Case Study / Sucession Planning


AmLaw 100 firm with historic compensation system.

Key Issues

AmLaw 100 firm with historic compensation system featuring “perpetual” origination credit for clients—giving partners every incentive to hoard legacy clients and resist smooth, or any, transition to next generation of relationship partners. As the majority of the firm’s key relationship partners neared retirement, the potential loss of the firm’s key client base became a critical risk.  Our task was to wean the firm off this system and institutionalize multi-generational teamwork.


Because the firm believed in the value of granting credit for originating new work, we advised they retain it but switch from client to matter origination credit, and that it sunset over a three-year period.  With these relatively minor adjustments, relationship partners realized it was in their best interest to expose appropriate colleagues to the client in hope of generating new matters.

Additionally, working closely with the Managing Partner and Executive Committee, we launched a programmatic firm-wide communication effort to convey the importance of the key client relationship continuity initiative.  Reinforcing this, practice group leaders assigned particular individuals to be the next generation relationship partner for each of the firm’s key clients.  Milestones were set up and accountability enforced.


Within 18 months of launching the new system, critical client relationships were on much firmer and  more enduring ground.  We are now a few years past the start of the program and client continuity has ceased to be a challenge, or even a visible issue, for the firm.

learn more about Adam Smith, Esq. & Succession Planning +



Bruce MacEwen, President
direct: +1.212.866.4800
mobile: .+1.212.866.2630
New York

Janet Stanton, Partner
direct: +1.212.866.4270
New York

Sign-up for email

Be the first to learn of Adam Smith, Esq. invitation-only events, surveys, and reports.

Join +


Sign-up for email

Be the first to learn of Adam Smith, Esq. invitation-only events, surveys, and reports.

Get Our Latest Articles Delivered to Your Inbox

Like having coffee with Adam Smith, Esq. in the morning (coffee not included).

Oops, we need this information
Oops, we need this information
Oops, we need this information

Thanks and a hearty virtual handshake from the team at Adam Smith, Esq.; we’re glad you opted to hear from us.

What you can expect from us:

  • an email whenever we publish a new article;
  • respect and affection for our loyal readers. This means we’ll exercise the strictest discretion with your contact info; we will never release it outside our firm under any circumstances, not for love and not for money. And we ourselves will email you about a new article and only about a new article.

Welcome onboard! If you like what you read, tell your friends, and if you don’t, tell us.

PS: You know where to find us so we invite you to make this a two-way conversation; if you have an idea or suggestion for something you’d like us to discuss, drop it in our inbox. No promises that we’ll write about it, but we will faithfully promise to read your thoughts carefully.