Strategy

2014 Nobel in Economics

Around this time of year the Nobel Prize in Economics is awarded, and while we don’t always cover it here on Adam Smith, Esq., this year’s is worth a note. As everyone who cares about these things an iota knows by now, the winner was Jean Tirole of Toulouse University in France, for his work
read more…

Articles, Just Plain Interesting, Strategy

Partners Behaving Badly

The other day we were in a meeting with the head of strategy and marketing and the Chair of an AmLaw 100, and the Chair mentioned an extremely promising introductory meeting he’d had a few days earlier with the General Counsel of a well-recognized company. Although the GC and the Chair had never met, the company already
read more…

Articles, Client Relationships, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Practice Group Management, Strategy

“Seamless”?

A few weeks ago reports surfaced about a motion seeking to compel Norton Rose Fulbright to withdraw from representation of its client Duke University in a case brought against the university by the estate of John Wayne, which wants the right to market alcoholic beverages branded with Wayne’s “Duke” nickname—a textbook trademark dispute. The Wayne
read more…

Articles, Branding, Business Models, Client Relationships, Leadership, M&A, Marketing, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Letter from Near and Far

Gentle Reader: Apologies for not having published more frequently over the past couple of weeks but business has taken us to Paris, the south of France, London, Portland, and Seattle–with 48 hours in New York inbetween the European and the Pacific Northwest trips. We met with firms ranging from the Magic and Silver Circle to US-based
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Practice Group Management, Strategy

Do You Love What You Do? Really?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about leadership—something of a first here at Adam Smith, Esq., at least calling it out explicitly by that name—and the topic deserves revisiting and elaboration. My article took off from an HBR piece, Why You Lead Determines How Well You Lead, but it in turn relied on research
read more…

Articles, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Strategy

The Elite Face-Off: NY vs. London

A famous former (and now late)  leader of the US House of Representatives, the classic Boston pol Tip O’Neill, supposedly remarked that “all politics is local.”  To that I would add MacEwen’s corollary, that “all rivalries are local.” In many ways, the leading candidate for most intense local rivalry in BigLaw is between London’s four
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Change is neither good nor bad: It is

With this, his inaugural column, it is my great pleasure to introduce to our readers and clients Doug Caddell, who is formally joining Adam Smith, Esq. as a senior advisor (see the About Us page for more on Doug’s distinguished background). Doug brings over three decades of experience in strategy-focused technology leadership in our industry
read more…

Articles, Knowledge Management, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

The Age of Anxiety

We’re just back from a week in London—coincidentally smack in the middle of the UK firms’ earnings-release season—and for reasons far more profound than that annual roll call of bragging rights, the level of preoccupation with the future in the great City has never to us seemed higher to us. A telling, and extremely representative,
read more…

Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

“Disruption:” Barbarians at the Gates?

Lots of loose language has been tossed about lately on the topic of “disruption,” and it may be time for a bit of perspective. McKinsey, never late to a trend, published Strategic principles for competing in the digital age a few weeks ago, noting that “Digitization is rewriting the rules of competition, with incumbent companies
read more…

Articles, Business Models, Cultural Considerations, Leadership, Strategy

What’s Your Merger Score?

Law firm merger talk seems more in the air than ever, with deals and rumors of deals abounding and redoubtable resources such as Altman Weil’s MergerLine reporting record levels of activity. We would like to believe we’re relatively impervious to being swayed by what’s in vogue (or what’s not), and we certainly do not inhabit
read more…

Articles, Finance, M&A, Strategy