Leadership

R&D for law firms: Can we learn from Corporate America?

Today’s column is by Janet Stanton, Partner, Adam Smith, Esq. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that Law Land resists change like the plague. And, yes, this is pretty widely attributed to the phenom known as the “lawyer personality,” characterized by an almost pathological aversion to risk.  But let’s unpack this a bit to better understand
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Articles, Finance, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

IBM Watson & Machine Learning

Last week here in New York we had the opportunity to invite a couple of dozen law firms to “An Introduction to IBM Watson” at the brand new $1-billion IBM Watson facility down on Astor Place. This is not going to be a report on that event, except insofar as it helped advance our thinking
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Articles, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

“Collegial and Collaborative?” Really? (Take Two)

Two weeks ago we invited you to take a survey (three to five minutes of your time, tops) to try to get to the bottom of whether law firms are really "collegial and collaborative," as they are perennially asserting. If you missed your chance the first time around, here it is again: A gentle reminder,
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Articles, Client Relationships, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Practice Group Management

Looking for Innovation in All The Wrong Places

Jimmy Lee, 62, died last week of a heart attack after working out, at his home in Darien. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he was a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, where he had spent his entire 40-year career. He started right out of Williams College at Chemical Bank (later merged into JPMC) when
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Articles, Business Models, Leadership, Strategy

Financial or Strategic M&A?

The industry standard in tracking law firm mergers, Altman Weil’s Mergerline, has had this to say about activity in the wake of the Global Financial Reset (emphasis mine): 2011:  “There were 60 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in 2011.  The annual total was up 54% from 2010 and at the
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Articles, Finance, Leadership, M&A, Strategy

“We’re #1″

A slightly briefer version of this column appeared in Bloomberg Law’s Business of Law.  I republish it here with their kind permission, and with a small amount of additional elaboration. Fact:  For the first time, Latham & Watkins took the top spot for revenue in the American Lawyer rankings. Hypothesis:  Some industry commentators have said that to
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Articles, Leadership, Strategy

What’s Your GE Capital Practice?

Do you ever actually look hard at your firm’s overall business structure? No, really. Let’s go a step further. Stipulating arguendo that you are one of the rare few who do every once in awhile take a hard look, what do you then actually do about it? I submit that we have in two seemingly
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Letter from Sao Paulo

Just back from a week of meetings with law firms in Sao Paulo, and a few impressions are worth reporting. First of all, everyone—no surprise—has the political situation in Brazil on their minds front and center. President Dilma Rousseff’s approval ratings are reportedly at 6—7%, an all-time low since polling began in the country after
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Articles, Globalization, Leadership

Can Big Firms Innovate?

“Innovation” seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. Among other things, the problems are: Many people, lawyers in particular, are stumped when it comes to describing what “innovation” actually is; Business history proves to a fare-thee-well that it’s extremely challenging for successful incumbents to actually follow through with anything innovative; And of course there’s
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

What Macroeconomics Means to You

Across my desk last week came US Trust’s 2015 Investment Strategy Overview, a 40-page publication laying out their view of the year ahead for investors, including their highlights and overall perspective as well as a global macro overview, their views on specific asset classes including “alternative” assets, an investment themes update, and their sector allocation
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Articles, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Strategy