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Post #840 – March 29, 2020
Hanging Up the Crown
Taking over from some long-serving firm leader or a founding partner can present an enormous challenge for a new managing partner. In some firms, it gets ridiculously difficult when the new leader is given only a few weeks, or even days, to prepare themselves before having to step into the role -- or when the incumbent is not fully supportive of the transition.
A departing firm leader can undertake a number of actions to make the leadership transition much smoother.
Post #839 – March 26, 2020
New Insights from Managing Partners On a New Kind of Crisis
No one knows what to expect. But the near term is not good – or worse depending on who you talk to. This week I was pleased to have the opportunity to join Michael Rynowecer, President of BTI Consulting to see what we could learn from leadership partners about what law firms are doing and how they are thinking. We canvassed about 25 managing partners (or equivalent) at firms with more than 500 attorneys.
Here are key insights from their thinking, together with a few of our observations:
Post #838 – March 10, 2020
Clients Value You Having a “DEEP” Industry Focus: So Do You? (Part Two)
While attorneys tout their deep technical or functional expertise, most clients view that as table stakes. They assume you’re an expert in employment law, international tax or complex litigation. And as clients face increasingly complex business challenges that go well beyond any one (traditional practice group) area of the law, they wonder if you really understand the key aspects of their industry. To be fair – they don’t care if you don’t know the intricacies of making their widgets – but they DO want you to know the idiosyncratic aspects of what they are having to deal with.
What they also want to know is – have you done it in their industry? Do you understand the nuances of their industry? Can you hit the ground running or will they have to invest hours to teach you and your team how things are normally done in their world?
In Part Two of our series on the importance of Industry Groups, Michael Rynowecer (BTI Consulting) and I continue to try to help you to assess the strength of your industry practices and to identify those signals where clients know when you are not up to speed on their deeper industry concerns.
Post #837 – March 4, 2020
How Do You Get Your Practice and Industry Groups Firing on All Cylinders?
If you are like many, for several years now you’ve been attempting to get your practice and industry groups to achieve high performance . . . with limited success!
You appointed professionals to positions as practice group leader whom you thought would do the job (and who promised you that they would try); you provided them with some basic training; and you endeavored to periodically meet with them all as a group to provide a bit of a pep talk. Despite all your efforts, only a FEW of your groups are functioning as you had hoped. So what to do?
Well, if you are like some firm leaders I’ve spoken with, you might have now decided to embark upon what one termed: “Practice Group 2.0” and start fresh . . . largely by changing most of your leaders and hoping that some new recruits might do a better job. But if I’ve learned anything over the years, it is that your challenge is not so much a people issue, as it is a structural issue.
Download your PDF copy of the new Legal Business World magazine article
Post #835 – February 19, 2020
Does Your Firm Have A REAL Industry Focus?
Understanding Your Client’s Industry is the single biggest differentiator among law firms. Unfortunately, for too many firms, any pretense of having a real industry focus is simply a list of industries displayed on their website – without any recognition that perhaps clients can discern the difference. Bad News Flash: you are not fooling anyone!
Meanwhile, Michael Rynowecer (BTI Consulting) and I continue to hear how industry group leaders are completely frustrated . . . by their lack of any clear mandate, authority, and visible support from firm leadership. Few get any meaningful leadership training; a separate budget or a dedicated marketing support professional attached to the group. Few meet on a monthly basis or collaborate across offices; nor have they developed a ‘real’ formal strategic plan. Worse yet, few get support from partners or firm management, which could, for example, make a firm require that partners work only in one core industry.
Here are a dozen diagnostic questions (not intended to be comprehensive) that you might internally review and discuss, to evaluate where you stand with respect to having a genuine industry focus.
#834 – January 20, 2020
Miss Out on Reading One of My Latest eBooks
different times during this past year, I released three new eBooks through the
kind folks at Legal Business World – all of which remain available free for
you to download.
morning I received some Net Reader Metrics – the online reader counts together
with stats from each visiting country. A
HUGE thank you to all of those who participated in reading and downloading
copies of my work.
When It Comes Time To Instigate Change (54 Pages)
countries: US, India, Turkey, United Kingdom, Germany
The Art of Leadership Succession: How To Select Your Next Firm Leader (264 Pages)
Countries: US, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada, India
Strategy Innovation: Getting to The Future First (242 Pages)
Countries: US, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Netherlands
833 – January 17, 2020
Your 2020 Vision 20/20
According to new survey research released this week,
the number one reason why partners leave their firms is not dissatisfaction
with compensation, but rather a lack of confidence in firm management and
For anyone in a leadership position and starting a new
decade with today’s pace of change, this research should suggest how important
it is to ensure that your 2020 vision is crystal clear. Therefore, you need to know exactly what you
want to accomplish over the next twelve months; you need to communicate your
goals to your colleagues; and you need to set out for everyone what it will
look like when it is achieved.
What follows are some possible areas for setting some
2020 Goals. Why not start by assessing
how well you are currently performing with each, by using the following self-assessed
A = We are a dominant performer in this area
B = We are certainly ahead of most competitive firms
C = We are probably ‘average’ when compared with our
D = This is an area that needs remedial attention
F = If we were honest, this is near crisis for us
POSSIBLE MENU OF 2020 STRATEGIC GOALS:
innovative solutions to address client problems
new, efficient ways to lower costs in performing our professional tasks
projects in ways that render extra value and enhanced benefit
more challenging and complex work from our existing clients
individual client assignments into long-term relationships
better at systematic listening and getting closer to our clients
market trends to track emerging client needs
increased awareness of our capabilities across our market footprint
entirely new legal service offerings
a recognized presence in serving new industry niches
high-quality lateral talent
new partners from junior ranks
and sharing knowledge among partners
partners to grow and develop marketable new skills and capabilities
future leaders for our practices
Start with identify only three (3) areas in which you
want to formulate a specific action plan and diligently focus your
efforts. In this year of 2020, let’s
start the decade with a clear 20/20 vision and focus on achieving some tangible
Need help with seeing 20/20? Let’s talk. Shoot me an email, and I’ll be in touch.
#832 – December 27, 2019
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. As always, at
this time of the year, I looked back over my various activities. 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 over 100 client testimonials and endorsements throughout this web
site). But for purposes of looking at where one’s time is invested, here
is what my 2019 looked like:
/ FIRMS SERVED
Nature of Assignments:
developing / implementing strategic plans
governance and leadership counsel
client relations and marketing advice
Firm Size Range:
firms of over 500 attorneys
firms of 301 to 500 attorneys
firms of 100 to 300 attorneys
Special Advisor To The Board of Directors (2015-2019)
and participated in monthly board meetings serving Jackson Lewis P.C. – with
over 900 attorneys in 60 locations nationwide serving clients across a wide
range of industries and recognized as both an AmLaw and Global 100 law firm.
Participation in Conference and Workshops
Co-Chairman – Second Annual Law Firm Innovation Summit (Boston
Facilitator – Practice Group Leaders Workshop (Chicago
OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES
• Advisory Board Member – Legal Business World
Business World is an international company operating a global platform that
produces and shares publications (articles, eMagazines and eBooks) read in over
32 countries; TV and Radio covering the business of law and development of the
legal profession. Their Legal Knowledge Portal offers over 900 articles,
contributed by over 400 authors, categorized under 40 topics, and appealing to
190K readers a month. Every year LBW chooses Thought Leaders – professionals
who distinguish themselves through: opinionated publications, being recognized
as an authority in a specialized field and/or whose expertise is sought after
and often rewarded.
• Advisory Board Member – Intraspexion Inc.
is the world’s first “Deep Learning” service able to provide clients with an
early warning of potential litigation disasters. The holder of 8 Deep Learning
patents, the National Law Journal named Intraspexion® in the inaugural list of
Legal AI Leaders (February 2018). The Artificial Lawyer listed Intraspexion in
the inaugural edition of the AL 100 Legal Tech Directory (August 2018). And
Microsoft accepted Intraspexion into Microsoft for Startups (September 2018)
• BrainTrust Network Member – Quantumrun Forecasting
Forecasting is a research and consulting agency using long-range foresight to
help organizations thrive from future trends and stay ahead of disruptive
market shifts. The Forecaster BrainTrust is comprised of
subject matter experts from a range of disciplines and industries worldwide.
These experts have been individually invited to collaborate on projects to
provide multidisciplinary insights and clients use our services like an
outsourced research, strategy and content partner to provide them with new
ideas and industry intelligence
In 1675, Isaac Newton said, “If I have
seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Every author stands on the shoulders of
giants and I thank all of the giants who boosted my vision.
Authored Three (3) New Books:
- Strategy Innovation:
Getting To The Future FIRST (240-page eBook – Legal Business World Publishing
- The Art of Leadership
Succession (260-page eBook) – Legal
Business World Publishing
- When It Comes Time To
Instigate Change (50-page eBook) – Legal Business World Publishing
Chapters to Two (2) New Books from international
- The Lawyer's Guide to the Future of Practice
Management (Ark Publishing, 2019)
- Dispute Resolution and Lawyers, A
Contemporary Approach (Interactive CaseBook Series) 6th Edition (West
Academic Publishing, 2019)
Authored or Contributed to 32 Articles
in 9 different international Publications including:
CBA PracticeLink for Law Firm Leaders
Intapp.com Blog Post
fivehundred / Legal 500 Magazine
Legal Business World Magazine
Legal Executive Institute
National Magazine (CBA)
Of Counsel – Legal Practice and Management Report
The Legal Intelligencer
Two new issues (Spring & Fall) of my INTERNATIONAL REVIEW 24-page glossy
magazine were produced and mailed to 1600 firm leaders.
Acknowledged: Top 50 Global Thought
Leaders and Influencers on Innovation – Thinkers360
“Our listing includes authors, influencers and speakers who have
curated and shared their thought leadership content – including articles,
blogs, books, keynotes, media interviews, panels, podcasts, social media,
speaking events, videos, webinars and whitepapers.”
• Nominee: 2019 Canadian
CEO Trusted Advisor Award
I have been
nominated for national recognition for my work – the Canadian CEO Trusted
Advisor Award. It was very unexpected
and I am grateful to those clients who made it possible. I am always telling professionals and firms
to celebrate their milestones, so this is me, practicing what I preach. Whether I do or don’t win is
unimportant. What I do find immensely
gratifying is having clients say that what I’ve been doing over the years, has
been so valuable to them. A most sincere
Thank You for your most gracious vote of confidence.
• Qualified: CEO Trusted Adviser – Chief Executive Group
Executive Group now helps CEOs find the right expert adviser. The right outside adviser can help you
improve processes, develop new products or provide access to new markets. Unfortunately, the mid-market has been
dramatically underserved by the advisory community. Until now.
CEO Trusted Advisers, newly launched by Chief Executive Group, gives you
speedy access to peer-recommended experts in executive coaching, succession
planning, strategy, talent, operations, technology, finance and M&A and
all of my valued clients, colleagues and friends, I want to say thank you for
allowing me to spend time with you; for your confidence, your commitment and
your fellowship. I wish you and your
families the very best in 2020 and the coming decade.
Post # 831 –
November 29, 2019
Acknowledged Amongst Top 50 Global Thought Leaders
I’m honored to
be included amongst the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on
Thinkers360 who compiled the listing:
listing includes authors, influencers and speakers who are members of
Thinkers360 and who have curated and shared their thought leadership content –
including articles, blogs, books, keynotes, media interviews, panels, podcasts,
social media, speaking events, videos, webinars and whitepapers – via our
differentiation from the various influencer leaderboards on social media, is
that we take a holistic view of thought leaders and experts, beyond their
social media activity, and look across all the hats they may wear – such as
academic, author, consultant, entrepreneur, influencer and speaker – and all
the types of thought leadership content they produce.”
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