Finance

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

How profitable are law firms? Really

Today, a column from Janet Stanton, inviting us (with her) to take a fresh view of Law Land with a brain uncorrupted by having lived her entire life in Our World: A challenge to our readers:  Just how profitable are law firms? Having spent most of my professional career in Corporate Land, I was innocent of
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Articles, Finance

What’s Your Merger Score?

Law firm merger talk seems more in the air than ever, with deals and rumors of deals abounding and redoubtable resources such as Altman Weil’s MergerLine reporting record levels of activity. We would like to believe we’re relatively impervious to being swayed by what’s in vogue (or what’s not), and we certainly do not inhabit
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Articles, Finance, M&A, Strategy

The Hollow Middle Since 2008

I call it the Hollow Middle, but Knowledge@Wharton prefers “Disappearing Middle.” Here’s what, writing in their pages, the CEO of the Cambridge Group, identified as “a growth strategy consulting firm that is part of Nielsen,” has to say about it: The Great Recession forced consumers to drastically rethink their purchase behaviors and, even though many
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Articles, Branding, Client Relationships, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

What Does The AmLaw Second Hundred Tell Us?

Brief thoughts prompted by the release a few days ago of the AmLaw Second Hundred. These are firms ##101—200 in the AmLaw ranking, and by and large they’re regional shops based in secondary metropolitan areas, or small shops in primary cities, or specialists. First a few headline numbers just to set the stage: For these
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Our New Book: A Taxonomy of Firms

Many of you have read or know of our first book, Growth Is Dead: Now What? Law firms on the brink, published early in 2013. We now have a sequel of sorts, just published this week: A New Taxonomy: The seven law firm business models. “A sequel of sorts” in the sense that the Now
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Strategy

Our Battle for Market Share

It has become bromidic to observe that we’ve moved from a linear growth market, ever up and to the right, to one of flat demand (did someone say, “growth is dead?”). We are, in short, in a battle for market share. Welcome to the rest of the economy. That’s the bad news and the good
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Mid-Size

I was at a conference of “Canadian Law Firm Leaders” outside Toronto earlier this week, and one of the highlights of the event, to my mind, was a talk by a representative of PeerMonitor, ThomsonReuters’ data analytics arm, which compared the recent performance of AmLaw first hundred, AmLaw second hundred, and so-called “mid-size” firms (their
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

3 Leading Indicators of Success

Turnabout. Today we have a sequel, in a yin-yang fashion, to our earlier column, “3 leading indicators of failure.” What might the equivalent indicators be for success, or outperformance? I’m not going to rehearse characteristics of successful firms that I consider elementary learning from Manaqement 101, or good organizational hygiene, any more than I would
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Articles, Business Models, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy