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Post #744 - Thursday,
October 15, 2015
First quasi-NED of a U.S. Law Firm
Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country's
preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce internationally renowned
legal strategist Patrick J. McKenna has been appointed Advisor to the Board,
where he will meet regularly with Jackson Lewis' Board of Directors to provide
confidential counsel and advice.
Lewis is thriving, in part due to our role in introducing business of law
innovations such as alternative fee arrangements and our move away from the
billable hour as an evaluative measure for associates," said Firm Chairman Vincent A. Cino. "We want to make sure
we continue to thrive. For many years I have been a proponent of operating a
law firm in the most client-centric and business-like manner. Patrick's
addition will introduce an external business voice to our Board's discussions,
and is aligned with Jackson Lewis's mission to provide best in class legal
services in the most efficient, strategic manner."
old methods of managing a law firm are no longer sufficient to address the
magnitude of changes the legal community must regularly address," added
Cino. "We have watched as law firms in Europe and Australia have brought
outside expertise to their boards by way of Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) and
while we are not yet able to follow that precise model in the U.S., we are
pleased to again stay ahead of the curve by adding this outside voice to our
McKenna, who brings with him over thirty years of extensive experience
consulting to law firms on an international scale, is an author, lecturer,
strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier professional service
firms, having served at least one of the largest law firms in over a dozen
different countries. He has authored eight books - most notably the
international business best seller, First Among Equals. Mr. McKenna has
been recognized by Lawdragon as "one of the most trusted names in legal
consulting," and his three decades of experience led to being the subject
of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: "Innovations In Legal Consulting."
firms today are experiencing intense competitive pressure, encouraging those
with vision to seek meaningful ways to differentiate themselves from the pack,"
said Mr. McKenna. "My research suggests adding outside expertise to a law
firm's governing body brings wider business experience and thinking to the
firm, and contributes to clients viewing the law firm as more likely to operate
with a greater awareness of prudent business practices than its peers.
Jackson Lewis is saying 'we are different and we are going to manage
differently' and I am extremely proud to be a part of their innovative
About Jackson Lewis
in 1958, Jackson Lewis is dedicated to representing management exclusively in
workplace law. With 800 attorneys
practicing in major locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Jackson
Lewis is included in the AmLaw 100 and Global 100 rankings of law firms. The firm's wide range of specialized areas of
practice provides the resources to address every aspect of the
employer/employee relationship. Jackson
Lewis is a leader in educating employers about the laws of equal opportunity
and, as a firm, understands the importance of having a workforce that reflects
the various communities it serves. Jackson
Lewis is a founding member of L&E Global Employers' Counsel Worldwide, an alliance of premier
employment law firms and practices in Europe, North America and the Asia
Post #743 – Thursday,
October 8, 2015
Join Me at The
Conference on Growth Strategies
What are the implications of a shift from
unfettered growth to a market share battle? Until recently, many law firms kept doing the
same things, the same way, with the same people – as if immune to economic
pressures (while expecting ever-increasing rates to be accepted by the firm’s
After the financial reset of 2008/2009, a lot
of legal work (that would otherwise have gone to outside counsel) started
staying in-house, with clients intent on keeping it there. Clients are clearly
doing more work in-house, while law firms compete for the same (or diminishing)
In today's hyper-competitive legal market,
the best way for law firms to grow their business is at another law firm’s
expense (taking market share away from competing firms and practices).
Some firms are set on buying market share,
acquiring firms with the practices (and talent) they need to drive their
strategic growth plans. While other firms have begun marketing with a
laser-like focus in to market segments where they have a differentiating
Ark Group’s Client Growth Strategies for
Legal Services will showcase a client-centric approach to winning &
retaining business. Attendees will learn about law firm client service
approaches, models and measures that industry leaders are employing to better
serve their clients, enable stronger relationships, and provide a platform for
differentiation and growth.
For my part I will be presenting on the topic
of: Strategic Planning For Practice
For More Information and to Register - Click Here
Post #742 – Tuesday,
September 8, 2015
The Fall 2015 Issue of International Review
Is Now Available
INTERNATIONAL REVIEW is my 24-page glossy, printed
magazine distributed to over 1600 law firm chairs and managing partners
throughout North America.
start with some prescriptive counsel on how your industry groups need to better
Industry Dynamics in order to be successful, and then continue with a
reminder of how you need to Schedule Time For Strategic Thinking
as it could arguably be the most important activity in your leadership role.
I have never been a fan of “branding” and watched over the years as numerous
law firms have wasted incredible monetary resources in various expensive
advertising experiments, I am nevertheless going to stick my neck out and
suggest that The Value In Developing A Leadership Brand is there for every
firm leader to employ.
Pages 12 and 13 are
intended to introduce you to my newest work, The Changing of The Guard:
Selecting Your Next Firm Leader, and How New Managing Partners Can
Avoid Being Blindsided is a related one-on-one interview with the
Editor of Managing Partner Magazine.
How Effective Leaders Delegate has its origins in a survey that I send out
to new managing partners, after their First 100 Days (see back cover) inquiring
about their most unexpected challenges and the last piece, Why Law Firms Need Non-Executive
Directors is included to provoke your thinking about a trend that has
been paying dividends for UK and Australian law firms for a few years now.
As always, I sincerely hope that you find some practical
ideas, tips and techniques here that you can put to use immediately.
Please send me your observations, critiques, comments and suggestions with
respect to any of these articles.
Click on the Cover to download your complimentary PDF copy of
Post #741 – Tuesday,
September 1, 2015
2020 Vision: The Future of Legal Services
I’m pleased to have
contributed two separate chapters to this new 116-page Ark report designed to help law firm leaders assess the lay of the legal
landscape, prepare for foreseeable change, and above all to position themselves
so that they are ready to respond to the unseen challenges and opportunities
Wind back the clock 20 years or so to when law
firms held all the cards. At that time,
clients paid an hourly rate with few complaints, allowing firms to work as they
chose, and those clients were loyal. Lawyers specialized right out of law
school, and were prepared to work round the clock for a shot at the brass ring
of partnership. What is now known as the “traditional” law firm business model
was then the only one, and that model made money. In the decade leading up to
the economic downturn, revenues in the legal sector grew steadily every year.
All that has changed.
Now, firms are operating in a “buyers” market,
with non-traditional competitors and new technologies encroaching on what was
once the sole province of traditional firms; endemic overcapacity threatens
those firms’ profitability; and clients spread available work across a variety
of providers – or keep it in house. Moreover, a new generation of “millennial”
lawyers is now well established in the profession – and they have very
different expectations about working styles, workplace culture, and job
For better or worse, the legal industry has
changed radically over the past two decades – arguably more so than it had done
in the previous century. What is more, the pace of change continues to
accelerate as new technologies develop, and client businesses – already ahead
of their law firms when it comes to embracing technology and streamlining processes – demand certain efficiencies as a
prerequisite for sending work a law firm’s way. The speed of evolution is such
that, looking just five years into the future, we can predict even more major
changes for law firms.
In this fast-moving, competitive, increasingly
varied environment, only the most agile firms – those able to respond rapidly
to future trends – are likely to succeed. 2020 Vision: The Future of Legal
Services brings together the advice of leading industry practitioners and
consultants who scan the legal horizon for indicators of change, offer their
predictions, and share experience and practical guidance to help law firm
leaders prepare for what is coming up next.
For more information
on this publication - click here
Post #740 – Tuesday,
August 18, 2015
A Lucrative Industry
There are 10,000 baby boomers turning
65 every day -- and every day for the next 14 years. Older people are heavier users of hospitals,
as you'd expect. But there's a certain subset that's
growing faster than full-service hospitals: ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).
These facilities focus on same-day
surgical care. So they'd do laparoscopic surgery on your knee, but not
ASCs are a $35 billion fast-growing
industry. The trend is toward more
outpatient procedures at ASCs. Twenty
years ago, 30% of all surgeries were outpatient. Today it's 70%.
A well-run business in this sector
prints money. For any procedure, there
are three fees for the patient. There is
a fee paid to the physician, billed by physician. There is an anesthesiology fee, billed by the
anesthesia provider. And there is a
facility fee for use of the facility. It's that last fee an ASC collects, paid by
the patient's insurer. And it's
high-margin. A foot operation can cost
as little as $1,000, but the ASC collects as much as $20,000.
To really understand what I’m talking
about in this post, read my article: Understanding Industry Dynamics wherein I
make the point amongst a number of others, that there is no such thing as a
Health Care lawyer.
Post #739 – Friday, July 24, 2015
Some of My Most Recent Articles
I have written and published a number of articles recently, some of which may not appear on my website. Should you have an interest in any of these titles and wish to obtain a copy of the article, please feel free to send me a note – email@example.com
Firm Strategy: Understanding Industry Dynamics [Part One] - article
Bloomberg BigLaw Business (bol.bna.com) - July 2015
When Is A Partner Not A Partner? - article contribution
BeatonCapital.com [Australia] - July 2015
Strategic Accountability - co-authored article
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - July 2015
Admitting You're Wrong - co-authored article
American Lawyer magazine - June 2015
Where Do You Spend Your Leadership Time? - Thought Leadership Column
Law Practice Management, Legal Executive Institute - June 2015
A Response to Harvard Study on Collaboration - article
Bloomberg BigLaw Business (bol.bna.com) - June 2015
4 Ways You Can Become Your Client's Favorite Firm - interview contribution
Law360.com - June 2015
The Leadership Succession Process: Identifying, Developing, Electing - article
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - June 2015
Succession Strategies - a critique of my Changing Of The Guard book
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - June 2015
Mistakes To Avoid As A New Firm Leader - Thought Leadership Column
Law Practice Management, Legal Executive Institute - May 2015
Breaking Down Barriers to Collaboration - commentary
Harvard Business Review - May 2015
Patrick McKenna On How New Managing Partners Can Avoid Being Blindsided - Feature Interview
Managing Partner Magazine [UK] - May 2015
Why Law Firms Need Non-Executive Direcotrs - Thought Leadership Column
Law Firm Management, Legal Executive Institute - May 2015
A Key Performance Issue - article
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - May 2015
Going All In On Industry Group Model - interview contribution
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - May 2015
Post #738 – Friday, July 3, 2015
Firm Facing A Leadership Transition?
Do these sound like some of the questions that all new Firm
Leaders are likely to be asking themselves:
• Am I really clear on the reasons why I accepted this position?
• How can I be sure that I have correctly understood what is
expected of me?
• Which tasks should be a priority and which can be put on hold?
• Who am I going to meet with first and what am I going to say?
• Have I defined the challenges facing my firm and determined an
approach to dealing with them?
• When can I begin to introduce change and what is my
initial plan of action?
• How do I make sure that I have the support I need from the
If you are (or know of a firm that is) facing a firm leadership
transition or even introducing a new office managing partner taking charge of a
larger office, please have a look at www.first100daysmasterclass.com.
The next program is scheduled for Thursday, August 13, 2015, at
Gleacher Center, the University of Chicago, and we are now accepting
registrations. Have a look at the day's agenda, the faculty, the testimonials,
and extensive course materials, the follow-up support and your total
Thus far, over 70 firm chairs and managing partners have
experienced and can attest to the value and benefits of the program--including
leaders from notable AmLaw 100 and AmLaw200 law firms. In fact, we received
these gracious comments from a couple of those attending our First 100 Days
"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 I learned a
lot from it."
Hugh Verrier, Chairman - WHITE & CASE
"The First 100 Days Master Class was concise and
insightful. I quickly learned the difference between being a practitioner and a
Firm Leader. I was thoroughly impressed with the scope of the topics
ONE YEAR LATER - "I continually refer to that one-day class
as the best thing I did to prepare for my new role."
Vincent A. Cino, Chairman - JACKSON LEWIS
Few experiences can be as overwhelming as taking on the firm
leadership role for the first time. We repeatedly hear about how everything
changes in unexpected ways. It is not about shifting from being an office head
or member of the executive committee to the next rung on some leadership
ladder; it's a quantum leap into a new reality. Brand new Firm Leaders need all
of the practical, impartial, and time-tested advice they can get.
Post # 737 – Thursday, June
New Book Offers Practical, Insightful Advice on
I am indebted to Steve
Taylor for his gracious review of my latest work. Here is an excerpt:
J. McKenna’s latest book, The Changing of the Guard: Selecting Your Next Firm
Leader, may be the most comprehensive text on law firm succession ever
written, covering every priority from choosing a nominating committee to
defining leadership criteria.
worth highlighting some points that McKenna makes in his thorough and
informative guidebook—and that’s really what it is: a succession bible. He really covers all the bases, from
selecting a nominating committee with the right composition and setting
selection criteria for the next leader, to developing and implementing a
transition and integration plan to usher out the former chair or managing
partner gracefully and usher in the new one.
And, he offers guidance on all of the many steps in between.
biggest value of The Changing of the Guard is the way it helps show how
best to pass the leadership baton. To use another metaphor, it serves as a beacon
to navigating through the rocky waters of succession planning.
from Critique written by: Stephen T. Taylor, Senior Editor
Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - Vol.34
• No. 6 • June 2015
Post #736 – Monday, June 1, 2015
Leaders Find It Hard To Say I’m Sorry?
Even the smartest leaders often find it hard to swallow
their pride and say the simple words, “I was wrong” when they have made a
mistake. Yet executives who cannot openly assume responsibility for
flawed decisions can never correct these mistakes or successfully change
direction, wrote Harvard Professor Rosabeth
Moss Kanter. And the implications of poor judgment get worse the
longer denial continues, she warned.
The simple sentence "I was wrong" is the hardest
for leaders to utter and the most necessary for them to learn. If a
leader cannot admit being wrong in a timely fashion, he or she can never
correct mistakes, change direction, and restore success. The consequences
get worse the longer denial prevails.
The arrogance of success is well-known. Powerful
people start to believe that they are above the rules, that what applies to
ordinary people does not apply to them. That's how officials get into
trouble in the first place, using their power to suppress criticism. They
never have to say "I was wrong," because everyone conspires to hide
mistakes. The best leaders manage the risk that they could be wrong by
surrounding themselves with people are smarter than they are, at least in some
things. They create conversations, weigh facts, listen to arguments, and
then make better-informed and less self-serving decisions.
Perhaps apology training will become a growth
business. Actually, I hope not. But I do hope that smart leaders
will be more alert to problems, and if mistakes are made, they can utter the
three magic words and take corrective action.
For more on this subject you might
find my co-authored article in the brand new June issue of American Lawyer Magazine of interest – Admitting You’re Wrong: Why you made that strategic mistake – and how to recover from it.
Post #735 – Friday, May 15,
Structure Your Practice Groups For Performance
had an interesting and lengthy telephone discussion the other day with some
folks from a 500-attorney firm spread over a dozen offices. They related
to me how they have now changed out all of their practice group leaders to newer
and younger candidates. And they were telling me about all of the
internal training that they have been conducting - from developing internal tutorials
(on staffing and financial reports) to bringing in some expert on cultural
competence (what ever that means?) to Professor Heidi Gardner to speak to them
on collaboration (see her latest article in the March HBR and my Blog Rant #733). They then reported that some of these
activities, unfortunately, seem to have generated less than glowing feedback.
I inquired as to why they thought that was the reaction, they reported that it would
seem that these new practice group leaders wanted some pragmatic guidance on
what the job of being a practice leader was really all about, some basic leadership
skills, some help in determining how to balance their producer/manager roles,
and some “substantive take-aways”
(rather than just theoretical lectures). Can you imagine?
course I asked some fundamental questions – questions like whether these new
practice leaders had been given written job descriptions and whether they had any
clarity around how much specific non-billable time they would be expected to
devote to their new leadership roles. And the resounding answer was . . .
much for the fresh start, or for their experiment in getting PGL 2.0 on track
within this particular firm.
the real tragedy? After the call, when I
happened to check my files I noticed that my notes indicated an almost
identical discussion, with a different cast of characters from this same firm,
in November 2003 as they attempted to get serious about “launching a more effective practice group structure.” Now that is sad.
For my part, I’m becoming
obsessive about trying to help firms get this right. So, if you are interested in learning more
about how to effectively address this issue in your firm, come and join me at
our Ark hosted Webinar on June 4 – Law Firm Practice Management 2.0: Identifying and Implementing the Structural Neccessities for Effective Practice Management.
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