Strategy

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
read more…

Articles, Finance, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

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

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
read more…

Articles, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

Complexity Requires Systems

Much talk has been devoted lately to whether the growth of in-house law departments will take market share from Big Law, or, posed more in the language of economics, whether in-house lawyers are a reasonable substitute for outside counsel. Confessing that I have not devoted concerted effort to exploring the issue, I suppose my own
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Finance, Strategy, Technology strategy

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
read more…

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
read more…

Articles, Finance, Leadership, M&A, Strategy

De-Listing

With the annual publication of the AmLaw 100 and Second Hundred, it’s rankings season for BigLaw. Think of it as our little industry’s equivalent of earnings season for public companies—we having become a “quasi public” industry, as one of my favorite managing partners has observed. The difference is that we report our financials annually as
read more…

Articles, Finance, Globalization, 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
read more…

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
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Pricing Power

The growth of professionals in Law Land with the word “pricing” in their title has been explosive over the past couple of years. It’s a trend we applaud loudly and fervently, so perhaps it’s worth a primer on how it’s done in the major leagues: When B2B companies with thousands of SKU’s and tens or
read more…

Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Marketing, Practice Group Management, Strategy