Cultural Considerations

Living in Liminal Times

“lim•in•al” (1) of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process; (2) occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold. From the Latin limen/liminis: threshold, doorway. You may not have thought of it this way, but we are living in liminal times. The word and the concept
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Strategy

Partners Behaving Badly

The other day we were in a meeting with the head of strategy and marketing and the Chair of an AmLaw 100, and the Chair mentioned an extremely promising introductory meeting he’d had a few days earlier with the General Counsel of a well-recognized company. Although the GC and the Chair had never met, the company already
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Articles, Client Relationships, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Practice Group Management, Strategy

Letter from Near and Far

Gentle Reader: Apologies for not having published more frequently over the past couple of weeks but business has taken us to Paris, the south of France, London, Portland, and Seattle–with 48 hours in New York inbetween the European and the Pacific Northwest trips. We met with firms ranging from the Magic and Silver Circle to US-based
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Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Practice Group Management, Strategy

Bingham/Morgan-Lewis

Whether or not the bruited Bingham/Morgan-Lewis merger is consummated, Bingham as we know it is beginning to cease to exist. While I have no inside information and am not professionally involved in the recent developments, inquiring minds have to ask what has happened and why, and if there are any lessons for the rest of
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance

How Not To Lead

Lately you’ve seen a few columns here on the topic of leadership: Namely, how to do it well. Invoking the equal time rule, today I want to talk about failed, misguided, and destructive leadership, using two examples from very different walks of life. The first, a CEO of a Fortune 50 firm, is a matter
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Practice Group Management

Do You Love What You Do? Really?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about leadership—something of a first here at Adam Smith, Esq., at least calling it out explicitly by that name—and the topic deserves revisiting and elaboration. My article took off from an HBR piece, Why You Lead Determines How Well You Lead, but it in turn relied on research
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Articles, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Strategy

The Elite Face-Off: NY vs. London

A famous former (and now late)  leader of the US House of Representatives, the classic Boston pol Tip O’Neill, supposedly remarked that “all politics is local.”  To that I would add MacEwen’s corollary, that “all rivalries are local.” In many ways, the leading candidate for most intense local rivalry in BigLaw is between London’s four
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Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

The Age of Anxiety

We’re just back from a week in London—coincidentally smack in the middle of the UK firms’ earnings-release season—and for reasons far more profound than that annual roll call of bragging rights, the level of preoccupation with the future in the great City has never to us seemed higher to us. A telling, and extremely representative,
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

“Disruption:” Barbarians at the Gates?

Lots of loose language has been tossed about lately on the topic of “disruption,” and it may be time for a bit of perspective. McKinsey, never late to a trend, published Strategic principles for competing in the digital age a few weeks ago, noting that “Digitization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies
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Articles, Business Models, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Strategy

The 5:1 Male/Female Partner Ratio

For those of you who may have missed it, we refer you forthwith to Brian Dalton’s latest column on Above The Law, “Is There a Business Case for More Female BigLaw Partners?” Anyone with a scintilla of conscience can only look at the information presented there with some combination of shame and dismay—if not despair.
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Practice Group Management, Recruiting, Strategy