Not to disappoint you anticlimactically, but the reality of dynamism in markets is that we don’t really know. But I have a nominee for a strong potential category type, and yes, it’s the “synergistic super-boutique.”

This type of firm does a few highly complementary things very well—and doesn’t do anything else.

For example?:

  • Imagine a firm that excels in securities broker-dealer regulation, white collar and governmental investigations, and financial services compliance;
  • Or a firm that’s a go-to name brand for all things healthcare-related: IP, regulations, insurance, etc.
  • Or a firm that does worldwide high-stakes litigation, arbitration, and asset tracing and recovery.

You get the idea.

Are there lots of these firms? No. A better answer might be: Not yet.

Think about this model. What it has going for it:

  • Focus
  • A clear branding/client benefit message
  • High intrinsic profitability

Its challenges:

  • Limited capability (by definition); down cycles can hurt
  • Have to choose the right clients/industries/specialties
  • Partners hoarding clients kneecap the model
  • Distributing the spoils (compensation) can be a challenge.

What I like most about “synergistic super-boutiques” is that they seem to me a new species to have emerged recently on the ecological landscape of law firms. Here at Adam Smith, Esq., we celebrate innovation.

Will they have staying power? Who knows, but if they were stocks I’d rate them a buy.

Will other business models emerge? I devoutly hope so. We need the equivalent of a Cambrian Explosion in Law Land.

Finally, what will the industry look like in the future?


For that, Dear Reader, I turn to you to answer.

Yes, you guessed it: We have an Adam Smith, Esq. survey about the taxonomy.

Here’s the survey.

The usual ground rules apply:

  • All responses are anonymous (unless you prefer otherwise, and you’ll have the chance to provide contact info at the end)
  • The results will be reported right here on Adam Smith, Esq.
  • We urge you to take the poll and circulate it to your friends and colleagues—the more people who take the poll the more interesting the results will be.

Take the survey!

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