Case Study / All-Partner Retreat & Conference


A last-minute assignment from an AmLaw 200 firm

Key Issues

In our first meeting with the firm’s retreat committee to discuss our participation, it became clear they had no agenda for the retreat scheduled for just weeks away.  The logistics had been finalized: a 5+-star resort in a sunny clime had a signed contract, scores of partners were making travel arrangements, ice sculptures for the cocktail reception had been commissioned – but they, as yet, had not planned any of the content

And, for good measure, this was the first retreat under the aegis of the firm’s newly minted Management Partner.  Tensions were running pretty high.


We used that first meeting to develop a common understanding of their goals for the retreat.   After a quick immersion into the firm’s history, market perception, financials and, importantly, key challenges, we re-met with the retreat committee with a comprehensive agenda to cover two and a half working days at the retreat tailored to the issues and exigencies of their firm.

Fortunately, because we’ve contributed to so many firm retreats, we have a practical understanding of what works and what doesn’t – including the range and variety of sessions to effectively inform and actively engage participants.

At conference itself we:

  • delivered the keynote presentation;
  • conducted and moderated customized all-hands breakout sessions;
  • met informally with broad cross-section of equity partners and senior “C-suite” business professionals to glean additional qualitative insight into the firm’s dynamics.

Following the retreat, we delivered a detailed report including, our candid observations and specific recommendations for the firm.


Happily, the retreat went off with nary a hitch.  Following receipt of our post-retreat report, the firm’s managing partner wrote: “Your valuable advice resulted in this retreat being unanimously viewed as our best ever. Through your thinking, the retreat prep, your presentation/breakout work during the program, and now to this summary, our partners have crossed the threshold of recognition of the change imperative.”

And, we can do even better with a bit more time.

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Bruce MacEwen, President
direct: +1.212.866.4800
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New York

Janet Stanton, Partner
direct: +1.212.866.4270
New York

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