Articles

“We’re #1″

A slightly briefer version of this column appeared in Bloomberg Law’s Business of Law.  I republish it here with their kind permission, and with a small amount of additional elaboration. Fact:  For the first time, Latham & Watkins took the top spot for revenue in the American Lawyer rankings. Hypothesis:  Some industry commentators have said that to
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Articles, Leadership, Strategy

The Client Seat

I’ve attended my fair share of live theater and more than my fair share of opera (the Met is within walking distance of where I live and work, a miracle for which I’m woefully unappreciative), and I hope you have as well. But how different would your experience of such live performances be if you
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Articles, Client Relationships

What’s Your GE Capital Practice?

Do you ever actually look hard at your firm’s overall business structure? No, really. Let’s go a step further. Stipulating arguendo that you are one of the rare few who do every once in awhile take a hard look, what do you then actually do about it? I submit that we have in two seemingly
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Leadership, Strategy

Letter from Sao Paulo

Just back from a week of meetings with law firms in Sao Paulo, and a few impressions are worth reporting. First of all, everyone—no surprise—has the political situation in Brazil on their minds front and center. President Dilma Rousseff’s approval ratings are reportedly at 6—7%, an all-time low since polling began in the country after
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Articles, Globalization, Leadership

Pricing Power

The growth of professionals in Law Land with the word “pricing” in their title has been explosive over the past couple of years. It’s a trend we applaud loudly and fervently, so perhaps it’s worth a primer on how it’s done in the major leagues: When B2B companies with thousands of SKU’s and tens or
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Marketing, Practice Group Management, Strategy

ABA Antitrust Immunity? Not so fast

Hallelujah! A profession just lost a very big round at the Supreme Court. I refer of course to the Court’s 6-3 ruling in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, finding that the dental examiners’ board attempting to prohibit nondentists from teeth whitening violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. If you think this was
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Articles, Business Models, Finance, Globalization, Strategy

Can Big Firms Innovate?

“Innovation” seems to be on everyone’s lips these days. Among other things, the problems are: Many people, lawyers in particular, are stumped when it comes to describing what “innovation” actually is; Business history proves to a fare-thee-well that it’s extremely challenging for successful incumbents to actually follow through with anything innovative; And of course there’s
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Articles, Cultural Considerations, Finance, Leadership, Strategy, Technology strategy

“Converge” Conference/NYC

If you haven’t yet heard about Above the Law‘s “Converge” conference coming up here in NYC on Wednesday, March 18th, you’re about to. It’s a full-day conference at the marvelous University Club (Fifth @ 54th, McKim, Mead and White, 1900) designed to “help lawyers navigate emerging trends in media and technology.” Highlights include: Keynote by
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Articles, Just Plain Interesting, Marketing, Technology strategy

Meaning in Your Career

Here at Adam Smith, Esq., we cover the array of law firm management issues from strategy and finance to compensation and cultural issues—”an inquiry into the economics of law firms,” to coin a phrase. But there’s much more to life. Specifically, there’s your career. Yes, yours, Dear Reader. As they say in New York, “I’m
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Articles, Ineffable

Brian Williams’ Nemesis

Hardly ever does a breaking story in the news serve as the peg for a column here on Adam Smith, Esq., but we reserve the right to make exceptions to all customs, so today a briefish note on the still-unfolding slow-motion descent of Brian Williams, the NBC Nightly News anchor. The facts are simple, as
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Articles, Ineffable