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Post #648 – Tuesday,
February 12, 2013
World’s Fastest-Growing Economies in 2013
Forget the BRICs. If it’s emerging markets with explosive
potential you’re looking for, here are some serious considerations:
Mongolia - You have a tiny economy of just under 3 million
people. And they are sitting on enormous reserves of natural resources. The top
10 deposits alone are worth an estimated $3 trillion. It’s a decade-long story. A good analogy is Kazakhstan, which is culturally similar — an old
Soviet-style economy that opened up and created an enormous boom, thanks to
resources. The stock exchange went up 2,400% in six years from 2002; apartment
prices rose 800%-plus and land prices in Almaty rose 8,000%.”
Myanmar (or if you prefer, Burma) - Another great story. Fifty years of isolation and
dictatorial rule and it is finally starting to thaw. There is no reason why
Myanmar can’t approach the development of its neighbors such as Thailand, given
time, investment and a commitment to freer markets. Expect it to be one of
the fastest-growing economies in Asia.
United Arab Emirates - The economy went through a giant bust, but its place
as the money center for the Middle East is secure, thanks to low taxes, privacy
protection and location. It has the region’s biggest marine port and airport
and is home to the highest number of foreign businesses. Best of all, the market is cheap after an
epic bubble, but the underlying economy is still growing rapidly.”
Post #647 – Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Among LinkedIn’s Top 5%
Today I received this nice note: "Congratulations. You have one of the top 5% most viewed
LinkedIn profiles for 2012. LinkedIn now
has 200 million members. Thanks for
playing a unique part in our community."
Very nice! Thanks.
Post #646 – Monday, February 4, 2013
an intense session this past week with a group of eager practice group leaders in
San Francisco, here are some guidelines to reflect upon that emanated from our
various workshop discussions:
• Create goals
that are both realistic and unrealistic; commit your goals to writing and
ensure that they are measurable, and then celebrate the achievement of each goal.
• Be genuinely
interested in the needs of others and be interested in the growth of others
even more so than the others are at times.
• Know that all
endeavors will not be easy and will not happen the way you would have planned
or wished. Inspire persistence even after the first, second, and third
rejection of an attempt.
• Infuse a need
to grow by teaching, rather than giving the answers.
• Maintain an
awareness of just how much your body communicates and remember that your body
continues talking long after your lips stop moving.
• Fuss over
others’ events, achievements, families, and friends.
• Avoid assuming
that your communication or personality style is the one everyone else has and
learn to modify your communication style to the style of others. Adhere to the
principle that “communication is not what was said, but what is received.”
• Give yourself
permission to leave things undone and let go of needing to be perfect, and of
needing everyone else to be perfect.
• Become clear
and comfortable with the fact that leadership does not mean “being the most
popular one on the playground.”
• Believe that
people do what they get paid attention for, and be spontaneous, as well as
scheduled in your recognition efforts; but avoid giving a public person,
private recognition as they will see little or no value in it.
• Remember that
money does not motivate for the long term and becomes expected.
• Address only
areas of behavior and performance when being critical; and avoid engaging
emotions until all angles have been examined. Maintain clarity on the fact that
attitudes are not taught or changed without the owner’s consent.
traits as part of who you are, not what your particular title is!
Post #645– Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Join Me at The Practice Group Leaders Workshop
Join me in San
Francisco next week, on January 30,
for an intensive one-day workshop. There
are only a few days left to register and only a few seats remaining.
are the leader of a practice group or industry team, whether this is your first
experience in leading a group or the custodian of an especially
challenging group of mavericks, you are among the most essential players in
achieving your firm’s long-term profitability and success . . . But this job is not an easy one!
It is your challenge to:
• Create a
strong cohesive group out of a collection of bright, intelligent, autonomous
how, as a practice leader, you add value and what specifically is it, that you
can do, that is likely to affect the success of the group you lead
impact and enhance client satisfaction – turning client needs into growth
• Find a way
to develop a strategic direction in an intensively competitive marketplace and
have your colleagues actually want to work together
effective meetings that result in some action plans being formulated and your
colleagues taking responsibility for actually doing something
Click here for the complete agenda and to register. I
received these sample comments from a couple of practice group leaders that attended my last workshop session in Chicago:
“I enjoyed the
practical tips. Patrick really understands law firm cultures and was responsive
to specific questions and situations.” Kerrin Slatery –
McDERMOTT WILL & EMERY
extraordinarily helpful. Much more helpful than a similar event I went to
at the Harvard Business School. It has given me some terrific insights
that I intend to implement immediately.” Scott Turner –
Post #644 – Thursday,
January 10, 2013
More On Malignant Leaders
My January article in
American Lawyer Magazine, entitled Malignant
Leadership, stimulated a good number of emails from readers wanting to pose
questions and explore this subject in more depth – which makes one wonder
whether they are observing certain behaviors within their own firms that they
find troubling. In any event, here are
some of the questions, followed by my response.
To read the complete post - click here
Friday, January 11 - This was sent by a Partner (from an AmLaw 50 firm) who would prefer to remain anonymous:
Mr. McKenna’s article is excellent. However, the article
appears to be premised upon at least two “aspirational” assumptions: (a) the
managing partner and his/her governing board are open to such procedures; and,
(b) the partners at large have the courage not only to advocate for those
procedures, but to insist that they be followed.
Unfortunately, my own experience, as well as that of many
others I know in large law firms, suggests that rarely do either of these
assumptions prove to be true. More
often, it is the large rain-makers, rather than those most qualified (and most
likely to be receptive to instituting such procedures), who are placed in
positions of firm leadership. Those
individuals then typically seek to consolidate their power by surrounding
themselves with like-minded persons (i.e., individuals who are willing to place
their own interests above those of their partners and the firm as a whole),
and/or persons they can control. Partnership
agreements may be modified to accomplish this, or such agreements may be
ignored altogether. More importantly,
those who could do something about the situation – the partners themselves –
sit idly by out of fear for their own positions, having watched those brave
enough to take a stand being sliced to bits and then unceremoniously hurled out
the saloon’s plate glass window onto the dirt street. Indeed, the partners (myself included
at my former firm) who sit by and do nothing are probably the most to
blame for this situation – they get what they deserve (or some other applicable
However, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Indeed, the bankruptcy courts and those
charged with the responsibility of cleaning up the messes left after these
malignant leaders drive their firms into the ground, fall just slightly below
the rank and file partnership in terms of blame (in my opinion). Until the bankruptcy courts and the persons
charged with administering the bankruptcy process are willing to actually hold
these malignant leaders accountable for their acts – in ways that leave no
doubt that the legal profession and society will no longer tolerate such
conduct – rather than do that which is expedient, there is absolutely no
incentive for the malignant leaders to do otherwise. It is ironic that if creditors in these law
firm failures could see beyond the end of their respective noses (i.e., the
long-term), they would realize that their future interests would be better
served by taking a stand to deter this conduct now, thereby reducing the risk
that they and others will find themselves in this situation again (and again,
and again). It seems to me that
financial institutions who regularly loan money to law firms and individual
partners would be particularly incentivized to do this. Silly me.
Please excuse my broken record regarding this issue of
holding malignant leaders accountable in bankruptcy proceedings; however, as I
believe this point is key. In fact, it
is one of the few areas where behavioral change can actually be effected (as
opposed to waiting for the rank and file partners to stand up and say, “I’m mad
as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”) in the relatively near term.?
The unchecked malignant partner problem would seem to fall
squarely within first part of Lord Acton’s oft quote adage, “Power tends to
corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I’m less sure of the applicability of the
second half of the adage – i.e., “Great men are almost always bad men.” That is to say, I find it difficult to
characterize most of these malignant leaders, both those whose firms have failed
and others still in power, as “great men.” “Bad men,” yes; “great men”, no. Thanks for letting me vent.
Post #643 – Wednesday,
January 2, 2013
latest article appears today in the January issue of American Lawyer magazine.
wasn’t until a pair of more recent failures, of Howrey and Dewey & LeBoeuf,
that we’ve seen the industry begin to hold a firm’s own leadership accountable
for its failure.
often, boards and/or executive committees facilitate firm failures by denying,
overlooking, or “working around” crucial issues. In other words, firms fail when good people
do nothing! There is an absence of
checks and balances. Power is
centralized, and those responsible for monitoring have either been silenced or
choose to be mute. So when the board is
benign . . . the leadership can become malignant.
can take some time to realize that a firm leader is on a path to disaster. This is particularly the case when the leader
has had a stellar career. Fortunately,
there are firm-governance steps that can be taken to curb a malignant
leader. While this list is not
exhaustive, it does present plenty of options for consideration.
To read the complete
article – click here.
Post #642 – Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Is Your Firm Facing A Leadership Transition?
Few NEW firm leaders are as prepared as we, or they might wish. As
one expressed it:
"New firm leaders mistakenly believe that because they have
served as a practice group manager, an office head or on the firm's
executive committee they have the necessary background for taking on the role
of leading the entire firm . . . Not even close!"
The good news is that there is an orientation program for new leaders
that can make a meaningful difference and over 50 firm chairs and managing
partners have already experienced and attest to the difference it can make.
"I was struck by the synthesis of the issues you presented.
It was amazingly clear and comprehensive, given the breadth of the topic
and the short time available. I was delighted to attend the event and
learned a lot from it." Hugh Verrier, Chairman - White &
If you are are (or know of a firm) facing a firm leadership
transition or even having a new office managing partner taking the reins of one
of the larger offices, please have a look at: www.first100daysmasterclass.com
The next program is scheduled for February 7th at the University of Chicago
and we are now accepting registrations. Have a look at the day’s
agenda, the faculty, the testimonials, the extensive course materials, the
follow-up support and your total satisfaction guarantee.
Post #641 - Monday, December 31, 2012
New Year Greeting
"Our year end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going forward with all of the wisdom that experience can instill in us."
Post #640 – Monday, December
2012 In ReviewI’m often asked about my consulting practice, what kinds of assignments I get called in on, for what sized firms; what I’m currently researching and writing about, and just generally how I spend my professional time. I looked back over my various activities during this past year. With some of these items (like clients served) activity is not a sufficient measure; results and the client’s satisfaction are really what counts (and to that end, you can find numerous client testimonials and commentary throughout this web site). But for purposes of looking at where one’s time is invested, here is what my year looked like:CLIENT FIRMS SERVED• Geographic Locations:82% U.S. Based 9% Canadian 9% Internationa• Nature of Assignments:46% developing / implementing strategic plans45% governance and leadership issues 9% client relations and marketing projects• Firm Size Range:19% firms of over 500 attorneys27% firms of 300 to 500 attorneys54% firms of 100 to 300 attorneysSPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS• Participated in presenting at 3 WebinarsThe Future of Legal Services (January)
Selecting Your Next Firm Leader (July)
The Firm Leader – COO Team: A Sensitive Balancing Act (November)• Participated in 6 Workshops & MasterClassesConference Chair & Presenter – Overcoming Lawyers’ Resistance To Change Conference (April)
Speaker – Legal Management Forum (May)
Facilitator – Practice Group Leaders Workshop (January, June & August)
Co-facilitator – First 100 Days Masterclass (August) THOUGHT LEADERSHIP• Authored or Contributed to 17 Articles in Publications including:American Lawyer Magazine
Legal Management Magazine
Canadian Lawyer Magazine
Of Counsel – Legal Practice and Management Report
SLAW – Cooperative Legal Weblawg
Leadership Foundation For Higher Education [UK]
Professional Marketing Forum’s PM Magazine [UK]• Initiated Research Project covering:The world of the firm leader – activity, interests, succession planning and next career moves.• Two new issues (Spring & Fall) of my International Review 24-page glossy magazine were produced and distributed to 2000 firm leaders.• Contributed Articles and Materials to 2 New Books:- Professional Service Firm Competitiveness: Beyond Strategy with Robert Sawhney (an e-Book published in Hong Kong)
- A Field Guide For Mobile Lawyers (e-Book, AttorneysAtWork.com)OTHER INITIATIVES: • Participated on Dr. Jim Hassett’s legal project management advisory board.• DOUBLED the size of my Linkedin site – Law Firm Leaders – to more than 190 members. Law Firm Leaders is the ONLY social networking site exclusively for the chairs and managing partners of firms of over 100 lawyers in size - with 62% representing leaders from firms of 100 to 300 lawyers; 16% from firms of 300 to 500 lawyers and another 19% coming from firms of over 500 attorneys.• Received numerous “unsolicited” LinkedIn Endorsements for my strategic planning expertise from firm leaders and senior professionals from major firms including:Baker & McKenzie
Skadden Arps In spite of the challenges we face in the world, I am extremely thankful for the privilege of doing what I do. I might call this brief snapshot my personal Annual Report.To everyone: I want to say thank you for allowing me to serve and spend time with you; for your confidence and your commitment. To my valued clients: I look forward to being of service to you again in the future.To my colleagues and friends: thanks for being a gift in my life.I wish you and your families the Very Best for 2013.A Christmas PoemI have a list of folks I know, all noted in a book; and every year at Christmas time, I go and take a look.
That is when I realize, that these names are but a small part, not of the book they’re written in, but of my grateful heart.
Every name stands for someone, whose path touched mine and then, left a special imprint and memory, that I yearn to touch again.
While it sounds fantastic for me, to even admit such a claim, I really feel I am truly blessed, by each remembered name.
And every year when Christmas comes, I realize anew, the greatest gift that life can give is meeting folks like you.
So may the spirit of Christmas, that forever and ever endures, leave its many blessings, in the hearts of you and yours.
Post #639 – Thursday,
December 13, 2012
2013: Time To Review Your Strategy
we slowly close off another year and look to the prospects of 2013, one of the
things that I sense that firms everywhere are in need of is a new strategy for
growth. Firm leaders are recognizing, as they catch their breathe after
months of flat demand, that the old strategies they have been pursuing are
unlikely to take them where they need to go. Indeed, conventional approaches to developing
strategic plan in law firms – those lengthy protracted internal debates that
lead to developing monumental documents detailing the firms direction over the
coming five-years – seems to now belong to a bygone era.
what are leading firms doing today to advance setting their strategic
direction? Unsurprisingly, they are holding their current strategic plans
in abeyance while they explore how they might need to adapt to trends that
portend changes in their fundamental business models, while also figuring out
how to navigate their way through this period of economic uncertainty.
slightly differently, the executive committees of more firms are beginning to
engage in an Adaptive Strategy Review – scheduling a couple of days to
discuss and explore what new trends, developments and issues (signals) will
potentially impact their firm going forward and what actions they need to take
NOW! In one of my most recent review sessions our singular agenda
topic was: “At the dawn of 2013, what
will our legal profession look like, in three short years (2016), and what
should we be starting to do now to get to the future first?”
process for strategic planning has changed. Your strategy needs to be
constantly evolving. While the eternal truths – about determining your
target markets and how you reach them, what specific practices may be evolving
that you need to be in, the value promise that leads clients to choose you,
hard-to-copy advantages that help you differentiate your firm; and how your
resources are aligned – endure; however, a more dynamic and adaptive approach
is now needed. Firm Leaders need to be more flexible, resilient and ready
to make necessary adjustments and changes.
approach to law firm strategy taught by business schools and practiced by most firms is relentlessly 'left brain' - it's
focused almost exclusively on 'the numbers' - on data analysis and on formal detailed plans, with strategy sessions the exclusive preserve of a few senior
strategies aren't the product of rational analysis alone. They emerge when a
committed team puts its 'whole mind' to work, approaching strategy making
creatively and collaboratively - to stimulate 'strategic intuition' and
insight, and build buy-in and belief amongst the teams that must make the
strategy happen. Great process isn't just about building the flexibility
needed to change direction at the drop of a hat, it's about bringing in 'new
voices' and different perspectives into the strategy process - encouraging
those who are prepared to challenge the profession’s status quo.
the strategy process isn't a 'nice to do', it is a 'must do' - and only real
improvement will feed directly through to your firm’s bottom line.
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