What we do…
Adam Smith, Esq., LLC provides high-end consulting services to the legal profession, focusing on law firms, legal professionals and legal vendors globally.
Specific consulting services provided include:
- Strategic assessments – firm-wide, practice areas, geography
- Leadership and leadership development
- Finance and financial management
- Mergers and acquisitions – pre-merger due diligence, post-merger integration
- Compensation – program design, overhaul or revision, and alignment with firm-wide strategy
- IT and Knowledge Management – strategic considerations and applications
- Alternatives to traditional associate career paths and non-traditional career paths for all lawyers
- Marketing positioning and branding
- Client management programs – planning, implementation, evaluation
- Professional development
- Recruiting and retention strategies
- Research: Surveys, focus groups, one-on-one, and phone interviews
We also provide insights on emerging trends and implications of external factors, best practices and the impact of cultural considerations.
In addition to classic consulting, we also speak at legal conferences and law firm partner retreats and other meetings.
Based in New York City, we operate globally.
Bruce MacEwen, President
A lawyer and consultant to law firms on strategic and economic issues, Bruce is President of “Adam Smith, Esq.” (AdamSmithEsq.com), which provides insights on the business of large, sophisticated law firms. Since the site’s launch in late 2003, nearly 1,500 articles have appeared on “Adam Smith, Esq.” covering such topics as strategy, leadership, globalization, M&A, finance, compensation, cultural considerations, and partnership structures. 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.”
Recent engagements have included developing strategic plans for offices, practice groups, and firms as a whole; pre-merger due diligence and post-merger integration; strategies for re-conceiving associate career paths; alternative and strategic billing; and advising on the consequences of the economic “Great Reset” as well as the trend towards increasing segmentation among firms in every sector of the market.
Bruce has written for or been quoted in: Fortune; The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; The Washington Post; Bloomberg News/Radio/TV; Business 2.0; The International Herald Tribune; The National Law Journal; The ABA Journal; The Lawyer; and other publications too numerous to mention. He is a sought-after speaker and frequently appears at law firm retreats and legal industry conferences domestically and overseas.
Bruce is a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management, “formed to honor and recognize distinguished law practice management professionals [and to] inspire excellence and innovation by honoring extraordinary achievement.”
• Practiced securities law in-house for nearly ten years at Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter; and
• Practiced litigation and corporate law with Shea & Gould and with Breed, Abbott & Morgan in New York.
Bruce was educated at Princeton University (BA magna cum laude in economics), at Stanford Law School (JD), and completed the MBA coursework at NYU’s Stern School of Business (evening program).
A native Manhattanite, he lives on New York’s Upper West Side with his wife and their dog.
Janet Stanton, Partner
Janet Stanton is an accomplished business person who brings her experience from diverse industries and professional service organizations to bear on the issues facing law firms in the 21st Century.
Most recently, Janet was Director, Client Relationship Program at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which she joined as they expanded and re-worked their CR pilot initiative into a firm-wide priority to strengthen and deepen client relationships. This multi-dimensional program included client outreach, insight mining, internal training, resource development and communications.
Previously, Janet led highly profitable, multinational teams of service professionals. As Executive Vice President at the global communications agency, Bates Worldwide, she led several large and global client relationships, for organizations such as Pfizer and the US Department of Defense, where she successfully established and nurtured long-term, profitable client relationships. She was lauded as an “excellent agency partner” by the president of the Pfizer division her team worked for and was personally awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Janet managed the largest business unit at Bates, which generated $25-million in annual revenue. Under her, profits from the unit doubled in three years. At Bates, she also directed the firm’s global client feedback initiative and negotiated complex, global fee arrangements. Following Bates, she was President of a mid-sized full-service agency in Pennsylvania.
Janet is a graduate of Vassar College, which she attended as a Regents Scholar. For the 2005–2008 term, she served on the Law Practice Management Section of the New York State Bar Association. She is based in New York City.
Bruce and Janet are also the co-founders of JD Match, the first online platform for legal recruiting in the 21st Century.
Richard Rapp, Senior Advisor
An economist and business leader, Richard has a long record of success as a senior manager of professional service firms. For 18 years, from 1988 through 2005, he was president and CEO of NERA Economic Consulting. Under his leadership the firm grew to global scale with successful expansions into Europe, Asia, Australia and within the U.S. In collaboration with his partners, Richard designed the senior pay arrangements and supervised their evolution over decades – the origin of his expertise and continuing interest in senior compensation for professional service firms.
Richard served for many years as a member of the board of directors and management committee of the Mercer Consulting Group, a Marsh & McLennan Company subsidiary which included specialty businesses in actuarial and human resource consulting, change management, brand identity and general management consulting. He also served on the board of directors and the executive committee of the Legal Aid Society of New York from 1992 to 2005.
He has a Ph.D. in Economic History from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in economics from Brooklyn College. In 1976 he was a member in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study. Richard has been widely published in professional journals and is a co-author of the Market Power Handbook (2d edition, 2012) published by the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association.
Richard and his wife live in New York. They have been members of the National Council of the Santa Fe Opera for many years.
Don’t Just Take Our Word for It
A sample of the many endorsements from the legal profession’s foremost authorities and practitioners…
- “Simply the most famous online publication in the legal world.”
–Chair, AmLaw 10 firm
- “I just don’t know what the profession would do without you.”
–Chairman, AmLaw 25 firm
- “‘Adam Smith, Esq.’ is, and will remain, the definitive voice on law firm strategy.”
–CEO and Chair, Silver Circle firm
- “It is difficult to imagine that anyone in law firm management is not aware of Bruce MacEwen’s masterful review of the current state of the legal market.”
-COO, Silver Circle firm
- “You’re the brand name in law firm economics. No one writes about this subject better, or thinks about it more creatively, than you. There is no one out there–repeat, no one–who covers this business as well as you. I tell people this guy is really, really good.”
–Managing Partner, AmLaw 50 firm
- “Indispensable…the one and only.”