Paralyzed? Snap out of it

“Never before has our future seemed so shrouded in fog and noise,” I’ve written, and discussed its paralytic effects on our decision-making. Comes now academic vindication of just how strong the effect is. But I’ve also dug up, from the same academic source (the Wharton School), a potential antidote. If we have the courage to
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Articles, Innovative Managing Partners, Leadership, Strategy

Law Schools on Fire

Yesterday morning I got back to New York on the redeye from Seattle where I’d been at the annual NALP conference, attended by well over 1,000 people involved in career services from law firms and law schools. (I was there figuratively wearing my JD Match hat, not my Adam Smith, Esq. hat.) For those of
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Articles, Law Schools, 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

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

Where Do You Want Your Firm to be in 2020?

The following was published a month ago in LegalBusiness as part of their periodic “Dissent” series.  The original appears here. Adam Smith, Esq’s Bruce MacEwen argues that short-termism and a lack of stewardship has come to define the modern law firm To judge from the way law firms behave – it’s helpfully instructive to ignore what they
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Articles, 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

See Talent. Liberate it.

It’s been viewed online nearly 7 million times. Sheryl Sandberg calls it one of the most important documents ever to come out of Silicon Valley. And it was created by the company whose stock increased in 2013 more than any other’s in the S&P 500—up nearly 350%. “It” is a 126-slide PowerPoint called “Netflix Culture:
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Articles, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Practice Group Management, Recruiting

See Talent. Feed It.

Turnabout. I recently wrote about how to demoralize, discourage, and disenchant top talent. This is about how to retain that talent. Like the prior column, this one is based on one of the top columns of the year from Strategy + Business, the Booz & Co. publication: “Retaining Top Talent: Yes, It Really Is All
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Articles, Compensation, Leadership, Recruiting

See Talent. Kill It.

That law firms are all about talent is a commonplace. Too bad that so many lawyers seem to have an uncanny knack for knocking the wind out of the sails of the most spirited contributors. I dare you to tell me that you don’t recognize at least a few colleagues who exhibit some of the
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Recruiting

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