Strategy

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

Letter from London

Greetings from the right side of the pond: Impressions and observations from a wide-ranging series of conversations and meetings over the past few days. 1. Overall, the market here strikes me as a few years beyond—more evolved—than the US market. Why this is so I have no theory, but firms in general talk more crisply,
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Articles, Business Models, Cultural Considerations, Globalization, 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

A Call to Arms: III

The first installment in this series presented the background and basic ramifications of the proposal now pending in Congress to require law firms and other professional service firms with annual revenue over $10-million to adopt the accrual accounting basis and not the cash basis. The second installment outlined the financial repercussions in dollars and cents,
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Articles, Compensation, Finance, Globalization, Strategy

Son of Great Depression

Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, authors of the famous 2009 book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, are back with a study reporting their follow-up research on how major economies of the world are dealing with the aftermath of the financial meltdown. To recap, for those who left for an
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Articles, Finance, Strategy

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
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Articles, Law Schools, Recruiting, Strategy

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