Articles

How the Mighty Fall: Part II

At the most straightforward (superficial?) level, the “undisciplined pursuit of more”—Collins’s stage 2 in his framework of decline—would seem to follow logically and almost inevitably from stage 1, “hubris born of success.” The logic is nearly syllogistic: “If we’re successful, and we’re great, who wouldn’t want more of this? Let’s go for it.” Collins, I’m
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

How the Mighty Fall: Part I

Jim Collins has authored or co-authored six books that have sold over 10-million copies altogether. Good to Great may be the most famous (published in 2001, still the #1 best seller on Amazon in “Strategic Business Planning”), but Built to Last is also right up there (1994). They’re both celebrations of extremely successful companies, and
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Articles, Business Models, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Whither the Big 4?

Late this past week my partner Janet and I had the opportunity to participate in a panel at the 23rd annual Thomson Reuters Marketing Partner Forum (held this year in Orlando) on the “rise of the Big 4″—and, we took it to mean, all other species of non-law firm legal service providers. Here’s how the
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Strategy

The “Big Three” Annual Reports on Law Land

With the release last week of the Annual Report from Georgetown Law’s Center for the Study of the Legal Profession, the “Big Three” annual reports—Altman-Weil’s Law Firms in Transition, Citi/Hildebrandt’s Client Advisory, and Georgetown’s—are now all out and we can see what trends and developments they seem to discuss in common. Even armchair students of
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Articles, Client Relationships, Compensation, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Globalization, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

What’s Your Theory of the Business?

Year-end is often seen, understandably if somewhat arbitrarily, as a time for reflection. Actually, in my book there’s never a bad time for reflection, so I’ll take an arbitrary peg over no peg. I hope you share my core belief in the power of standing back for a good, hard, intellectually demanding fresh look—the kind
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Articles, Leadership, Strategy

Merry Christmas

Articles

Bah, Humbug Survey

Herewith a seasonal column (we employ editorial license in so describing it) from Janet Stanton. I know this “tis the season to be jolly,” but I suspect more than a few of you feel more like the Grinch than Frosty the Snowman.  All the fa-la-la-la-la-ing making you grumpy?  Are you so over ugly Christmas sweaters,
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Articles

Don’t Go Public! (?)

It has become a commonplace—I have bowed to convention and endorsed the notion myself—to observe that law firms are labor-, not capital-, intensive, and that (here’s the dangerous and subtle segue) therefore there would be no benefit to them in taking on outside investors, much less going public. This is often combined, at least by
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Partnership Structures, Strategy

Associate Comp & Econ 101

This will not be a lecture. However. In the course of navigating published analysis and coverage of our beloved industry, I can rely on regularly coming across pat assertions displaying such frightful ignorance of basic economics that I’m forced to conclude the speakers’ only encounter with Economics 101 was seeing it listed in a course
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Articles, Compensation, Finance, Recruiting

Organizational Behavior: A Manual

A week or so ago, I happened across a training manual offering instructions on proper behavior within organizations. Here I take the liberty of quoting extensively from it. I ask one favor of you and one element of forbearance. The favor is to kindly ask yourself as you read it whether these behaviors are reflective
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Practice Group Management