Leadership

Looking for Innovation in All The Wrong Places

Jimmy Lee, 62, died last week of a heart attack after working out, at his home in Darien. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he was a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, where he had spent his entire 40-year career. He started right out of Williams College at Chemical Bank (later merged into JPMC) when
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Articles, Business Models, Leadership, 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

“We’re #1″

A slightly briefer version of this column appeared in Bloomberg Law’s Business of Law.  I republish it here with their kind permission, and with a small amount of additional elaboration. Fact:  For the first time, Latham & Watkins took the top spot for revenue in the American Lawyer rankings. Hypothesis:  Some industry commentators have said that to
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Articles, Leadership, 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

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