Leadership

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

Letter from Sao Paulo

Just back from a week of meetings with law firms in Sao Paulo, and a few impressions are worth reporting. First of all, everyone—no surprise—has the political situation in Brazil on their minds front and center. President Dilma Rousseff’s approval ratings are reportedly at 6—7%, an all-time low since polling began in the country after
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Articles, Globalization, Leadership

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

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