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

3 Leading Indicators of Failure

Can you remember a time when there was so much talk of more BigLaw firm failures? I can’t. Count yourself a believer or a skeptic (and there are hardcore advocates on both sides, including gleeful cheerleaders in the first camp and diehard deniers in the second camp), this is a new phenomenon on our landscape.
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Delusions of Crowds

When a large number of smart, accomplished, ambitious people seem to be behaving in a way that makes no rational sense, there has to be an irrational explanation. I’ve written and spoken before about my overall attitude towards aggressive lateral partner recruitment. As Calvin Coolidge reportedly said, leaving church and asked by a reporter what
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Articles, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Practice Group Management, Recruiting, Strategy

A Call to Arms: III

The first installment in this series presented the background and basic ramifications of the proposal now pending in Congress to require law firms and other professional service firms with annual revenue over $10-million to adopt the accrual accounting basis and not the cash basis. The second installment outlined the financial repercussions in dollars and cents,
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Articles, Compensation, Finance, Globalization, Strategy

A Call to Arms: II

In the first installment in this series, I outlined the proposal pending before Congress to require essentially all law firms with more than one or two dozen lawyers (more than $10-million in annual revenue) to switch from cash to accrual accounting. In this installment I promised to talk about the financial impact. There are actually
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Articles, Finance

A Call to Arms: I

As creator of an online publication with worldwide readership, I suppose you might think it ill behooves me to launch a critical salvo at the media (“mainstream” and otherwise, a distinction increasingly without a difference), but I have often found consensus choices about what’s newsworthy and what’s not to be driven more by fashion and
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Articles, Finance

Son of Great Depression

Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, authors of the famous 2009 book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, are back with a study reporting their follow-up research on how major economies of the world are dealing with the aftermath of the financial meltdown. To recap, for those who left for an
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Articles, Finance, Strategy

Lake Wobegone

A few highlights from The American Lawyer’s just-released annual law firm leaders survey: Five years in to the Great Reset, the way clients buy legal services has settled into a new normal: In-house capabilities are expanding; Price/fee pressure is relentless; Work is being pushed to cheaper suppliers (which, yes, includes LPO’s, but also most definitely
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership

FT Innovative Lawyers/2013

The other night I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the FT’s Innovative Lawyers 2013 (US) awards ceremony at the New York Public Library’s main Fifth Avenue and 42nd branch. (The report was published here the next day in the paper, and you can download a PDF here.) Since this is now an
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Articles, Finance, Globalization, Innovative Managing Partners, Leadership

More Equity Partner Cuts to Come?

The always intrepid Lee Pacchia of Bloomberg Law invited me to come by and talk about the quarterly reports on the State of BigLaw just released by Citi Private Bank and Wells Fargo’s law group. We also got off on the topic of whether lawyers can really be “entrepreneurial,” and what I fear may be
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Articles, Compensation, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy