MasterClass for the NEW Firm Leader

Future Dates have been preempted by the pandemic.

Please have a look at my Virtual Coaching Program  




We received these gracious comments from a couple of those attending at our First 100 Days session:

"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 Masterclass 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 discussed."  
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

Please have a look at ALL of the feedback we have received from AmLaw 100 and AmLaw 200 firm leaders attending this masterclass


"New firm leaders mistakenly believe that because they have served as a practice group manager, as an office head, or on their firm's elected executive committee they have the necessary background for taking on the role of leading the entire firm . . . Not even close!"

"You do not know all of the answers when you assume this position and some of the answers you thought you knew, you soon discover are not really that workable in the real world.  What worked for you or your predecessor in the past, may not work tomorrow."

"Watching management issues unfold each week is like watching TV when someone else controls the remote.  One moment you're watching a documentary, then - click! - it's a thriller, then a drama and then the evening news."

"Not withstanding all of the qualities I believe I have, I am often feeling like a fish out of water.  And yet how do I tell anyone what I am going through.  I need them to go on believing in me and trusting that I know what I am doing."


It may not be fair, but it is true: Your first few months as Managing Partner or Firm Chair - the time when you are just starting to grasp the dimensions of your new job - may well turn out to be the most crucial in setting the stage for a tenure that hopefully should last for years.

In spite of how well your peers might claim to know you, during those first few months, your formal decisions, informal behavior, and symbolic acts will be closely scrutinized.  Everything you do and say will send messages, set tone, establish expectations, and communicate direction about what is of importance to you.

While these first 100 days will present a unique window of opportunity, they also hold potential for others to misunderstand you.  How quickly you swing into action as the new leader, for example, might provide a basis for your peers to characterize your management style as rash, purposeful, or indecisive.  Your selection of colleagues within the firm for consultation on your early decisions will fuel others' notions that you are inclusive, authoritarian, or even playing favorites.  Some partners might rush to label you as fair or arbitrary; a visionary or a cautious bureaucrat.  Some are even likely to try to test your composure in the early going.

Your initial decisions will shape perceptions of you that may persist for years.  In addition, the breakneck pace at which the world moves today will afford you little time to adapt to your new role.  This one-day intensive masterclass is designed to help you hone critical skills and develop a plan for a successful transition as you move into your role as your firm's new leader.



Here are just 18 Highlights of what you may expect us to cover during our time together:

• Present some of the most comprehensive research on today's firm leader - How they were selected, what guidance they are provided, where they spend their time, what they see as their key hurdles, how they are evaluated, right up to their re-entry arrangements and what they do when they eventually step down;

• Address 7 of the most difficult and common initial questions that new leaders have, including which tasks should be a priority and which can be put on hold;

• Take you through the 4 predictable stages of your transition process - from your initial eagerness to "what the hell did I get myself into" and identify the common mistakes and traps you are likely to encounter and what to do at each stage;

• Examine the 8 most important "traits and characteristics" like displaying no self interest, being the needle of your firm's moral compass, and how a lack of optimism reflects your sell-by-date - that evidences how successful you will be as a firm leader;

• Identify the 10 things NOT to do during your initial days - like immediately engaging in strategic planning - that cause many new leaders to stumble right out of the starting gate;

• Review what to do if you are "Replacing an Icon," including your 10-point action plan for working with your predecessor and the 30 critical questions you need to have answered in order to ensure a proper briefing;

• Review your 6-step action plan for working with your elected Board / Executive Committee including helping the members engage in "foresight" and not just "oversight."

• Determine your initial priorities in working with your fellow partners and an action plan for both building trust as well as developing a personal Strategic Agenda of the issues you need to address first;

• Help you determine how to best deal with a star partner who was vying to become the new firm leader - only to have lost out to you;

• Show you how to discern your partners' appetite for change - because you know that you can only move your firm as far as your partners are willing to allow it to be moved;

• Develop your 10-step action plan for how to work effectively with your COO and communicate with and guide your administrative professionals (the team you have just inherited) on how to work with you;

• Identify a course of action for beginning to work with your office heads and review the 10 elements of structural integrity that you need to manage with your practice and industry group leaders in order to ensure results;

• Review 25 strategic levers you have available to you to effectively bring about change in your firm - none of which include trying to stimulate change by dictum or thru some artificial crisis;

• Examine the 4 primary areas to invest your precious leadership time and how easily the urgent can displace the important, if you let it;

• Explore other related topics from the advantages inherent in assembling advisors, to appointing a consigliere,to various means of stress relief;

• Confront 8 of the most difficult scenarios that any firm leader can be faced with, those where there may not be any easy answer, and talk through your various options;

• Introduce you to the same personality assessment taken by Fortune 500 CEOs, designed to identify your 'Dark Side' - a personalized and confidential assessment of those strengths you possess that, when under extreme pressure or stress, can turn into vulnerabilities and help you determine what to do about them; and

• AND MUCH MORE!  Ultimately, I intend to help you develop your specific Strategic Agenda for your first 100 days and review the importance of and how to achieve some quick, early successes.


NEW Firm Chairs and Managing Partners (and Office Managing Partners in offices with over 60 professionals)

The First 100 Days is designed especially for NEW firm leaders who want to learn how to be effective in their new roles, learn how to work effectively with their peers and explore where to direct limited and precious leadership time in order to maximize their impact.  

COOs and Firm Administrators

The most helpful person to a new managing partner can be the firm's COO / Executive Director.  Therefore, your firm's administrator may be invited to accompany their new managing partner to attend this workshop (at a substantial discount.)



• 24-page Monograph - First 100 Days: Transitioning A New Managing Partner

• 200-page Hardcover - Serving At The Pleasure of My Partners: Advice For The NEW Firm Leader

• 80-page WorkBook includes case studies, exercises and discussion materials

• Copy of 240+ slide PowerPoint presentation

• Personal and confidential 18-page Hogan Personality Assessment with coaching recommendations.

"The Hogan Assessment forced me to consider how my strengths can become weaknesses when under stress.  Frankly that was a bit uncomfortable.  But the assessment seemed spot on and the suggestions reasonable.  I expect the insights will improve my leadership."  

"The Hogan Assessment was outstanding.  It is truly a bonus because while corporations utilize those types of instruments, law firms do not."

Steven H. Wright - HOLLAND & KNIGHT



For 100 days following completion of this MasterClass, participants may e-mail or arrange a telephone consultation with Patrick McKenna with any brief questions related to the content of this program or your unique management challenges.  This service is included in your fees.

• Interactive and Participatory Agenda - continually evolving with real world application
• Highly Recommended - by previous participants

REGISTRATION - To get further details - email me at

BRIEFING: Do You Know What It Takes To Be A Firm Leader?
The following list of challenges was compiled through interviews and from the input of over 50 new firm leaders and represents some of the unexpected demands of being a new leader that these professionals hadn't fully anticipated when first accepting the responsibility.  It is hoped that this list will assist any potential new incumbent to properly fine-tune his or her thinking before taking on the magnitude of the firm leadership job.



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