Efficient, effective technique, allowing all to be heard – then building to consensus and action

“We Can Work It Out” – P. McCartney and J. Lennon

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.

Each workshop is highly structured, facilitated by Janet and/or Bruce, where key stakeholders at your firm or practice area participate and reach consensus by evaluating and ranking priorities and then identifying and agreeing to specific action items for top priorities.

These take about one-half day.  Following each workshop we prepare a detailed report, including our observations, recommendations and “watch outs.”

Representative Workshops (discussed below)


Strategic Planning

Jumpstart your planning process

Coming out of this half day workshop, you’ll have a very good sense of your firm’s or practice area’s priorities for growth, investment (and divestment)—and action plans for each priority. You’ll be well on your way to having a plan outline that aligns with your strategies and business goals, one that you can begin implementing immediately.

It is a very effective and efficient program to achieve alignment and buy-in for programs that will improve financial performance, market visibility, and competitiveness.

This format can also work in a variety of situations where there is a need to prioritize and build strong consensus around a manageable group of strategically important initiatives—be it for the firm’s overall strategic plan, motivating compensation structures, innovation programs, etc.


Adding Value to Clients

How to increase your value to your clients

“Adding value” is a persistent buzz phrase in Law Land – but what does it actually mean and what can your firm do about it?

This workshop is premised on a rigorously researched study out of Bain that identified 30 fundamental elements of value in the eyes of clients. Some of these elements are functional, such as “saves time.” Others are higher-order, such as “reduces anxiety.” Moreover, their research revealed a correlation between the level of value-delivered to clients and key performance metrics for the firm, including client retention, revenue growth, and profitability—all supported by a compelling case study.

This workshop will help each firm identify where they currently add value and where they could add value in the future, vastly enhancing each firm’s value proposition.
As with all our workshops, the group ends up identifying specific, actionable next steps they can start implementing immediately.

We don’t think we need tell anyone how important it is to bring added value to clients; we just help individual firms specify how they can up their game.


Financials for Lawyers

Build  your firm’s financial acumen

It’s not surprising that many lawyers are in the dark about law firm finances, since this is rarely a part of traditional law school curricula.  Our half-day workshop provides a basic grounding in how law firms earn money and turn a profit—and why strong performance on those critical economic measures are absolutely essential to lawyers’ professional success and the long-term sustainability of the firm.  Our workshop enables lawyers to:

  • Be more savvy about the impact of various pricing, staffing and billing practices;
  • Approach their careers with more awareness of what’s expected of them;
  • Make a connection between their daily work and the firm’s strategic goals;
  • Appreciate the firm’s business decisions; and
  • Understand what drives the metrics by which they’ll be evaluated,

all with the goal of making your firm’s lawyers more valuable to the firm more rapidly, and over time.


The Premortem

Stress test your ideas before they’re launched

The premise of a premortem is simple. Those close to adopting a new initiative—say, a strategic plan, a new compensation system or a similarly consequential issue—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.

The rationale is to change the dynamic from trying to avoid any issue that might disrupt harmonious agreement on the initiative to challenging people to surface potential problems. Of course, an immediate beneficial consequence is to invite adjustments or fine-tuning to the initiative that will help increase its odds of success. (The formality of premortems make them far more effective than the casually posed “let’s play Devil’s advocate for a few minutes.”)

At Adam Smith, Esq., we conduct Premortems in a workshop format (directed by us), which is an effective and efficient approach to raise and discuss potential pitfalls – developing action plans to address the most consequential.

The goal is to help firms make better decisions.



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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