Lessons from Google

Loyal readers of Adam Smith, Esq. know that we think there’s much that can be learned for Law Land from other industries. Today’s column is in that vein, and our texts for today come from The New York Times and Above the Law. The first text is Tom Friedman’s recent “How to get a job
read more…

Articles, Cultural Considerations, Recruiting

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
read more…

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:
read more…

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
read more…

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
read more…

Articles, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Recruiting

Students Outsmart Professors?

Linear extrapolations are widely suspected of being unreliable, but maybe not widely enough. Stated differently, it’s a category error to engage in static, not dynamic, analysis. Stated yet differently, the interesting challenge is almost never to ask, “What can we do to solve this problem?” but instead, “What happens after we take this approach to
read more…

Articles, Law Schools, Recruiting, Strategy

Our Arms’ Race (2)

Now that I have published a column (“Our Arms Race“) which took a stand against lateral partner hiring almost across the board, let me acknowledge the obvious and state for the record that no matter what anyone says or the track record shows, lateral partner hiring is here to stay. So if you’re determined to
read more…

Articles, Compensation, Leadership, Recruiting

A Conversation with Kate Fritz

One of the more unusual reactions I’ve gotten to “Growth Is Dead” came from Kate Fritz, Managing Partner of Fenwick & West, who I had the chance to talk to recently. Several people have taken the book’s title a bit too literally, but Kate challenged the concept on another plane. She readily agreed that if
read more…

Articles, Innovative Managing Partners, Leadership, Recruiting

Our Arms’ Race

Within the past 48 hours: Managing Partner #1 (an AmLaw 50 firm) said to me, “I just don’t understand this lateral hiring frenzy. I just don’t get it. Do you?” Managing Partner #2 (an AmLaw 50, and one whose strategy has been so widely articulated and publicized, through word and deed, for a dozen years,
read more…

Articles, Compensation, Leadership, Recruiting, Strategy

Checked your demographics lately?

Sometimes large changes break across the landscape like summer afternoon thunderstorms, seemingly coming from nowhere and definitely getting everyone’s attention: And sometimes they steadily and stealthily accumulate over time, perhaps without anyone ever intending to transit from where we were to where, when we look around, we find ourselves today. Today we’re talking about Type
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Practice Group Management, Recruiting