Bruce MacEwen / President
A lawyer and consultant to law firms on strategic and economic issues, Bruce has become a recognized leader in the industry. He founded Adam Smith, Esq. in 2002, and has published nearly 2,000 articles probing such topics as strategic prioritization of practice areas and office footprint, globalization, leadership, finance, mergers and acquisitions, and partnership structures. He is a sought-after speaker and frequently appears at law firm retreats and legal industry conferences in the United States and around the world
Bruce has written for or been quoted in: Fortune; The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; The Financial Times, The Washington Post: Bloomberg News/Radio/TV; Business 2.0; The International New York Times; The American Lawyer; The National Law Journal; The ABA Journal; The Lawyer, LegalBusiness, and in numerous other media. Bruce is also the author of Growth Is Dead: Now What? (2013); A New Taxonomy: The seven law firm business models (2014); and Tomorrowland: Scenarios for law firms beyond the horizon (2017). Tomorrowland, especially, has gained a worldwide audience, in North and South America (where the Spanish language version, Mundos del Manana, was released in early 2018), the UK and Europe, the Middle East and Asia. “Must reading for every law firm managing partner, for every law firm partner, and for anyone interested in the future of Big Law. Extraordinarily well done and insightful; audacious and courageous. A tour de force.”—Brad Karp, Chair of the Firm, Paul Weiss.
Before founding Adam Smith, Esq., Bruce:
- Practiced securities and corporate law with Breed, Abbott & Morgan and with Shea & Gould in New York; and
- Was an inhouse securities lawyer with Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter on Wall Street for a decade.
Bruce was educated at Princeton University (BA magna cum laude in economics) and at Stanford Law School (JD). He also completed the MBA coursework at NYU’s Stern School of Business (evening program) while at Morgan Stanley.
A native Manhattanite, he lives with his wife and their dog on New York’s Upper West Side, where he chairs the Finance Committee and serves on the Vestry of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.
Tomorrowland: Scenarios for law firms beyond the horizon
Tomorrowland (2017) lays out possible future scenarios for law firms, ranging from “nothing changes,” to profound dislocations brought about by developments such as lawyer psychology blocking essential reforms, a dramatic escalation in the war for talent, the triumph of brand names, genuine and useful machine intelligence, new entrants (including the Big Four) grabbing market share, and more. It doesn’t predict what will happen but explains what could, drawing widely from the history of other industries and broad experience with how markets evolve and change.
“Must reading for every law firm managing partner, for every law firm partner, and for anyone interested in the future of Big Law. Extraordinarily well done and insightful; courageous and audacious. A tour de force.”
—Brad Karp, Chair of the Firm, Paul Weiss
“Covers some big territory very well and tests the edges of what is comfortable. Thoughtful and challenging; motivates the reader to pause and think, in spades.”
—Mark Rigotti, Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Smith Freehills
“No self-respecting law firm leader should be prepared to run the risk of leaving it unread.”
—Charles Martin, Senior Partner, Macfarlanes [from the Foreword]
“Masterful—a convergence of a lifetime of learning, and not just between the white lines of the legal industry.”
—Peter Kalis, Chairman and Global Managing Partner, K&L Gates?
Growth Is Dead: Now What?: Law firms on the brink
In early 2013 Bruce published his first book, “Growth Is Dead: Now What?,” outlining the consequences for the legal industry of the great financial reset of 2008. It has received an overwhelmingly positive response in the market, with strong worldwide sales; Bloomberg Law described it as having “immediately become required reading, from the one and only Bruce MacEwen.”
A New Taxonomy: The seven law firm business models
Bruce’s second book, “A New Taxonomy: The seven law firm business models” came out in mid 2014, identifying distinct species of law firm businesses, their management priorities and challenges, intrinsic strengths and weaknesses, and future prospects. David Morley, Worldwide Senior Partner of Allen & Overy, said “My test of a good business book is simple; does it provide context that clarifies your thinking? This book does. It paints the BigLaw order of battle in vivid colors on a broad canvas. It helps you see the whole battlefield, not just the skirmishes.”
Adam Smith Esq. tailors seminars and presentations for law firms seeking to motivate and educate partners and associates. Every presentation is bespoke, created to address each law firm’s objectives.