Adam Smith, Esq., Consulting Services

Our promise to our clients

We are a boutique management consultancy, proudly serving law firms around the world of every size and in every market segment, offering concrete solutions to help firms better prepare for tomorrow. We approach each engagement as agnostics, with no ready-made advice or one-size-fits-all answers.

Since we opened shop in 2002, our focus has been squarely on law firms; we don’t work with in-house departments or other professional services companies which, in actuality, bear little resemblance to law firms.

At Adam Smith, Esq., our approach is high-touch, informed by data and the history and capabilities of your specific firm, and driven by the insights, perspective, and judgment of the only people you’ll work with, our principals–who bring to your engagement their decades of deep study of the industry.

A few other things about us…

  • We provide our unvarnished opinions and we will tell you what we think. But we promise to be very nice about it, and we recognize that you are the client—meaning that we’ll be highly supportive of whatever decisions you ultimately take.
  • We work collaboratively with our clients. This means among other things that we’ll check in regularly during the process and will seek your inputs along the way.
  • We use a range of creative techniques, many unique to us, to accelerate and focus decision-making, as well as to build consensus and buy-in. Obviously, we’re flexible and tailor each approach to best suit each client’s needs, constraints, and priorities.
  • Our presentations are content-rich, engaging and tailored to the issues of each firm. We “sweat” our reports, connecting the dots to reveal more edifying themes, conclusions and recommendations.  We don’t do “data dumps” nor measure our worth “by the pound,” but rather by data-informed insights leading to practical, specific action items.
  • We take our work very seriously – but not ourselves. We love what we do.
  • As you should expect, we approach all our work with the utmost confidentiality, discretion, and probity.

“Everything should be as simple as possible— but not simpler.” — Einstein

Strategy Development

A strategic plan is no longer a nice-to-have. Our own and others’ research confirm that firms that have a compelling, distinctive strategy (and stick to it) consistently outperform those that don’t.

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We believe that incentives matter and if you watch how lawyers behave you will find them closely attuned to the behaviors that bring the greatest rewards at year end. That’s why many firms come to us for counsel on their compensation structures—from a tweak to a clean-sheet-of-paper overhaul.

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Mergers & Acquisitions

The sad reality is that many mergers don’t live up to expectations, leaving the combination, in some ways, worse off than before the merger.  A key reason is that, frankly, many mergers were a bad idea from the start – and then were poorly implemented.  That said, the pace of mergers continues to accelerate.

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Law Firm Governance

The term “governance” can seem abstract or amorphous, but in our view it shouldn’t be mysterious.  It primarily consists in the “executive” functions of the firm for the smooth and ideally nearly-frictionless day-to-day management of the firm’s essential administrative tasks – the “operations” functions.

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Strategic Client Management

A substantial body of research and case studies strongly support the value of strategic client management as an approach to enhance the financial performance and sustainability of law firms.

The goal of strategic client management is to institutionalize key clients by being more intentional in all aspects of client service – which goes well beyond the expert practice of law. Unfortunately, all too few firms recognize the potential power of strategic client management and, as a result, have either ignored it or put in place ad hoc fixes.

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Succession Planning

A successful transition of your firm’s leadership roles and key client relationships into new hands is essential to ensure the firm’s sustainability and future vitality.  At Adam Smith, Esq., we can help you address the complexities of these transitions and make them disciplined and smooth.

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Client Feedback

Why does client feedback matter? Quite simple; it’s impossible to know how you’re doing or how you may improve unless you ask…your clients. That said, many law firms forego this. Therefore, just asking can be seen by your clients as a competitive advantage, which are hard to come by for law firms. Moreover, it is a personal demonstration of your commitment to your client and can further solidify the relationship; both very good things.

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The premise of a premortem is simple. Those considering adopting a new initiative—say, a strategic plan, a new compensation system, a technique for measuring profitability or streamlining workflow—are asked to imagine themselves a year hence when the initiative has failed miserably. Everyone is invited to take a few minutes writing down the reasons it failed.

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Independent Directors

The challenges facing law firms continue to ratchet up with no end in sight.  This might be the very time to consider alternative approaches to help your firm manage, even anticipate what might be coming next.  Or perhaps there’s been a thorny internal issue that just won’t go away. That’s where we come in.

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At Adam Smith, Esq., we conduct a wide range of workshops to help firms achieve clarity on a variety of issues they face.  We tailor each format to best address your specific challenges.  We generate full participation and then use simple techniques that reveal where consensus lies. 

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Too often law firms base their business decisions on little or no objective inputs or analysis – which would be a felony in the practice of law.

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Retreats & Conferences

The costs of putting together and attending law firm retreats and industry conferences, both in time and financial outlays, can be considerable. We’ve worked with dozens of firms and other organizations to help ensure that the outcomes are more than commensurate with the investment — as evidenced by the many clients who keep inviting us back.

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Law School Lectures

As our closest approximation to pro bono service, we make it a resolution and a custom to serve as guest lecturers at leading law schools around the world…

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What we do not do:

We do not consult on the following topics, although we know several firms and individuals who can provide exceptional service in each of these areas and are happy to offer recommendations:

  • Individual coaching or mentoring;
  • HR issues (nor are we headhunters/recruiters);
  • IT from the technical perspective (as opposed to its strategic dimension, such as Knowledge Management)

Based in Manhattan, we operate globally, in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America, and in the UK and Continental Europe.

Where We’ll Be

There’s no substitute for face to face. Meeting in person invites nuance, shading, adds dimensions to communication, and fosters stronger relationships. So, we travel. Here are a few of our upcoming locations. Are you in the area? Want to meet? Let us know.

We have new events coming soon.
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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

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