It 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.
Too 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.
It 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.