Articles

Complexity Requires Systems

Much talk has been devoted lately to whether the growth of in-house law departments will take market share from Big Law, or, posed more in the language of economics, whether in-house lawyers are a reasonable substitute for outside counsel. Confessing that I have not devoted concerted effort to exploring the issue, I suppose my own
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Strategy, Technology strategy

Looking for Innovation in All The Wrong Places

Jimmy Lee, 62, died last week of a heart attack after working out, at his home in Darien. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he was a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, where he had spent his entire 40-year career. He started right out of Williams College at Chemical Bank (later merged into JPMC) when
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Articles, Business Models, Leadership, Strategy

“Collegial & Collaborative?”: Let’s Find Out

We’ve written before about law firms’ nearly universal use of the terms “collegial” and “collaborative” to define what makes their cultures, each and every one, special. So indiscriminate is this usage that we find it not just promiscuous but bordering on wanton, and becoming in and of itself devoid of meaning. On the other hand.
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Articles, Client Relationships, Cultural Considerations, Marketing, Practice Group Management

Happy Birthday, Adam Smith!

Today is Adam Smith’s birthday: 1723, so he would be 292 today. Well, at least we think so. His birth was registered at the church in Kirkcaldy, Scotland (just across the Firth of Forth north of Edinburgh, not 10 miles as the crow flies) on 5 June 1723, so educated guesses place his actual birth
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About the Site, Adam Smith Himself, Articles

Financial or Strategic M&A?

The industry standard in tracking law firm mergers, Altman Weil’s Mergerline, has had this to say about activity in the wake of the Global Financial Reset (emphasis mine): 2011:  “There were 60 law firm mergers and acquisitions announced in the United States in 2011.  The annual total was up 54% from 2010 and at the
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Articles, Finance, Leadership, M&A, Strategy

De-Listing

With the annual publication of the AmLaw 100 and Second Hundred, it’s rankings season for BigLaw. Think of it as our little industry’s equivalent of earnings season for public companies—we having become a “quasi public” industry, as one of my favorite managing partners has observed. The difference is that we report our financials annually as
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Articles, Finance, Globalization, Publications, Strategy

Pericles’ Funeral Oration (Memorial Day + 1)

Nothing can possibly accompany a silent captioned picture of Arlington, so I publish this separately and for your reflection at your leisure and as with all things only if you wish. But for those of an historic bent, the tradition of annually setting aside a day to honor those fallen in war goes back at
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About the Site, Articles

Memorial Day

About the Site, Articles

The Client Seat (2)

When we last left our intrepid band at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church interviewing law firms for advice on the church’s vacant, crying-out-for-development, corner lot (here’s the original column), we had just finished meeting with firms.  Since then we sent out a very brief RFP and we’ve now heard back from all candidates. Each of the three firms received the
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Articles, Client Relationships, Marketing

“We’re #1″

A slightly briefer version of this column appeared in Bloomberg Law’s Business of Law.  I republish it here with their kind permission, and with a small amount of additional elaboration. Fact:  For the first time, Latham & Watkins took the top spot for revenue in the American Lawyer rankings. Hypothesis:  Some industry commentators have said that to
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Articles, Leadership, Strategy