Finance

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

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

What’s Your GE Capital Practice?

Do you ever actually look hard at your firm’s overall business structure? No, really. Let’s go a step further. Stipulating arguendo that you are one of the rare few who do every once in awhile take a hard look, what do you then actually do about it? I submit that we have in two seemingly
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Pricing Power

The growth of professionals in Law Land with the word “pricing” in their title has been explosive over the past couple of years. It’s a trend we applaud loudly and fervently, so perhaps it’s worth a primer on how it’s done in the major leagues: When B2B companies with thousands of SKU’s and tens or
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Marketing, Practice Group Management, Strategy

ABA Antitrust Immunity? Not so fast

Hallelujah! A profession just lost a very big round at the Supreme Court. I refer of course to the Court’s 6-3 ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, finding that the dental examiners’ board attempting to prohibit nondentists from teeth whitening violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. If you think this was
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Globalization, Strategy

Can Big Firms Innovate?

“Innovation” seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. Among other things, the problems are: Many people, lawyers in particular, are stumped when it comes to describing what “innovation” actually is; Business history proves to a fare-thee-well that it’s extremely challenging for successful incumbents to actually follow through with anything innovative; And of course there’s
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

What Macroeconomics Means to You

Across my desk last week came US Trust’s 2015 Investment Strategy Overview, a 40-page publication laying out their view of the year ahead for investors, including their highlights and overall perspective as well as a global macro overview, their views on specific asset classes including “alternative” assets, an investment themes update, and their sector allocation
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Articles, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Strategy

Law Firm Profitability Conference

Regular readers know that some of the “evergreen” topics here on Adam Smith, Esq. include: The theme that profits matter more than revenue—but that remarkably few partners think in those terms; The inevitable invasion of Law Land by Big Data in all its many guises and implications; Clients’ having seized the steering wheel out of
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Articles, Finance, Practice Group Management

Accountability? Who, Me?

Russell Long (1918—2003) was a US Senator from Louisiana for nearly 40 years (1948—1987) and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for nearly half that period. As such, he was an expert on the US tax code and, legend has it, observed that the realities of politics meant any effort to enact “tax reform” could
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Articles, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Practice Group Management, Recruiting