or growing entrants on the landscape, including LPOs, bulked-up inhouse departments, and law firms’ own “onshoring” operations.

How do these coalesce in how you should address the “growth is dead” environment?

Well, in the above order, if you want to embrace and turn these trends to your advantage, to “put yourself on the right side of history,” as opposed to futile and brittle resistance, rarely a winning game plan, then:

  • Discover a way to escape from the vise of pricing pressures by changing the terms of the conversation.
  • Prepare to entirely reconceive the demographics of your firm.
  • Decide whether the accelerating lateral partner bandwagon can provide enduring value for your firm, or how to do it carefully if it could work, or whether to eschew it, or something else altogether (and remember that this game includes playing defense as well as offense).
  • Rather than dismissing, or fearing, the new entrants, steal what they do best and jettison what you now do worst.

Got that?

OK, here ends the series.



Just kidding.

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  1. David Skinner, 3 years ago Reply

    I have enjoyed this series of articles immensely, Bruce. Thank you.

    Your question in today’s Part 11 as to the model for the many firms that will compete for survival in the middle tier got me thinking. However, what started out as a few short sentences turned into something much longer; too long to post here. So, here is a link to my reply to your question.

    Thanks again. I look forward to the final instalment…

    David Skinner
    (Gimbal Canada)

  2. mike, 3 years ago Reply

    great series of articles. they even had my non-lawyer, non-business spouse fully immersed.

    I look forward to the final instalment.

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