Partnership Structures

The “Big Three” Annual Reports on Law Land

With the release last week of the Annual Report from Georgetown Law’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, the “Big Three” annual reports—Altman-Weil’s Law Firms in Transition, Citi/Hildebrandt’s Client Advisory, and Georgetown’s—are now all out and we can see what trends and developments they seem to discuss in common. Even armchair students of
read more…

Articles, Client Relationships, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Don’t Go Public! (?)

It has become a commonplace—I have bowed to convention and endorsed the notion myself—to observe that law firms are labor-, not capital-, intensive, and that (here’s the dangerous and subtle segue) therefore there would be no benefit to them in taking on outside investors, much less going public. This is often combined, at least by
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Leadership: And How to Squander It

Altman Weil’s annual Law Firms in Transition survey, the 2015 edition, was just published, and as usual it makes for some fascinating reading—at least for me and I suspect for many of the devotees of Adam Smith, Esq. As you may know, this is the seventh year they’ve done this survey in more or less
read more…

Articles, Client Relationships, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Practice Group Management, Strategy

Letter from London: Part I

We recently returned from London on business, and this will be the first of a few installments presenting our thoughts given the benefit of 17 meetings in five business days. As you know, we work globally with firms of all sizes in a wide variety of markets with every permutation of office footprint and practice
read more…

Articles, Client Relationships, Compensation, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

How Reliable are the AmLaw Numbers?

The AmLaw rankings have been with us for over thirty years, and despite the evergreen complaints about their design, purpose, impact, and reliability, to our knowledge no one has ever tried to systematically ask AmLaw firms themselves whether and to what extent they actually comply in reporting accurate data.  We think it’s time to take a look. We
read more…

Articles, Finance, Partnership Structures, Recruiting

Designing the Future Law Firm

You may have heard about the Business Leadership Summit being organized by The Lawyer, taking place in London September 22—23. (More information here; registration here.) The theme is “embracing change in the delivery of legal services,” and here are are a few of the highlights: The keynote speaker on Day 2 will be Peter Kalis,
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Finance, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Money or Culture?

Circling in the wings around almost any discussion of management and leadership issues in law firms, sometimes touted as a virtue above all others and sometimes only alluded to with caution, as one would might a wraith, is the issue of a firm’s “culture.” A few observations about culture in Law Land: Firms and their
read more…

Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

“Seamless”?

A few weeks ago reports surfaced about a motion seeking to compel Norton Rose Fulbright to withdraw from representation of its client Duke University in a case brought against the university by the estate of John Wayne, which wants the right to market alcoholic beverages branded with Wayne’s “Duke” nickname—a textbook trademark dispute. The Wayne
read more…

Articles, Branding, Business Models, Client Relationships, Leadership, M&A, Marketing, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Letter from Near and Far

Gentle Reader: Apologies for not having published more frequently over the past couple of weeks but business has taken us to Paris, the south of France, London, Portland, and Seattle–with 48 hours in New York inbetween the European and the Pacific Northwest trips. We met with firms ranging from the Magic and Silver Circle to US-based
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Practice Group Management, Strategy

The Elite Face-Off: NY vs. London

A famous former (and now late)  leader of the US House of Representatives, the classic Boston pol Tip O’Neill, supposedly remarked that “all politics is local.”  To that I would add MacEwen’s corollary, that “all rivalries are local.” In many ways, the leading candidate for most intense local rivalry in BigLaw is between London’s four
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy