Leadership

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

What’s Value? Answer One Question

Newish to many lawyers, rarely to their delight, is a growing realization that when clients start talking about the price for legal services, they don’t (really) care whether that price is arrived at by summing a whole lot of billable hours, a negotiated “AFA,” a successful RFP submission, or drawing straws. What clients really want
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Articles, Business Models, Client Relationships, Leadership, Strategy

M&A “Cultural Due Diligence”

The widely experienced and catholically curious Lee Pacchia (formerly of Bloomberg Law, now at his own Mimesis Law) asked me to stop by his studio last week and talk about the role of culture in law firm combinations.  I also touch on the issue of “deal momentum,” how to really try to get a handle on another
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, M&A, Strategy

M&A Due Diligence With a Soul

To paraphrase the gone-but-not-forgotten E.F. Hutton campaign (I did work on Wall Street—I’m allowed these memories), when a Director Emeritus of McKinsey, who founded and led the firm’s global practice supporting mergers and acquisitions, speaks about “culture” in the M&A context, people listen. The fellow is David Fubini, and he recently published Before a merger,
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, M&A, Strategy

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

Checkbook Recruiting

From the Kirkland & Ellis site, under the topic Careers–>Laterals Overview (I quote in full, emphasis supplied): At Kirkland, the quality and experience of our lawyers are among our greatest strengths. We are committed to making a substantial investment in our lateral hires by fostering an environment in which they are seamlessly integrated into our
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Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Recruiting, Strategy

A Conversation with Joe Longo

Last month I had the pleasure of being on a panel in Europe with Joe Longo, the General Counsel for Asia-Pacific of Deutsche Bank AG.  Joe had some particularly thought-provoking and hard-headed observations about the changing dynamics between law firms and clients.  I thought it would be worth drawing Joe out a bit more extensively
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Articles, Client Relationships, Globalization, Leadership, Profiles of Individuals

Watson: Boring or Terrifying?

Nearly four years have passed since IBM’s Watson beat two human beings at Jeopardy, and not just any two human beings: Ken Jennings, record-holder for longest winning streak (74 appearances) and Brad Rudder, largest single money-winner ($3.25-million). As I’ve noted before, IBM moved with alacrity to begin commercializing the Watson technology and now the Wharton
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Technology strategy

Money or Culture?

Circling in the wings around almost any discussion of management and leadership issues in law firms, sometimes touted as a virtue above all others and sometimes only alluded to with caution, as one would might a wraith, is the issue of a firm’s “culture.” A few observations about culture in Law Land: Firms and their
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

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