JordanFurlong + strategy   59

How to Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace - Page 2 of 2 - Adam Smith, Esq.
Finally, repeat: They express this in a number of cumulative ways.

“Keep evolving.”
“Complacency is not an option in today’s environment.”
“Brands that already have a differentiated strategy must stay vigilant.”
“Embrace disruption.”
“Foster a test-and-learn culture [and] encourage teams to fail fast, learn, and adapt quickly.”
We can distill this even further: (1) Know what you’re superb at and make sure your clients know it too; (2) be kind and empathetic–be “nice to work with;” and (3) deliver reliable quality predictably priced.
differentiation  marketing  strategy 
9 weeks ago by JordanFurlong
Fish & Richardson Legal Tech Director on Why His Group Split With IT | Legaltech News
Legaltech News: Why was the legal technology solutions group spun off from Fish & Richardson’s IT department?

Beau Mersereau: We wanted to focus primarily on new technologies and innovative services, and bifurcating it allowed us to focus on the areas that were important to our clients. That also allowed the IT department to focus on technology and providing better services to our firm with less distractions.

What are some of the new solutions the group is developing? 

We are piloting machine learning to auto-classify documents or incoming mail from the Patent and Trademark Office that will allow us to route mail automatically to the appropriate teams. Eventually, we hope to start doing other things from auto-classifying time cards to having better data within our pricing group.

We hired a data scientist this year and he’s been helping us a lot. He used to be an astrophysicist, and it’s pretty interesting to have someone from a different field looking at our data and trying to understand it. Law firms have a lot of data and it’s not always easy to find the nuggets of good information in there.
it  firms  strategy 
august 2019 by JordanFurlong
Big Law 'App Store' Reynen Court Offically Launches, Announces Elevate Partnership | Legaltech News
Alternative legal services provider Elevate has partnered with legal tech platform Reynen Court, as the company officially launches today (August 15). 
Reynen Court’s aim is to provide law firms with a single platform to install, use and manage the abundance of legal tech products available to firms from various vendors—similar, in theory, to creating an “App Store” for legal tech.

Reynen Court was established last year, supported by 19 law firms with backers including Latham & Watkins, Clifford Chance and Paul Weiss.
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The company has now launched the platform, with Elevate agreeing to make three of its technologies available on Reynen Court’s legal tech app. These three products include a legal AI and document analytics platform called ContraxSuite; legal project management app, Cael Project; and a billing app called Cael BillPrep.

Elevate VP of software products Sharath Beedu said in a statement: “In essence, it’s a private, curated ‘app store’ where products are pre-packaged for easy installation within each firm’s respective IT environment. This enables firms to try new systems without using third-party cloud environments, which is prohibited by many of their clients.”

U.S.-based Reynen Court told The American Lawyer last October that it was looking to use its law firm backing to officially launch and increase its headcount in 2019 to around 40. That hiring kicked off in January, when the company hired former Davis Polk & Wardwell attorney and NY Legal Tech Meetup founder Christian Lang as head of strategy and Washington state-based lawyer Nancy Norton as general counsel.

Lang told Legaltech News at the time that Reynen Court will find what the consortium firms’ needs are and pair them with legal tech vendors, acting as a “matchmaker” of sorts. Access to cloud-based technology in particular, he said, should lead to cheaper, better and quicker access to legal services.

“I think the top firms that are in our consortium that have the resources to do this right … once they do these things, there will be a lot of implications for other firms in the market to have better access to legal,” Lang said.

“I think we are on the cusp of what could be a golden age of legal technology that can really improve lawyering and legal advice,” he added.
it  strategy  firms 
august 2019 by JordanFurlong
Maroons & Grays: Part 3 - Adam Smith, Esq.
Absolutely wrong.

For starters, both can provide invaluable client service—it’s just “different” client service.

And we did allude earlier to the complexity of managing each type of firm.  Maroons are actually pretty simple to run; for one thing, lawyers have been doing it (it’s the Cravath Model, essentially) for over a century.  Hire great legal talent, love and compensate it generously, and turn away any work that doesn’t have boardroom visibility.

Grays, by contrast, are very challenging to manage effectively, and thus in our book far more intrinsically interesting from the perspective of strategy, finances, and leadership judgment.  Lawyers are one of management’s constituencies, but only one; the business professionals who are experts in process optimization, project management, big data analytics, pricing, and more provide an equally indispensable core competence.  Getting cognitively and intellectually diverse teams to work together and form a more powerful whole—including, critically, in client-facing roles—is far more challenging than identifying the finest lawyer/practitioners in XYZ field and letting them lawyer things.

Here’s a simplistic way of thinking about the two types of firms and the consequences for each of strong or of weak management.
strategy  markets  clients 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
Do Laterals Create or Destroy Value? - Adam Smith, Esq.
Finally, back to integration:  It begins at the very start of your talks with the potential target firm or lateral hires.  And you will need to spend real money on it.  According to the study, over 90% of the acquisitions that added value spent 6% or more of the deal value on integration, while 93% of the value-destroying deals spent less.  (I know it may be hard to draw a comparison to “6% of what, exactly?” but notionally think of it as real money.  A $100-million acquisition, which probably happens across the national economy several times a week, would imply >$6-million spent on integration.)

Finally, do not
laterals  partners  strategy 
july 2019 by JordanFurlong
Why Silicon Valley Loved Uber More Than Everyone Else - The Atlantic
More important, however, VCs liked the service themselves. In 2016, Hayes recalled his first encounter with Uber: “What I saw was a product that I would use all the time, even though I never use black cars. My friends didn’t use black cars, but this was a product they were going to use all the time,” he said. He and his firm would rely on their instinct instead of putting a number on the company’s value the standard way—by looking at the market Uber was targeting and figuring out how much market share it could win.

Even investor and media super-villain Peter Thiel has made fun of Silicon Valley power players’ tendency to invest in what they themselves like. “VCs often have a blind spot for things,” he said in 2014. “They overvalue things they use. They undervalue things they don’t use. Uber is overvalued because investors like riding in Town Cars.” (Thiel, for his part, invested in Uber’s rival, Lyft.)

But plenty of companies have experienced founders and do things VCs like. What set Uber apart—and the reason it generated the Uber-for-X phenomenon—was its marketplace model.

The company used computers to restructure the driving labor market (“corrects some real inefficiencies”). Why have a dispatcher send cabs all over a city when an algorithm could do the same thing—with no labor cost or organizational infrastructure, and probably with better results? The cab companies, with their own complex institutional histories, were suddenly irrelevant. Drivers drove and riders rode—and the only thing necessary to connect them was an app on a phone. The model didn’t just make financial sense to people trained to think in Silicon Valley in the 2000s; it made ideological sense.
strategy  startups 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
Firms Halted Innovation Efforts in 2018 at Their Own Risk, Report Finds | The American Lawyer
But a good year does not fundamentally alter the economics of the legal market. Seeger and Clay found that firms have relaxed in their efforts to improve legal and work processes and lower costs. Regardless of a recession, Seeger said that firms must continue to differentiate themselves from the pack or risk losing out in the long term.

“It’s still a highly competitive market. Clients are very aware that they have choices,” said Seeger. “We are advising firms to not get complacent but to focus on long-term stability and competitiveness.”

The study found that only 54% of law firm leaders say that their firm’s urgency to change is higher now than it was two years ago. And only 22% of firms made a serious effort to change work processes.

The authors wrote that it is imperative that law firms continue to value change. Firms should take a look at their legal operations—pricing, staffing, technology utilization and knowledge management—to appease clients who want to see lower legal costs, they said. Leadership development and collaboration can help reduce a culture of feet-dragging.

“As has been the case for years, law firms’ success will be driven by their ability to meet the changing requirements of the marketplace,” the authors wrote. “Firms that can craft smart, client-focused strategies and execute on them rapidly are likely to achieve competitive advantages.”

strategy  recession  firms 
may 2019 by JordanFurlong
Explaining Elevate’s Recent Acquisitions (088) | Legal Evolution
We thought long and hard about where our gaps were. We didn’t want to poach from our competitors, so we decided that the best way forward was to invite seasoned leaders to join Elevate, by persuading them to tie their rafts to ours. We then asked customers (even including those that had decided not to work with Elevate) to tell us which entrepreneurs, managers, and companies they thought were our best competitors!

How would we finance all these organic investments and acquisitions in a way that ensured that management didn’t give up control? The law department of one of our customers, Morgan Stanley, introduced us to their private credit and equity group, Expansion Capital. The Expansion Capital team’s advice was helpful in designing our growth financing strategy. By the end of 2017, we closed a $25 million credit facility with them to finance organic investments and the strategic acquisitions.

The acquisitions we made were based on the following three pillars that have been at the heart of Elevate for many years: Strategy, Culture, and Customers.
process  competition  strategy  newlaw  management 
march 2019 by JordanFurlong
Why the War for Talent Is Escalating for Law Firms - Attorney at Work
The diversity imperative. Law firms have gotten the message from corporate clients that legal teams handling their business need to be more diverse. Virtually all law firms that we talk to are encouraging us to recruit diverse attorneys. As a result, the competition to recruit such lawyers is extremely intense. Moreover, statistics show that minorities and women leave their firms throughout their careers at a much higher rate than the overall average. Firms are just beginning to grapple with the fact that the traditional “assignment and mentoring” approach to associate advancement tends to reinforce unconscious bias against diverse lawyers. As a result, many firms have to focus on different methods to ensure the retention of diverse lawyers.

Difficulty implementing succession planning. Law firms are unique organizations in that clients tend to be tied to one attorney who is the point person for all, or nearly all, of their legal work. Studies show that nearly 35 percent of their business is tied to lawyers who are over age 60. Yet firms have struggled with transitioning those clients to more junior lawyers within the firm. Much of this is tied to the largely origination-based compensation of most firms, which makes it difficult for senior lawyers to transition work for the good of the firm, and also make it difficult to incentivize the up-and-coming lawyers. As a result, those lawyers are more apt to change firms or leave private practice entirely. (And in many cases, the client leaves the firm as well.)
firms  talent  diversity  succession  generations  strategy 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
How to Evaluate Legal Technology that Improves Efficiency | Legal IT Insider
For example, a lot of the new technology will require significant manpower (often, non-billable) to train and manage the inputs and outputs of the technology; this can be very true of machine learning technology but is not limited to just machine learning technology.  Sometimes these costs are borne by the vendor and incorporated into the cost of the product but, in other contexts, the new users need to train, configure or set-up the technology before it can be reliably used.  This means there can be significant labour and time costs imposed on a purchaser in addition to the cost of licensing or acquiring the software or technology system.

In addition to this labour cost, there can be costs associated with cleaning up data, implementing new workflows or in training before the technology can be relied upon actually to replace the work carried out by humans or permit humans to trust it to use it without human intervention.  During this period there can be significant loss of productivity with hours diverted from billable work, not to mention the need to duplicate efforts (while training or testing the outputs from the technology).  This time and these costs are often not factored into the evaluations of cost-savings possible when “efficiency technology” is used but these are important to factor into any assessment of the cost of the new technology and to evaluate the total cost and RoI of the service delivery associated with its purchase.

Introducing technology to achieve efficiency is still a significant innovation.  There can be challenges to business models associated with the introduction of this kind of technology, as has happened with the movement of much document review to lower-cost and specialty providers.  But efficiency is often really secondary to what has actually happened:  the removal and/or replacement of lawyers from delivery of the work, largely because the technology allowed for standardising an aspect of their work that formerly required opaque judgments that previously could not be easily measured.
strategy  it  firms 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
Fractal dysfunction and the mathematics of #biglaw innovation
Jae’s series on the mechanics of legal innovation, describing innovation costs and funding, targeting the right innovations and the talent required to execute, is a must-read for anyone focused on real innovation in the legal sector. But for each firm, where and how to invest begins with an empirical diagnosis of their competitive position and strategic direction to determine the innovation vectors specific to their business. The corporate world has a very technical term for this: hard work.

With legal innovation, WHY is essentially the same for all firms; but WHERE and HOW is specific to each firm. Innovation is situational, with widely varying starting points, directions and magnitudes depending on where you sit in the legal ecosystem, the current state of your firm, of your competitors, of the markets you serve and the macro environment that you and your clients operate in. But unlike vectors in math, you also need to define terminal points: measurable targets that shape the future-state of your firm.
strategy  innovation 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
The Ten Barriers to Collaboration and Effective Client Development in a Law Firm  - PP&C CONSULTING
Several commentators have recently published research on the benefits of collaboration in fully maximizing client relationships in law firms. After 40 years of legal practice, 20 of which were spent in the upper management of one of the world’s largest law firms, I have reached some conclusions about forces that can act as a barrier to effectively collaborating to broaden and deepen client relationships, and consequently to maximizing the economic benefit from firm clients. Lest one conclude that I am not following my own advice on the benefits of collaboration, allow me to explain that some of my observations have been informed not only by personal observation but also by leading focus groups of law firm partners and subsequent interviews with the leaders of some of the largest law firms in the world.
management  leadership  strategy  collaboration  partners 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
The Power of Just Getting Better at What You Already Do |
These dynamics have important implications for how firms should think about investing to augment their stature. Broadly, a firm has two options: add breadth (build new practices) or add depth (push existing practices up the ranking bands). If a firm chooses to add breadth, they’ll start with something like a Band 4 position. But such positions are precarious; there’s a 90 percent chance the position will be lost in 10 years. You can picture how this plays out in the real world: a firm makes a splash by hiring partners laterally in the new practice area. But integrating laterals and cementing them to their new firms is tricky. Firm management often expects the laterals to port more business, more quickly, than they do; laterals expect management to invest more, more quickly, than the firm does. Disappointment abounds; momentum is lost; the new laterals move on—half of all laterals stay barely five years at their new firms; the move-on rate is doubtlessly higher for those in add-on practices.
strategy  firms 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
What if there are only two strategies? | Adam Smith, Esq.
By “only two strategies,” I mean what if there are only two general ways of creating a sustainable competitive advantage?

I’ve read a lot of the business and management literature on strategy (believe me…) and this thought first surfaced when I read Michael Porter’s seminal Competitive Strategy a couple of decades ago.  Before I tell you why I’m entertaining the notion that there are two and only two, let me tell you what they are so you can start thinking about where this is going.  They are:

Cost leadership, and
october 2018 by JordanFurlong
Innovation Is Not A Strategy | Evolve the Law
Nearly all AmLaw-ranked law firms create “strategic plans.”  Despite the existence of these plans, they don’t contain real strategy, concrete goals, or business purpose. A study by Lexis Nexis found that increasing revenue and profits was the main focus in most law firm strategic plans.  But, increasing profit is not a purpose.  Financial success is the result of fulfilling a purpose, but it is not the purpose itself.  And declaring a commitment to innovation is not a strategy.

A true business strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve future competitive goals.  Good strategies promote alignment among diverse groups within a firm; clarify objectives, behaviors, and priorities; and help focus efforts around the plan.

Define and Align Your Business Goals and Strategies

Companies flail (and fail) because their activities and behaviors are not aligned with their capabilities, goals, and strategies.  In misaligned companies, attention and resources are stretched thin and often in conflict.  According to strategic alignment experts, to succeed, you must answer:

What is your firm’s purpose?  Purpose is what the firm exists to achieve and why it matters.
What is your business strategy?  Strategy is planning what the firm must do successfully to fulfill its purpose.
What capabilities does your firm have?  Here, the focus is on pinpointing what you are good at.
Once you have answered these questions, you must bring the answers into alignment before executing your strategic plan. Alignment means connecting a firm’s purpose to its business strategy, operational capabilities and resources, and management systems.  If you are effectively executing an aligned strategy, then everyone’s efforts will work together to accomplish the firm’s most important work.
strategy  innovation 
august 2018 by JordanFurlong
A Present-Tense Solution to Law Firms’ Short-Term Thinking | The American Lawyer
Molot has figured out a sort of backdoor to provide today’s partners with permanent equity. And that is by spinning off a firm’s back-office operations and granting partners long-term equity in what may be called a “service co.” Molot said Burford is actively discussing financing this structure with major firms today. He expects a deal will eventually close—it’s not just a hypothetical.

“I think liberalizing the ethics rules is a good idea,” Molot told me. “Because you’re not looking to move the entire profit center of a law firm into a permanent structure, only a slice of it, I think that can all be done now without any change.”

Molot said he couldn’t go into all the specifics of how the structure would work, but he said there would be enough value in a potential spin-off entity to create the types of long-term incentives he wrote about years ago.

“The reason I think there is enough value in that non-legal services company is because you don’t need to get a majority of the profits to that entity,” he added. “You still want a majority of the profits to flow to the partners who are generating them. A minority [of profits in the spin-off] is plenty. I’m not looking to revolutionize the way lawyers practice law. I’m just looking for an adjustment at the margins that rewards partners who build long-term value with a nest egg when they retire and that incentivizes ongoing performance and long-term thinking.”

In an article this week for a Burford publication, Molot wrote that beyond the long-term incentives, there are tax advantages to this spin-off structure. Partners’ equity ownership, when sold, would be taxed as capital gains rather than personal income. And for ongoing operations, the back-office operations could be structured as a pass-through entity, which receives tax preferences in the 2017 tax law.

Much has been written about the varying desires of differing constituencies inside a law firm. That often inhibits change. But one reason I think this structure may actually work—or why it would at least be intriguing to a managing partner tasked with coalescing a firms’ constituencies—is that it benefits almost all groups.

I’ve written already about the benefits to senior partners. Equity into retirement can be a much-needed nest egg. Junior partners would benefit from knowing that the senior partners at their firm are invested in their long-term future. The same can be said for associates. And wouldn’t clients like to know that the partners they trust today are invested in training the partner they can trust next year?
partners  equity  succession  strategy  innovation 
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
How Blank Rome Went From Representing Insurers to Suing Them | The American Lawyer
“From time to time an insurance recovery lateral would arise,” he says, but the firm didn’t want to bring on a single partner without support.

When the firm saw the opportunity to add Dickstein Shapiro’s remaining lawyers, Hoffman says, keeping the insurance recovery practice seemed like “a great way to remain relevant” to the firm’s corporate clients. Since Blank Rome already represented them in other business matters, he says, why not add insurance recovery to that list?

And Murray learned that his whole group would be welcome.

In February 2016, the Philadelphia-based Am Law 100 firm absorbed more than 100 lawyers from foundering Dickstein Shapiro—not in a merger; the latter ceased practicing law.

Going Conflict-Free

Adding an insurance recovery practice called for a few sacrifices and some quickly executed branding.

First, Blank Rome had to commit to giving up any conflicting work. The firm had been involved in panels for Chubb and AIG, working on their insureds’ labor and employment matters. The Chubb panels had to go entirely, Hoffman says. Blank Rome was able to stay on AIG’s panels, but gave up the work in New Jersey and California, where firms are prohibited from working on an insurer’s panel, then later suing that insurer for recovery.
insurance  partners  strategy 
july 2018 by JordanFurlong
Clients have 2 big sources of insomnia. Law firms only cause 1. — BTI Consulting Group
Almost 30% of corporate counsel are unnerved because of the following experiences with their primary law firms:

Partner turnover—lateral movement is making clients less confident in their firm’s ability to deliver without gaps and turnover. Clients are also concerned about the loss of institutional memory and the additional labor and elapsed time required to bring a new partner up to speed.
Partner retirements—clients know when key partners at their primary law firms are nearing retirement—but clients believe their firms just passively react to the departures and let things take their course. These clients believe there is no formal plan or thought as to how their matters will be managed going forward. This has the same negative impact as partner turnover.
Loss of associates—just as clients are getting to know associates working on their cases, these associates seem to disappear. Clients are fully aware of the high associate turnover rate—but believe their firms will be figuring out how to retain their best associates—which, of course, is any associate your client really likes.
No support—clients are discovering their law firms just want to do the work. These firms have no apparent interest in helping their client think through new issues, initiate and carry on conversations to help clients sort out their thoughts, and engage at a level beyond the scope of work. Clients believe this type of dialogue is not only helpful but also crucial to understanding client goals and sensitivities.
No team—many attorneys are doing the work, and clients don’t see 1 single attorney as being in charge or accountable. Clients perceive the finger pointing among partners when things don’t go according to plan as evasiveness.
Inconsistency—clients experience superstars, mediocrity, and embarrassments all from the same firm. These corporate counsel openly worry the performance will sink to the lowest level delivered.
clients  quality  partners  laterals  strategy  firms 
may 2018 by JordanFurlong
A framework for the evolution of corporate law departments - Remaking Law Firms
Each legal department is unique, reflecting:

internal factors: its past investments, service delivery model preferences and practices (ratio of inside to outside), risk posture, legacy tools and processes, capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, and blends of people experience, knowledge and skills; and
external factors: forces affecting the client company, such as whether it is a small or medium-sized organization scaling rapidly in a high growth industry, or a mature, established organization with a focus on cost-optimization, or anywhere in between.
As a result, there is no universal, proven roadmap to help legal departments navigate their development. For this reason, it is more constructive to conceptualize a standard evolutionary framework which can be applied equally to all departments, which I refer to as the Digital Journey for Legal Services.

Each department’s journey will be different, influenced by the appetites, needs and resourcing of a particular department as well as its capacity to digest change (how much and how quickly). A transformation program to implement the journey may be comprehensive and ambitious impacting all or many substantial functions, operations or services of the department over multiple years, or it may be targeted and discrete with a narrow focus on quick wins around one or two key functions, operations or services by multiple mini-journeys. Most commonly, journeys are a hybrid of the two.

Because of the extended lead time for transformative projects, law departments would be well served to start their own individual journeys without delay.
clients  strategy 
april 2018 by JordanFurlong
(13) Is Law a Franchise or a Business? | LinkedIn
An economic franchise arises from a product or service that: (1) is needed or desired; (2) is thought by its customers to have no close substitute and; (3) is not subject to price regulation. The existence of all three conditions will be demonstrated by a company's ability to regularly price its product or service aggressively and thereby to earn high rates of return on capital. Moreover, franchises can tolerate mis-management. Inept managers may diminish a franchise's profitability, but they cannot inflict mortal damage.

In contrast, "a business" earns exceptional profits only if it is the low-cost operator or if supply of its product or service is tight. Tightness in supply usually does not last long. With superior management, a company may maintain its status as a low-cost operator for a much longer time, but even then unceasingly faces the possibility of competitive attack. And a business, unlike a franchise, can be killed by poor management.
firms  strategy  franchise 
february 2018 by JordanFurlong
Why Business Design is the Most Important Skill of the Future
Business Design …

is the application of design methods and processes on the development and innovation of business models.
is about value creation and value capturing.
transforms a value proposition into real business value.
making sense of new value creation by thinking in relations.
design  strategy  firms  models 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
(24) Ten Year's Worth of Learnings About Pricing | LinkedIn
o figure out the right pricing strategy, it’s critical to determine what the buyer cares about. Do they care about cost or value? What is their core unit of their world: people, dollars, gigabytes? How predictable is the pricing plan? And can the buyer clearly articulate the pricing, advocate on your behalf and champion the purchase?

It’s also important to understand the seller’s needs. How does the pricing change the market size? The unit economics and cash flows associated with the sale? The competitive positioning?

All of these disciplines fall under product marketing. Well run product marketing teams develop these perspectives before product launch. By combining market research, interviews with prospective customers, conversations with the sales team, the product marketing team can develop a unified pricing strategy that is consistent with the company strategy and the sales tactics.
pricing  strategy 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
Law Firm MDPs Part 4: Service Delivery Solutions | Rainmaking Oasis, LLC
Designed as a combination of legal data analytics and legal operations consulting services, this service solution is intended to help in-house legal departments achieve their management objectives and innovative legal services solutions. According to their web site, “Our team includes more than 30 practitioners with deep expertise in computer science, actuarial science, probability and statistics, business and project management. We bring smarter science and new ideas to the business of law.”  The firm supplements these technology tools and resources with economic and business advice. This solution is co-led by Chris Emerson, Bryan Cave’s Chief Practice Economics Officer, and Katie Boyd, a partner at the firm and its Chief Innovation Officer.

Baker Donelson has developed a suite of products, approaches and service offerings around Legal Project Management (LPM) all in an effort to help clients  improve service delivery (budget predictability, workflow efficiency and team collaboration), enhance business operations (lower spend, minimize risk, prove value) and achieve operational excellence of strategy, people and process.  Core LPM solutions offered include:

BakerManage™ is a patent-pending tool that is combined with Lean Six Sigma processes to improve efficiencies and budget predictability and transparency.
BakerManage™ LPM Program Development and Training: on lean process improvement, reliable budgeting, innovative pricing, team management and enterprise lawyer management technology.
BakerManage™ Workflow Management: a tool that automates BakerManage™ and other processes to optimize resources.
LPM Secondment/Sourcing to augment or second professionals to clients who have limited access to LPM expertise.
BakerLean™: Process for developing budgets, project plans and pricing models.
The Legal Project Management solutions team is comprised of lawyers, certified legal project managers, Lean-certified professionals, technology and automation specialists, and others. In 2016, Baker Donalson announced an affiliation with Legal Shift, a consulting and business advisory. Through the combined team, the firm offers a more robust blend of advisory services with their project management tools:

Legal process improvement
Contract workflow strategy
Litigation readiness assessments
IP paperless process design
Business operations (re)design
In-house/outside counsel alignment
Matter budget compliance program development
Pricing model development
Technology assessment planning, selection and implementation
Knowledge management, contract discovery and compliance, practice support solution design
eDiscovery process improvement, vendor selection and performance measurement; repository management
service  innovation  client  strategy  robo  data 
november 2017 by JordanFurlong
Dentons targets in-house lawyers with new Nextlaw consultancy service
Dentons has embarked on yet another chapter in its experimentation with the legal services model as the 8,000-lawyer giant announced the launch of Nextlaw In-House Solutions yesterday (15 November).

The fifth service line to come out of the firm’s spin-off Nextlaw business, the new consultancy service will see 50 of the firm’s lawyers – all former GCs – advise existing in-house lawyers on matters including procurement for panels, relationship with the c-suite and use of technology.

Unveiling Nextlaw In-House, Dentons former Canada chair and chief executive of the new platform Chris Pinnington said clients would range from in-house teams in large organisations to start-ups setting up their legal team for the first time.

The firm was circumspect on fee arrangements but Pinnington said the consultancy wanted to move away from hourly rates: ‘We want to shift the conversation from cost to value, moving from fixed fees to success fees. In some cases it will take the form of a subscription fee.’

Other services the consultancy will offer include career mentoring and crisis management, the issues that ‘keep in-house lawyers awake at night’.
clients  firms  innovation  strategy 
november 2017 by JordanFurlong
Comment: What’s the point of Baker McKenzie?
The sentiment is welcome but getting there will not be easy. In fact it will be exceedingly difficult. Bakers is a hugely complex beast to marshal, while its fondness for consensus has often tipped over into bureaucracy and outright inertia. And for an operator with widely-cited communication skills, Rawlinson at times makes heavy going of articulating what is a coherent game plan.
strategy  global 
november 2017 by JordanFurlong
Why BigLaw firms fail - Remaking Law Firms
1. Leadership that was ineffectual, asleep at the wheel, not transparently accountable and, in a few cases, blatantly dishonest.
• Leadership in this context refers to the person holding the position of chairman, CEO or managing partner (or equivalent titles) and those working closely with him (none of the 47 firms had a woman in this position). These persons variously included the finance director, practice group or office heads, and others with access to financial information and influence over decisions.
• In most cases, the leader had an autocratic style and managed with the ‘in’ group as a cabal. He made decisions about leases, using excessive debt for working capital, mergers and secret deals with laterals. There was little or no consultation with the wider partnership.
2. A lack of direction of the firm
• In some cases, manifesting as ‘steady as she goes’ in the face of rapidly and often adversely changing external conditions or expansion into areas of law or locations with no logical links to the firm’s strengths.
• In others, failing to read changing market conditions and being left stranded in unfavourable market positions, e.g. during the ‘mid-market merger mania’ of the 1990s that particularly affected the US and Australia.
3. Vulnerability because of exposure to a handful major clients and/or narrow service line offerings.
firms  leadership  strategy  failure 
october 2017 by JordanFurlong
Oops, I Think IDEO Needs To Rethink This One – The Algorithmic Society – Medium
He asks whether there is something beyond making money for a law firm. This is a tough question for lawyers and law firms. The quick and easy answer is that law firms and their lawyers don’t exist to make money nor do they exist for some other greater purpose. They exist to generate cash flow. This is not a semantic nuance.
Making money involves putting capital at risk. The entrepreneur wants to make money, though the successful entrepreneur usually wants to solve a problem and making money is a (very nice) byproduct. The corporation wants to make money and those work work in its senior ranks, where corporate lawyers live, want to make money. Law firms are lightweights when it comes to capital. They have some furniture and computer equipment. A law firm consists of lease obligations and labor costs.
Making money also involves a combination of curiosity, drive, risk-taking, optimism, resilience, and process focus — the list is long. Yet, if we look at the lawyer personality type, we find these are the characteristics and skills where lawyers score below the average population.
Lawyers and their law firms have a specific reason for existing — generating cash flow. They want to risk nothing. Look no farther than the end of a fiscal year for a firm. There is a mad scramble as partners try to get cash in the door before the fiscal year ends. When the clock strikes midnight on the last day of the fiscal year, the game starts all over again.
A cash flow-centric organization lacks a cushion. It is exposed to and feels an immediate impact from whatever happens in its business and the market. Take your foot off the accelerator for a moment and you immediately slow down. Other businesses, even other services businesses, have buffers. This is important when talking about having a focus other than cash. It is a factor that, I think, explains why law firms engage in seemingly aberrant behavior, such as acting against their best interests when it comes to long-term survival.
purpose  strategy  firms 
august 2017 by JordanFurlong
Are Law Firms Too Sophisticated for Their Own Good | The American Lawyer
The challenges besetting Big Law are of its own making. The industry overshot the needs of its clients and overlooked the effect of growth on the intensity of competition. The really frightening part? Recent surveys show Big Law is doing nothing to mitigate the threats to its prosperity and much to exacerbate them. A change of course is needed. It will require today's leaders to bring more younger partners into leadership roles and to lead in a very different way.
firms  strategy  future  clients 
july 2017 by JordanFurlong
HLS CLP | The Practice | Steering Law Firm Strategy
The leadership. The other main character in this story is the law firm’s leadership. Perhaps the easiest answer to who runs strategy at a law firm—that is, strategy for the firm as a whole—is to point to the top of the pyramid: the managing and/or senior partner, the executive committee, and the board (here, the exact titles may differ, but the relevant organizational positioning remains largely the same). But how does the top develop strategy on behalf of the collective interests of the partnership?
firms  strategy  leadership 
june 2017 by JordanFurlong
Canadian Bar Association - The Canadian Bar Association
“My recommendation is that law firms allocate time towards some kind of strategic goal that the firm is trying to work toward,” says Foley. “For example, if the strategic goal is to improve the business development culture among the firm’s junior lawyers, we could put together a presentation from an external speaker about the different tools that they can use for business development and how they can be implemented. And then my recommendation is to use real life examples, so if there are partners who are rainmakers, they could talk about what works for them.”
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
Allen & Overy: An Old Firm With A New Strategy
Forward thinking firms like A&O—as well as some in-house legal departments and elite providers see the writing on the wall. They identify ‘legal’ issues as components of ‘business challenges’ that require legal, IT, and resource management expertise. That requires collaboration—internally as well as with clients– and an ability to integrate the different solution ingredients. Allen & Overy has assembled—and integrated—several different elements of this mosaic. The ‘Fuse’ initiative is merely the latest one.

A&O Has Created An ‘Advanced Delivery’ Capability That Differentiates It  

A&O’s ‘Fuse’ initiative is part of a broader strategy designed to: (1) differentiate the firm’s already well-burnished brand; (2) enhance its already formidable delivery capability by having a direct hand in cutting-edge technology focused on core practice areas that include deal-making, regulatory, and finance; (3) create products that will augment the firm’s services in those areas; (4) expand the technological expertise and reach of the firm beyond its internal IT department; (5) meld the firm’s elite legal expertise with technology and resource management, offering clients a wide range of services and products appropriate to the matter or task; and (7) find solutions—not simply legal ones—that advance client interest. This is an example of a law firm thinking creatively, strategically, and boldly to solve client problems. It is the merger of the practice of law with the delivery of legal services.
innovation  it  process  robo  strategy 
april 2017 by JordanFurlong
If We Covered the U.S. Election | Stratfor
Few completely reject Adam Smith's assertion of an invisible hand in economics; we argue that geopolitics helps us identify elements of a hidden hand in international politics. The narrower the time frame, the more discrete the geography and the more immediate the decision, the less geopolitics explains
geopolitics  strategy 
november 2016 by JordanFurlong
3 Geeks and a Law Blog: Law Firm Partners: If It Ain't Broke...
That’s all well and good until a few key rainmakers decamp for other firms where they are guaranteed to make more money. Those people who don't usually pay attention because they don’t have to will still notice if the firm pursues change initiatives that affect their time, workflow, or bank account. On the latter point, supported by strong historical evidence, these successful, high-status professionals consider substantial annual growth in their compensation to lie somewhere between a natural law and a birthright.

Even now, their belief in their ever-escalating economic value seems well founded. The lateral market is nuts. 93.7% of firms are pursuing growth via the zero-sum game of acquiring laterals. Unhappy rainmakers are coveted free agents subject to bidding wars. This makes the BigLaw business model—where your most valuable assets can walk out the door—inherently fragile. Even the largest law firms are susceptible to animal spirits and the cascade effect of rainmaker defections.

The prime directive of the managing partner is to keep the firm solvent and intact. That limits their leverage to force through changes that key partners resist. Successful partners need someone to handle the administrative side of the business. But, as autonomy-seeking missiles, they hate to be managed. Martin Bragg captured this well in exchange we had after my first post on the topic (reprinted with permission):
partners  firms  strategy 
july 2016 by JordanFurlong
Too Many Lawyers Report Faults Firms for Resisting Layoffs | The American Lawyer
• Respondents said that the most immediate threat to demand for legal services is coming from corporate legal departments. Two-thirds of the firms surveyed said that they have lost business because the work has gone in-house.  
• More than have half of the large firms surveyed said that they are making changes to how they approach pricing. At large firms, typically around one-third of all fees were discounted. 
• More than 88 percent of law firm leaders reported that they believe technology will continue to replace human resources.  
• Seventy-five percent of large firms surveyed are using part-time lawyers and contract lawyers. 
• About half of the firms surveyed said they had increased their equity partner, nonequity partner and partner-track associate ranks in 2015. 
• Nearly all large firms said that they would grow by acquiring laterals this year. Just over 88 percent said that they would acquire groups; 30 percent said that they would open new offices; and 42.7 percent said that they would acquire other law firms. 
firms  laterals  strategy  partners 
may 2016 by JordanFurlong
Outside the Box: Firms Go Beyond the Law with New Ventures | The American Lawyer
Take London media and privacy boutique Schillings. Its expansion into nonlegal business radically transformed the firm, but in a way that built on existing capacities. Schillings made its name suing newspapers on behalf of high-profile clients, such as disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. But the rise of social media threatened the core of its practice. Following a 2010 strategic review, the firm began advising clients on all aspects of privacy and reputation management, from legal to intelligence and risk consulting, adding cybersecurity expertise in 2012 through the acquisition of information security firm Vigilante Bespoke. Schillings converted in 2013 to an alternative business structure, or ABS, a relatively new structure that allows U.K. law firms to be owned and managed by nonlawyers, and COO Christopher Mills says that the move has helped double revenue over the past three years. (He declined to disclose the firm's revenue.)
firms  strategy  innovation 
april 2016 by JordanFurlong
Porter’s Five Forces for the Legal Industry | Business of Law Blog
Competition in the Legal Industry
In a recent webinar, BTI Consulting pointed out that client feedback mechanism that doesn’t include the “competitive environment” is misleading. Much of the analysis was sound and reasonable, especially with regard to a firm’s own customers.  However as Mr. Porter’s model shows us, from a higher vantage point, we can begin to see the influences of additional competitive threats.
That’s a key benefit of using models like Mr. Porter’s.  Disruption in the legal industry, for example, may stem from clients, and it brings with it additional sources of competition.  In other words, it’s credible to argue that law firms today are not just competing with law firms.
A turn at analyzing the US legal market according to Porter’s Five Forces follows below – we’d welcome your input and feedback in the comments!
Bargaining Power of Suppliers  
Bill rate increases have slowed – from a rate of 10% a year to just 3%
More firms pursuing less legal work; BTI Consulting calls it a “predator’s paradise”
Average revenue per lawyer dropped .4% in the recent Am Law 100 rankings
Bargaining Power of Buyers
Corporate counsel is increasingly using to data and analytics to drive decisions
Legal departments are consolidating the number of law firms used for legal services
Consolidating work with “large enough” or super regional law firms
Pricing is one factor as “large enough” firms are twice as likely to use AFAs
Access to law firm talent moves more legal work in-house; roughly $6 billion in 2 years
Threat of New Entrants
Alternative means to staff legal work:  Axiom, Robert Half Legal, and UpCounsel
Legal process outsourcing commodity legal work moving to “The Law Factory”
M&A is a top trend among law firms and in essence forms a new competitive entity
Threat of Substitutes
Validation of alternative sources of legal assistance such as Legal Zoom
$45 billion opportunity in the “latent market” for online legal resources
$458 million invested in legal startups – up from $66 million year-over-year
competition  strategy 
march 2016 by JordanFurlong
Mishcon could make all its employees part-owners in John Lewis-style plans | Lawyer 2B
When Mishcon de Reya boss Kevin Gold told The Lawyer, “If the cleaner approached me with an idea on how to improve the firm, I’d listen,” the profession said his comments were “patronising.”

But now Gold is putting his money where his mouth is. Mishcon de Reya could move to a John Lewis-style ownership model that would see even the cleaning and reception staff own a stake in the business.

The firm is about to the reach the end of a year-long consultation to plan the next decade of Mishcon that could result in ground-breaking changes to the firm.

The results of the consultation will be presented by Gold and his executive team to the partnership in April when the firm will launch its first ‘10-year vision’.

Gold told The Lawyer all ideas were still “up in the air” but partners, fee-earners and employees had all been consulted on plans ranging from overhauling the ownership model to scrapping bonuses to launching offices overseas.
clementi  strategy  nonlawyer 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Stop Using Battle Metaphors in Your Company Strategy
So, what is strategy? It’s fundamentally the movement of an organization from its present position to a desirable but inherently uncertain future position. The path from here to there is both analytical (a series of linked hypotheses about objectives in a market; where we do and don’t play among our opportunity spaces; and what this means for the customer value proposition, sales tasks, and other activities) and behavioral (the ongoing coordinated efforts of people who work in different functions but must align for effective strategy execution). And the trail always begins with customers.
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Here's Why Your Content Marketing Strategy is Totally Failing
I talk with a lot of people who are frustrated with the fact that their content marketing strategy doesn’t seem to be working.
publishing  strategy  marketing 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
How the Mighty Fall: Part I
Here are some of the indicia Collins would have you be acutely tuned to watching out for:
Entitlement: Success is viewed as deserved rather than fortunate, fleeting, or hard-won; people believe the firm will continue to succeed almost no matter what it does.
Neglecting a primary driver: Leaders neglect a key component of the firm’s strength, instead attending to “extraneous threats and adventures.” They fail the demand that sources of success need to be ever renewed.
“What” replaces “why:” Rhetoric replaces insight, or as Collins puts it, “We’re successful because we do these specific things” replaces “We’re successful because we understand why we do these specific things and under what circumstances they would no longer work.”
Finally, the orientation towards continuous learning dissipates: Truly great individuals strive to maintain a learning curve as steep as when they first began; those who are less disciplined or more risk-averse quickly relax into a seductive comfort zone of preferring reassurance over challenge.
firms  strategy 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
The lateral-partner revenue mirage — RainmakerVT
The February 1 online edition of The American Lawyer features The Big Law Lateral Hiring Frenzy Continues. It reports the results of a survey that portrays a perverse dynamic, one in which everyone pursues the same strategy despite acknowledging that it only works in a small percentage of cases.
laterals  firms  strategy 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Verizon GC: We Don’t Need Law Firms At Our Business Meetings | Big Law Business
By definition, when we’re bringing in outside counsel, we’re bringing them in as a vertical staff, as a highly specialized resource on one particular issue.

The best outside counsel understand they are the client of the in-house legal team, and should make that team look good.
Outside counsel who are best at what they do understand that their one vertical issue fits within a larger strategic framework of legal policy, regulatory, and business issues that our in-house team is supporting the company on. Understanding how their role fits within a larger framework, and therefore the types of decisions we make about how to handle a case, how to move forward on something, have to be viewed through that larger lens.

Photo Courtesy of Verizon

Related to that, I think outside counsel always serve their clients best when they understand that they are the client of the in-house legal team, and should make that team look good, understanding that the legal team in-house has a set of clients they’re interacting with on a larger basis.

As far as pet peeves go, I can’t say, “Boy, I have a big complaint about some of our outside counsel,” because if I did, we would find other outside counsel.

Big Law Business: So if other firms wanted to work with you, what would turn you off?

Silliman: One pitch that you sometimes hear from law firms is, “We want to be your strategic partner, we want to sit inside your meetings, we want to get to know the business, etc.” You have to understand that, particularly at today’s billing rates and with the way billing is structured, we have an in-house legal team that sits with the clients every day, and that’s part of the larger strategy of the business.

That is what our in-house legal team does. We don’t need outside counsel to do that, and more to the point, it wouldn’t be cost-efficient for us to pay outside counsel to sit in meetings just to hear what the business is thinking, or even what the in-house legal team is thinking in a larger strategic sense.
clients  partners  strategy 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Ten Questions to Ask About Your Firm's Future | The American Lawyer
This essay is the last of a three-part series. Part one told the story of how Steve Jobs led Apple Inc. to the greatest market share story in modern history. Jobs used the "focus principle": starting with the needs of the customer and working backward to the technology.
Part two described how Am Law 200 firms can recapture market power and take market share. By applying Jobs' focus principle, firms can become best-in-class in a handful of practice areas and industries that fit the needs of the firm's current and prospective clients.
Do you believe that the winning strategy is to work backward from the needs of the client? If so, what must be done to maximize your firm's likelihood for success?
Many of the questions below are challenging because they impose strategic trade-offs. As Jobs famously said, "Focus is not about saying yes. It's about saying no." Firm leaders should first ponder the questions alone, thinking about where the firm is today and where it needs to go. Then they should discuss them with their management team.
strategy  firms  future 
january 2016 by JordanFurlong
Chief strategy officer role gains pace with appointments by Mishcon and Norton Rose Fulbright | Legal IT Insider
The move by law firms to create this kind of dedicated in-house resource comes in response to market pressures, both from clients and other law firm competitors, as the ‘jack of all trades’ partnership management model is tested and found wanting. At leading management consultants Janders Dean, US Director Andrew Baker said: “Expectations are changing around how firms interact with clients (in both digital and analog ways), how they track and manage work, how they price, how the legal supply chain is assembled, how firms market, how firms handle pursuits, the concept of firm “brand” and so on. We see only more pressure on the horizon, and that will require even more creativity from law firms. As a result of these pressures, CSOs, “chief client officers” and the like are starting to emerge. A trend? It’s early and there aren’t a lot of these positions, but we expect more activity in the next 18-24 months.”
strategy  firms 
january 2016 by JordanFurlong
Baseball Prospectus | Winning By Design
Lastly, buy-in from leadership is necessary because no team would ever decide on investing in a design thinking-influenced culture based on return on investment (ROI), but then again, no team would ever trade a prospect or sign a top tier free agent if only looking at ROI. Clayton Christensen, the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, has long argued that ROI stifles innovation by placing focus on the percentage of growth as opposed to the amount of growth. The point of all this is to say that incremental innovation (hire another analyst or scout, procure more information, etc.) will always be more appealing from an ROI perspective, but differentiating innovation will rarely be achieved this way. Put more simply by Kotchka, “You cannot innovate based on data because by definition data doesn’t exist yet.”

We do not know what the future holds for baseball. What we do know, though, is that the next ideas to truly revolutionize the game will probably not resemble past ideas, other than by challenging many of the basic assumptions that we currently hold true. It might not have anything to do with design thinking, but design thinking might just help us get there
design  innovation  strategy 
november 2015 by JordanFurlong
Two ways to tackle mixed and ill-fitting practices in your law firm | Nick Jarrett-Kerr
Whilst many firms have found it possible, within reason, to operate different business models for parts of their practice, there remains a strategic issue which will need to be determined at some stage. This is because firms need to seriously consider the strategic importance of maintaining areas of the firm that offer no synergies with the rest of the firm, whilst burdening the firm with management inconsistencies or economic headaches.
strategy  firms  partners 
october 2015 by JordanFurlong
Stop Thinking Like a GM; Start Thinking Like a Player | Community – FanGraphs Baseball
Like many baseball fans, I have played a lot of baseball in my life. I wasn’t anything special—Just A Guy in HS-age select ball, a starter in college only by virtue of attending a notoriously nerdy institution, and a player in the kind of adult league where a typical pitcher throws 80 and a double play ball has about a 50/50 shot of actually becoming a double play. What might be atypical about me is that as both a player and fan of baseball, I never had to struggle with sabermetrics upending conventional wisdom. For me sabermetrics was conventional wisdom from the very beginning. I grew up in a house with every single Bill James book ever published on the bookshelves and knew who Pete Palmer was when I was twelve.
september 2015 by JordanFurlong
Fulfilling the three main requirements of investors in your law firm | Nick Jarrett-Kerr
All three requirements are linked in the sense that one cannot have one without the others.
It is all too easy for firms to focus just on short-term performance at the expense of succession strategies for future partners/investors. Overall, the firm should resolve to be a complete firm, pulling together and prepared to invest and adapt.
Stewardship for the future requires a mindset in which partners regard their firm as being in trust for future generations. This may sometimes mean that partners not in favour nevertheless have to support the feelings of the majority or to accept responsibly-made investment decisions.
september 2015 by JordanFurlong
Quantum Geopolitics | Stratfor
This sketch of Turkey is by no means static or deterministic. It is, simply but critically, the product of putting a filter on a lens to bring the state's trajectory into clearer view. The assumptions we form must be tested every day by incoming intelligence that can lead to refinements of the forecast at hand. A quantum interpretation of the world will tell you that nothing is deterministic, and we cannot know for sure that a certain outcome will or will not happen based on the limited information we possess. We can only assign a probability of something happening, and that probability will evolve over time. As Stephen Hawking said, "It seems Einstein was ... wrong when he said, 'God does not play dice.' Not only does God definitely play dice, but He sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen."
july 2015 by JordanFurlong
Accounting for Inertia in Geopolitical Forecasting | Stratfor
Geopolitics teaches us how to identify and assess the compulsions and constraints on nations and their principal actors — the driving forces and limiters that shape the behavior and direction of nations and their interactions. The balance between "compulsions" (what must be done) and "constraints" (what cannot be done) — a tension that induces or restricts certain behaviors, actions and directions — changes with differing "circumstances," or the current state of being domestically, regionally or internationally at a given moment in time. Thus, some compulsions may exist for years or decades, but only in a very special set of circumstances do they really induce action.
book  strategy 
june 2015 by JordanFurlong
Compensation, Billable Hour Limiting Firms' Success | The Legal Intelligencer
A wealth of information, little market growth, and increased competition have created an environment where many firms need to consider changing, but significant obstacles, particularly compensation structures and reliance on the billable hour, remain in the way.
compensation  strategy  innovation  firms  partners 
may 2015 by JordanFurlong
9 ways to change the carnivorous partnership model and save BigLaw firms - ABA Journal
A not-uncommon phenomenon is the partner who trains and works his proteges up to the level of finally becoming a potential success as a stand-alone partner—and therefore a competitor for the mentor. So, in this Hobbesian world, proteges are counseled out before they have a meaningful relationship directly with any client of the partners during a career in which they have been actively discouraged from developing their own independent client base. Senior partner “mentors” become sovereigns who eat their young. Why do they do it? Because more equity partners potentially take away from the profit pie, creating competition in the area that the senior partner is most expert. Better to toss the juniors out and bring up another youngster until they reach the same level, repeating the cycle over and over.
partners  firms  compensation  management  strategy 
february 2015 by JordanFurlong
Why There’s No Such Thing as Full Service
No client ever hires an agency because it can do everything, but rather because it can do something. In fact, whenever “wide range” or “full service” appears as the main promise a firm makes, you can assume that it has been either unable or unwilling to actually name what it stands for.
marketing  firms  strategy 
february 2015 by JordanFurlong
Reinventing The Law Business: Beyond Profits Per Partner — Embracing Volatility « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law Schools, Law Suits, Judges and Courts + Career Resources
Over at Wild & Not Crazy, something quite different is transpiring. Instead of eating their young to survive, the Wild & Not Crazy firm is saying, this is our time! We knew this would happen at some point and now it is here. This is a time of great opportunity. Our competition is reeling – look at what is happening to Stable & Fable! Wouldn’t it be great if we could expand and grow and snag some of those Other Partners getting whacked by Stable & Fable. How about if we:

Knock the compensation for “all” partners down by a third.
Recruit those really good – but screwed – Other Partners from Stable & Fable.
And try to market to their clients too.
Maybe now is the time to lower our rates – if we go down in cost and Stable & Fable goes up in cost, that might be just the thing to do to shake some business from the tree.
Acknowledge that times are tough now – and that tough times are when we expand and grow at the expense of the other firms out there that can’t stand the heat in the kitchen. Once the downturn is over, we will be stronger and bigger than ever!!!
strategy  leadership  management  firms 
october 2014 by JordanFurlong
Linklaters: A Short Story
As one former partner warns: “There is certain logic in what they’re doing. You can criticise them for shrinking but there’s no other way to boost profits but to narrow their focus. They’re a little short-termish in strategy as it’s hard to keep going down this route and still motivate partners. My advice would be get people together over some wine and really think about where the market is going and where you want to be. A&O has clearly done that and it’s now a threat. Do they know where they want to be in five or 10 years’ time or what their competitors are doing?”

Perhaps the wider issue facing Linklaters is less about what difficult decisions the firm is taking than why. There are some credible critics of the firm that argue that Linklaters needs to develop a clearer vision of where it wants to sit in the market as it moves increasingly further from the London-centric, corporate driven partnership that built its brand.
strategy  mergers 
december 2012 by JordanFurlong
First in a Series on Strategy in the New Normal - Adam Smith, Esq.
This is the first in a series of pieces on strategic plans in the world of the New Normal.
january 2011 by JordanFurlong
The "Warning" Czar? - Adam Smith, Esq.
We all know the world is not so simple any more. It's not a bipolar or even a multipolar competitive landscape you're facing--when at least everything you had to worry about was on a single plane, in the geometric sense. Now it's entered 3-D. To be sure, you still have all your own moves and potential counter-moves of competitors to worry about, as well as clients' heightened demands and expectations. And don't ignore or fail to plan for competitors' counter-moves: As they memorably put it in the military, "the enemy gets a vote." I'm repeatedly amazed by the failure to anticipate the most elementary reactions of other firms to a planned initiative.
Bookmarks  strategy  leadership 
september 2009 by JordanFurlong
Playing war games can give companies new perspectives on complex problems
Bookmarks  Economist  strategy  innovation 
august 2007 by JordanFurlong > Passion, People and Principles > Who or What is the Firm For?
Who are we running the firm for? The standard capitalist answer used to be"for the shareholders." But if it is not unusual for one third of them to be gone within 5 years, what then remains as the purpose? Who THEN are we running the place for? Or for wha
Bookmarks  firms  strategy  laterals  demographics 
july 2007 by JordanFurlong

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