We received these gracious comments from a couple of those attending at our Leadership Workshop:
"I enjoyed the practical tips. Patrick really understands law firm cultures and was responsive to specific questions and situations."
Kerrin Slatery - McDERMOTT WILL & EMERY

"This was 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 - NIXON PEABODY


Whether you 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 individuals;
- identify how, as a practice leader, you add value and what specifically is it, that you can do, that is likely to actually affect the success of the group you lead;
- positively impact and enhance client satisfaction - turning client needs into growth opportunities;
- find a way to develop a strategic direction in an intensively competitive marketplace and have your colleagues actually want to work together; and
- lead effective meetings that result in some action plans being formulated and your colleagues taking responsibility for actually doing something.

Obviously there are many challenges inherent to this position as law firms (and their clients) increasingly embrace the application of new economic and structural pillars necessary for the profession to benefit from greater alignment on issues such as efficiency and value.

And perhaps you were never trained or given any guidance on how to go about organizing and managing a group of your fellow professionals.  So, now where do you turn?

This intensive, skills-building workshop is an investment in your ability to make a measurable difference to your group's quality of service, profitability, and professional morale. Every aspect of this experience is designed to provide hands-on checklists, interpersonal techniques and exercises to make it completely applicable for you to use immediately.


When I am asked to conduct a session in-house I tend to customize the content to accentuate the real-world issues that your practice leaders are dealing with.  Therefore, I usually suggest the following sequence of steps:

• a telephone consultation with the management of the firm (whomever you might wish to include) to get a sense of the firm's culture, management objectives, current practices, and support infrastructure (together with reading any background materials you provide);

• telephone interviews with four or five of your existing practice leaders (representative sampling of those deemed effective and not so effective) to hear their views on what is and isn't working, what difficult issues they are facing on a daily basis and what they would like the agenda of 'their' workshop session to deal with;

• a one-day training workshop that culminates in every participant 'voluntarily' identifying one specific action that they will undertake to accomplish within six weeks following the workshop;

• a specific follow-up date for you to hear back from each of the practice leaders on their specific, individual progress; and

• my follow-up with your practice leaders between the workshop and the follow-up meeting to help ensure that their best intentions (voluntary action item) gets executed.

You may have as many Practice Leader attendees participate as you wish together with any observers (executive committee members or internal professionals) although we will need to discuss the room format and logistics to ensure that things are properly orchestrated.


• 50+page WorkBook includes case studies, exercises and discussion materials

• PLUS: Additional Handouts custom-prepared for your Firm

• ALSO: Recommended that each participant obtain a copy of the 270-Page Softcover - First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals by Patrick J. McKenna and David H. Maister


9:00 a.m.    MORNING SESSIONS   

Introduction and Overview

Patrick McKenna will begin with a discussion of the evidence of why practicing together in a group can make a measurable difference to your law firm's quality, service, profitability, skills and professional morale, motivation and enthusiasm.

One-on-One Management Skills

This session will examine, in depth, the critical elements to becoming an effective group leader, including:

- determining, together, what precisely is the job and what does it require of the individual holding the position;
- identify how, as a practice leader, you add value and what specifically is it, that you can do, that is likely to actually affect the success of the group you lead;
- exploring under what circumstances people accept counsel, how to get people to accept your influence and why someone would follow you; and
- identifing the various options you have available to you and what you need to do, to develop personal credibility with the people you manage.

Working With Your Colleagues Differing Styles

When you bring together a group of lawyers who have different substantive skills, diverse experiences, a variety of work styles, and sometimes conflicting priorities, the process of managing the interactions can be challenging.
- How to avoid personality clash and achieve instant rapport.
- Effective communication skills for understanding and appealing to your team members



Group Collaboration Skills

Developing convergence on common goals as a team is important.  Good practice group leaders recognize that in order to get the group working together effectively, you must invest in some conversations with your team to determine:

- why we should work together as a group;
- what is in it for each of us to collaborate together;
- how much time is going to be required to participate in a meaningful manner; and
- what kind of behavior we think we have the right to expect of each other.

This session will equip practice leaders with the tools and techniques to explore with their group - what kind of group you want to be, what benefits you want to get, and whether you are prepared to do what it takes to truly be a team.

Effective Group Meetings & Getting Action Implemented

If you were to ask your partners, "what benefits should we expect to get out of meeting together as a group?" the answers you elicit would fall into one of two categories.  These partners would tell you that the benefit would either be to better share knowledge (on what everybody in the group was doing) and keep current (on new developments in our area and with clients) or secondly, the benefit of our meeting together would be to work on some joint projects as a team.  And it is in this second category, doing joint projects, where most practice groups fail.

Nowhere is the vitality of your team more visibly apparent than in the fundamental workings of practice group meetings.  Since practice group meetings remain the principle vehicle for effective group action and the most visible aspect of the group's progress, they require that a practice leader adhere to some interrelated principles that together will help energize these meetings and make them far more effective.

This session will focus on how to have your team working together on strategic projects, determine an action plan for moving the group forward, and a means for absolutely ensuring that best intentions actually get implemented.

Question & Answer Discussions

This concluding session is designed to summarize, synthesize, debate, question and answer any of your "real world" practice group management and leadership issues.  As a group, we will determine and discuss coordination and leadership challenges. 


Department Chairs, and Practice / Industry Group Managers/Leaders (or those who feel like they are languishing) in firms who want to learn how to be effective in their roles, learn how to motivate their peers (even those professionals who may be more senior than you), and explore where to direct your limited and precious (non-billable leadership) time in order to maximize your investment.


Previous registrants for both customized in-house sessions as well as public workshops have included Practice Leaders from over 100 prominent firms including:

Adams and Reese  
Allen Matkins      
Armstrong Teasdale  
Baker & Daniels         
Baker Donelson         
Barnes & Thornberg         
Blake Cassels  (Canada)         
Borden Ladner Gervais (Canada)     
Bradley Arant   
Brownstein Hyatt
Burr & Forman 
Clark Hill
California Institute of Technology (legal department)     
Carlton Fields  
Crowe Dunlevy
DLA Piper 
Dickinson Wright 
Dinsmore & Shohl
Edwards Angell   
Faegre Baker Daniels            
Fasken Martineau  (Canada)
Finnegan Henderson
Fish & Richardson   
Freeborn & Peters
Frost Brown Todd      
Gray Robinson 
Greenberg Traurig    
Hanson Bridgett  
Harter Secrest  
Hinshaw & Culbertson     
Hogan Lovells        
Holland & Hart         
Husch Blackwell       
Ice Miller
Intel  (legal department)
Jackson Lewis
Jenner & Block   
John Hancock Financial  (legal department)
Kilpatrick Townsend       
Kirkland & Ellis   
Lathrop & Gage
Lewis Roca     
Lowenstein Sandler
Mayo Clinic (legal department)
McDermott Will & Emery  
Michael Best
Miller Thomson  (Canada)
Mintz Levin  
Moore & Van Allen
Morgan Lewis       
Morris Manning     
Nixon Peabody         
Ogletree Deakins   
O'Melveny & Myers       
Pepper Hamilton  
Porter Wright
Proskauer Rose        
Quarles & Brady  
Reed Smith
Robins Kaplan
Seyfarth Shaw
Schiff Hardin        
Sheppard Mullin     
Shipman & Goodwin     
Sidley Austin           
Steptoe & Johnson         
Sutherland Asbill     
Taft Stettinius     
The Brattle Group (Consulting)
Thompson & Knight
Troutman Sanders    
Vedder Price      
Vorys Sater   
Warner Norcross           
Weil Gotshal           
Wilson Elser             
Winston & Strawn         
Withers  (UK)
Womble Carlyle   

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