jerryking + law_firms   122

Opinion | The Meritocracy Is Ripping America Apart
Sept. 12, 2019 | - The New York Times | By David Brooks.

savage exclusion tears the social fabric.

There are at least two kinds of meritocracy in America right now. Exclusive meritocracy exists at the super-elite universities and at the industries that draw the bulk of their employees from them — Wall Street, Big Law, medicine and tech. And then there is the more open meritocracy that exists almost everywhere else.

In the exclusive meritocracy, prestige is defined by how many people you can reject....The more the exclusivity, the thicker will be the coating of P.C. progressivism to show that we’re all good people.

People in this caste work phenomenally hard to build their wealth......People in this caste are super-skilled and productive.....These highly educated professionals attract vast earnings while everybody else gets left behind......Parents in the exclusive meritocracy raise their kids to be fit fighters within it....affluent parents invest on their kids’ human capital, over and above what middle-class parents can afford to invest......the Kansas Leadership Center. The center teaches people how to create social change and hopes to saturate the state with better leaders. But the center doesn’t focus on traditional “leaders.” Its mantra is: “Leadership is an activity, not a position. Anyone can lead, anytime, anywhere.” The atmosphere is one of radical inclusion.....People in both the exclusive and open meritocracies focus intensely on increasing skills. But it’s jarring to move from one culture to the other because the values are so different. The exclusive meritocracy is spinning out of control. If the country doesn’t radically expand its institutions and open access to its bounty, the U.S. will continue to rip apart.
Big_Law  caste_systems  Colleges_&_Universities  David_Brooks  elitism  exclusivity  hard_work  human_capital  inequality  law_firms  leadership  medicine  meritocracy  op-ed  parenting  political_correctness  social_classes  social_exclusion  social_fabric  social_impact  social_inclusion  society  technology  values  Wall_Street  winner-take-all 
9 weeks ago by jerryking
How a private equity boom fuelled the world’s biggest law firm
June 6, 2019 | Financial Times | James Fontanella-Khan and Sujeet Indap in New York and Barney Thompson in London.

Jeff Hammes took the helm at a Chicago-based law firm called Kirkland & Ellis in 2010, with the aim of turning it into a world-beater, few in the industry thought he stood a chance.......known as a good litigation firm in Chicago with a decent mid-market private equity practice, in the blockbuster dealmaking world, however, the firm was largely irrelevant. Nobody took them seriously on Wall Street.....Fuelled by explosive growth in private equity, aggressive poaching of talent and most of all, a business model that resembles a freewheeling investment bank, Kirkland has become the highest-grossing law firm in the world.....This rise reflects the shift in the financial world’s balance of power since the financial crisis. Investment banks, the dominant force before 2008, have been eclipsed by private equity firms, which now sit on hundreds of billions of dollars of investment funds.

Kirkland thrived by hitching itself to this dealmaking activity. The firm presents with a relentless — many say ruthless — focus on growth, a phenomenal work ethic and a desire to up-end what it sees as a lazy hierarchy. Key questions: can its winning streak can continue? Will its private equity clients continue to prosper? how will Kirkland cope if and when the private equity boom ends? And can a firm with such a hard-charging culture survive in the long run?....Robert Smith’s Vista Equity has grown to manage assets from $1bn to $46 in a decade while working with Kirkland.....To establish Kirkland as a major player, Mr Hammes turned his attention to recruitment. ....poaching proven M&A experts and targeting all areas of dealmaking.....To entice the best lawyers to join its ranks, Kirkland managed to exploit a structural rigidity in its more traditional white-shoe and magic circle rivals. A dwindling but still significant number of elite firms remunerate equity partners using a “lockstep” model......
Kirkland sought rising stars in their late thirties who were at the bottom of this ladder, stuck in the queue for the highest share of profits. Part of its pitch was money — “With compensation, we can go as high as we want,” says one partner — but the other part was an almost unprecedented level of autonomy.
Big_Law  booming  business_development  Chicago  compensation  concentration_risk  dealmakers  deal-making  eat_what_you_kill  financial_crises  growth  hard-charging  high-end  hiring  howto  hustle  Kirkland_Ellis  law  law_firms  litigation  mid-market  organizational_culture  poaching  private_equity  recruiting  Robert_Smith  superstars  talent  turnover  Vista  Wall_Street  winner-take-all  work_ethic  world-class 
june 2019 by jerryking
Big data: legal firms play ‘Moneyball’
February 6, 2019 | Financial Times | Barney Thompson.

Is the hunt for data-driven justice a gimmick or a powerful tool to give lawyers an advantage and predict court outcomes?

In Philip K Dick’s short story The Minority Report, a trio of “precogs” plugged into a machine are used to foretell all crimes so potential felons could be arrested before they were able to strike. In real life, a growing number of legal experts and computer scientists are developing tools they believe will give lawyers an edge in lawsuits and trials. 

Having made an impact in patent cases these legal analytics companies are now expanding into a broad range of areas of commercial law. This is not about replacing judges,” says Daniel Lewis, co-founder of Ravel Law, a San Francisco lawtech company that built the database of judicial behaviour. “It is about showing how they make decisions, what they find persuasive and the patterns of how they rule.” 
analytics  data_driven  judges  law  law_firms  lawtech  lawyers  Lex_Machina  massive_data_sets  Moneyball  predictive_modeling  quantitative  tools 
february 2019 by jerryking
The dawn of the superstar lawyer
April 9, 2018 | Financial TImes | James Fontanella-Khan, Sujeet Indap in New York and Barney Thompson in London YESTERDAY Print this page140
law_firms  Big_Law  law  lawyers  compensation  winner-take-all  superstars  eat_what_you_kill  organizational_culture 
april 2018 by jerryking
David Boies: the super-lawyer who fell to earth
NOVEMBER 10, 2017 | Financial Times | by Gary Silverman in New York.

David Boies is a representative of a rare breed. He is a New York super-lawyer: one of a small group of residents, typically men, who parse the fine print, seal the deals, battle in the courts and, in the process, define their commercially minded city just as surely as the skyscrapers, the pastrami and the bull outside the stock exchange.

His résumé testifies to his status as perhaps the leading litigator of his day. He has fought in court for causes as near and dear to liberal hearts as same-sex marriage and the presidential campaign of Democrat Al Gore. He has aided fallen financiers including AIG’s Hank Greenberg and Enron’s Andy Fastow. He fought off a libel suit filed against CBS by William Westmoreland, commander of US forces in Vietnam, and was recruited by the federal government to press its antitrust case against Microsoft.

His reputation, however, has just taken a major blow. Mr Boies, a product of the New York legal star system, has been ensnared in the scandal involving a long-time client, producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of abusing his power in the Hollywood star system to harass and assault numerous women over many years.

Mr Boies, 76, is a wealthy man noted for his philanthropy and his popularity, along with his third wife, Mary, on the Manhattan social circuit. But he is also an inveterate risk taker — a lover of the action in Las Vegas as well as at his firm Boies Schiller & Flexner — who goes the extra mile for clients. He did a favour for Mr Weinstein, and it is costing him in the court of public opinion.

His courtroom style is notoriously disarming. His attire — typically, a Lands’ End jacket and trousers — comes straight from the heartland. But his questions are hard

Mr Boies signed a contract on July 11 hiring a business intelligence firm called Black Cube to spy on Mr Weinstein’s accusers, The New Yorker magazine reported. Run by former Israeli intelligence agents, its operatives used false identities to gain the trust of the people in the case and collect information about them. Its objectives included helping Mr Weinstein “stop the publication of a negative article in a leading NY newspaper”.
lawyers  law_firms  profile  David_Boies  superstars  Harvey_Weinstein 
november 2017 by jerryking
Law firms will pay price for failure to hold off hackers | Evernote Web
31 December/1 January 2017 | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

"This case of cyber meets securities fraud should serve as a wake-up call for law firms around the world: You are and will be targets of cyber hacking, because you have information available to would-be criminals," Bharara said in a statement....Other professional services firms should take note. This is not the first time the industry has been hit by hackers who specialise in what is becoming known as "outsider trading"....Accounting firms that provide tax advice on mergers, boutique advisory forms, and consultants who weigh in on synergies and downsizing plans are almost certainly on the criminals' hit list....Professional service firms will not be so lucky. Banks and companies pay extremely high prices for outside advice. They expect professionalism and confidentiality in return. Getting hacked by a bunch of Chinese traders is hardly a strong recommendation of either.
Big_Law  Chinese  confidentiality  cyber_security  cyberattacks  hackers  hacking  law_firms  M&A  malware  mergers_&_acquisitions  Preet_Bharara  professional_service_firms  SEC  security_consciousness  securities_fraud  traders 
january 2017 by jerryking
Your Lawyer May Soon Ask This AI-Powered App for Legal Help | WIRED
DAVEY ALBA BUSINESS DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08.07.15.
08.07.15

ROSS Intelligence is a voice recognition app powered by IBM Watson, the machine learning service based on the company’s Jeopardy-playing cognitive system, that doles out legal assistance.

The app is yet another example of the ways machine learning is infiltrating our everyday lives. These days, it’s not just AI algorithms themselves that have improved, but the ability to deliver them across the Internet that has made so many new applications possible.....Asking Natural Questions
Ross works much like Siri. Users can ask it any question the same way a client might—for instance, “If an employee has not been meeting sales targets and has not been able to complete the essentials of their employment, can they be terminated without notice?” The system sifts through its database of legal documents and spits out an answer paired with a confidence rating. Below the answer, a user can see the source documents from which Ross has pulled the information; if the response is accurate, you can hit a “thumbs up” button to save the source. Select “thumbs down” and Ross come up with another response.
technology  law  lawtech  lawyers  law_firms  machine_learning  voice_recognition  voice_interfaces  virtual_assistants  artificial_intelligence  Siri  IBM_Watson 
june 2016 by jerryking
From terrorism to technological disruption: Leaders need to tackle risk - The Globe and Mail
DAVID ISRAELSON
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016

“Not only do they have to think about and worry about economic changes and what their competitors are going to do, they now have a whole new level of political and regulatory risk,” Ms. Ecker says.

“You can’t predict in some cases how a policy maker is going to move. We’re seeing that in China now.”

At the beginning of 2016, as markets began a steep slide in China, that country’s regulators twice activated a “circuit breaker” mechanism to halt trading, only to abandon it after it appeared to make the drop in the market even worse.

The lesson is that sometimes “business practices and even business products that seem acceptable today, for whatever reason, when something happens can be considered things you shouldn’t be doing. There’s more policy unpredictability than ever before,” Ms. Ecker says.

“In an increasingly risky world, a CEO needs to be increasingly flexible and adaptable. You also need to have a team and know what the latest threat might be.”

That isn’t necessarily easy, she adds. “There’s no rule book. When I was in politics, people used to ask me what we should anticipate. I’d tell them, ‘Read science fiction books.’ ”....CEOs in today’s risky world also need people skills that may not have been necessary before, says Shaharris Beh, director of Hackernest, a Toronto-based not-for-profit group that connects worldwide tech companies.

“CEOs have always needed strong skills around rapid decision-making and failure mitigation. In today’s hypercompetitive startup business climate, leaders need two more: pivot-resilience and proleptic consensus leadership,” he says.

“Pivot-resilience is the ability to tolerate the stress of gut-wrenching risks when dramatically shifting strategy. In other words, be able to take the blame gracefully while still warranting respect among your team members.”

Proleptic consensus leadership is especially important for startups, Mr. Beh says. “It’s the ability to garner the team’s support for taking big risks by giving them the assurance of what backup plans are in place should things go sour.”

This consensus building “is how you keep support,” he adds. In a volatile economy, “people can jump ship at any time or even unintentionally sabotage things if they’re not convinced a particular course of action will work.” So you have to constantly persuade.
science_fiction  law_firms  law  risks  CEOs  risk-management  disruption  BLG  leaders  pivots  resilience  consensus  risk-taking  contingency_planning  unpredictability  political_risk  regulatory_risk  policymakers  flexibility  adaptability  anticipating  people_skills  circuit_breakers 
february 2016 by jerryking
Why law and accounting firms struggle to innovate - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 06, 2015 | The Globe and Mail | RYAN CALIGIURI.

Why is it that professional service firms, especially accounting and law firms, find it so difficult to embrace innovation in order to build a stronger future?...The biggest factor is that professional service firms are driven primarily by billable hours and any time someone is not billable they are seen as not adding value. This means that in order to innovate someone has to “stop adding value” by not being billable. There is far too much focus on “today” in professional service firms and not enough on the future – this mentality will continue to hold back firms and do more damage in the long run....Most professional service firms also don’t have a system for driving innovation in an efficient manner so they often waste a great deal of time getting caught up in details that don’t matter. ...Many of the law and accounting firms I worked with were doing very well so they didn’t see a need to innovate. ....Firms are often not good at implementing new services or products, they don’t have a culture that supports, fosters, or encourages innovation, and they are often too smart for their own good and get overly complex with their innovation initiatives......First, a firm’s overall corporate strategy needs to incorporate an element of innovation as one of its top long-term goals. Without a strategic focus and investment in innovation, any efforts will often fall flat as they will be approached loosely or in a silo that eventually gets overtaken by billable work.....Next, get a quick win by surveying or researching your client’s business, their industry, and even their own clients. Looking deeper into your client’s business and understanding their problems and opportunities will help you find ways to add value through a new product or service and will enable your firm to get off on the right foot.....Insights from clients can drive new products, services and systems that will fill a need.
However, professional service firms that are looking for a leap in innovation need to go beyond customer insights and explore future trends, industry experts, and, yes, even patent databases for further stimulus to drive new ideas.
This is the difference between firms that innovate and those that die. If you’re in a professional service firm and believe that there is no threat, quite frankly, you are crazy to think so.
innovation  professional_service_firms  law_firms  quick_wins  accounting  challenges  billable_hours  complacency  disruption  Ryan_Caligiuri  silo_mentality 
october 2015 by jerryking
How Ubernomics can transform Canada’s legal diseconomy - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL MOTALA
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 10, 2015

Technologists from other industries hope Ubernomics is a generalizable business model. This month, the MaRS Discovery District launched LegalX, an industry cluster aimed at promoting local entrepreneurship, driving industry efficiency and pioneering new business models. One of its first startups is a service called LawScout. Like Uber, it offers a simple digital platform aimed at connecting small businesses with local lawyers on a fixed-rate basis. Beagle, another product launched at the event, performs rapid contract analysis using a sophisticated algorithm, while providing a platform for social media-inspired collaboration among decision-making teams....Ubernomics is not a panacea for the legal sector. Rather than disrupt it, it will transform. Big firms are here to stay if they embrace innovation. Digital technologies promise more efficient work flows and higher productivity. The shortcomings of the consensus-driven decision-making structure, exemplified by the fall of Heenan Blaikie, suggests more strategic thinking, stronger leadership and a heavier investment in R&D is needed to make legal work more efficient and cost effective......We live in an absurd legal diseconomy. There is an ever-widening gap between supply and unmet demand. Following the Ontario government's tuition deregulation in 1998, University of Toronto law led the charge, raising tuition by 320 per cent under dean Ron Daniels. Other law schools followed suit and continue to do so. This year, U of T law is unashamed to charge incoming students more than $30,000 a year. Not to be left out, the Law Society of Upper Canada recently doubled its licensing fees. The legal academy is aggravating the access to justice crisis by imposing ever-higher rents on the most vulnerable entrants to the profession. A false and parasitic empiricism has evidently burrowed itself in the minds of our country's greatest legal thinkers.

Ubernomics is not a panacea for the legal sector. Rather than disrupt it, it will transform. Big firms are here to stay if they embrace innovation. Digital technologies promise more efficient work flows and higher productivity. The shortcomings of the consensus-driven decision-making structure, exemplified by the fall of Heenan Blaikie, suggests more strategic thinking, stronger leadership and a heavier investment in R&D is needed to make legal work more efficient and cost effective.........
Businesses like fixed-cost projections. The billable-hour model introduces a lot of uncertainty into the equation. Software such as LawScout is unlikely to undermine the legal industry’s biggest players, but it signals that an economic culture shift lies ahead.
arbitrage  billing  contracts  digital_disruption  disruption  fees_&_commissions  invoicing  law  law_firms  law_schools  lawtech  legal  sharing_economy  start_ups  Uber  unmet_demand  uToronto 
july 2015 by jerryking
New York Prosecutors Hired at Boies Schiller - WSJ
Jan. 12, 2015 | WSJ | By ASHBY JONES.

Can this approach to team hiring be transferred to hiring in IT? What situations make sense for this approach? For Robert Berger...

A firm landing three federal prosecutors from the same office at the same time is highly unusual. But it was, in the words of Mr. Schwartz, “very much a package deal.” Said Mr. Zach: “All three of us wanted to work with people we trust and people we had worked with in the past.”
law_firms  Wall_Street  hiring  teams  David_Boies  carve_outs  package_deals 
january 2015 by jerryking
Risky Business: BLG Sees Cyber Risks Underlining Challenges To Canadian Businesses
December 16, 2014

Borden Ladner Gervais Outlines 2015’s Top 10 Business Risks--Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s predictions for 2015 are decidedly more worrying, as the firm issued a top ten list of business risks. At the top of the list, the firm says, is cybersecurity and the risks businesses face from hackers, data leaks, and social media. Others include risks related to First Nations land claims, anti-corruption enforcement and consumer class actions sparked by an increasing number of product recalls.
cyber_security  data_breaches  risks  cyberrisks  predictions  law_firms  Bay_Street  social_media  resilience  land_claim_settlements  product_recalls  anti-corruption  BLG  class_action_lawsuits 
january 2015 by jerryking
The Data Companies Wish They Had About Customers - WSJ
March 23, 2014 | WSJ | by Max Taves.

We asked companies what data they wish they had—and how they would use it. Here's what they said....
(A) Dining----Graze.com has a huge appetite for data. Every hour, the mail-order snack business digests 15,000 user ratings about its foods, which it uses to better understand what its customers like or dislike and to predict what else they might like to try...more data could help him understand customers' tastes even better. Among the information he wants most is data about customers' dietary habits, such as what they buy at grocery stores, as well as better information about what they look at on Graze's own site. And because the dietary needs of children change rapidly, he'd like to know if his customers have children and, if so, their ages.
(B) Energy-----Energy consumption is among its customers' main concerns, says CEO William Lynch. For instance, the company offers a product giving homeowners the real-time ability to see things like how many kilowatts it takes to heat the hot tub in Jan. Because of privacy concerns, Savant doesn't collect homeowners' energy data. But if the company knew more about customers' energy use, it could help create customized plans to conserve energy. "We could make recommendations on how to set up your thermostat to save a lot of money,
(C) Banking-----the Bank of the West would like "predictive life-event data" about its customers—like graduation, vacation or retirement plans—to create products more relevant to their financial needs...At this point, collecting that breadth of data is a logistical and regulatory challenge, requiring very different sources both inside and outside the bank.
(D) Appliances-----Whirlpool Corp.has a vast reach in American households—but wants to know more about its customers and how they actually use its products. Real-time use data could not only help shape the future designs of Whirlpool products, but also help the company predict when they're likely to fail.
(E) Healthcare----Explorys creates software for health-care companies to store, access and make sense of their data. It holds a huge trove of clinical, financial and operational information—but would like access to data about patients at home, such as their current blood-sugar and oxygen levels, weight, heart rates and respiratory health. Having access to that information could help providers predict things like hospitalizations, missed appointments and readmissions and proactively reach out to patients,
(F) Healthcare----By analyzing patient data, Carolinas HealthCare System of Charlotte, N.C., can predict readmission rates with 80% accuracy,
(G) Law----law firms that specialize in defense work are typically reactive, however some are working towards becoming more proactive, coveting an ability to predict lawsuits—and prevent them.How? By analyzing reams of contracts and looking for common traits and language that often lead to problems.
(H) Defense---BAE Systems PLC invests heavily in protecting itself from cyberattacks. But it says better data from its suppliers could help improve its defenses...if its suppliers get cyberattacked, its own h/w and s/w could be compromised. But "those suppliers are smaller businesses with lesser investments in their security," ...A lack of trust among suppliers, even those that aren't direct competitors, means only a small percentage of them disclose the data showing the cyberattacks on their systems. Sharing that data, he says, would strengthen the security of every product BAE makes. [BAE is expressing recognition of its vulnerability to network risk].
data  data_driven  massive_data_sets  Graze  banking  cyber_security  BAE  law_firms  Whirlpool  genomics  social_data  appliances  sense-making  predictive_analytics  dark_data  insights  customer_insights  real-time  design  failure  cyberattacks  hiring-a-product-to-do-a-specific-job  network_risk  shifting_tastes  self-protection  distrust  supply_chains 
november 2014 by jerryking
Let non-lawyers own law firms: Canadian Bar Association - The Globe and Mail
JEFF GRAY - LAW REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Aug. 14 2014
law  law_firms  future  funding 
august 2014 by jerryking
Bay Street law firm launches legal ‘incubator’ in Halifax
Jul. 02 2014 | The Globe and Mail | JEFF GRAY - LAW REPORTER

Torys says its new Torys Legal Services Centre, due to open this fall, will act for the Bay Street firm’s established corporate clients, performing high-volume, recurring legal work such as reviewing contracts or performing due diligence on corporate deals.
Bay_Street  contracts  cost-cutting  Halifax  law_firms  legal  Torys  product_launches 
july 2014 by jerryking
Toronto legal startup challenging tradition with no-frills fees - The Globe and Mail
JEFF GRAY
- LAW REPORTER


The Globe and Mail

Published
Wednesday, Apr. 16 2014
law_firms  Toronto  Jeff_Gray 
april 2014 by jerryking
SO LONG, BIG LAW / HELLO, NEW LAW
March 28, 2014 | Report on Business Magazine | Alec Scott.
The collapse of Heenan Blaikie was bad news. But what's coming is good news - even for lawyers
Big_Law  Bay_Street  law_firms  disruption  Heenan_Blaikie  dissolutions  Outsourcing  New_Law  Cognition  Axiom  lawyers  bad_news 
march 2014 by jerryking
An Overview for the Fresh Produce Industry of Recall Insurance for Food Safety Events
Insurers writing this coverage include Chartis, XL Insurance, Starr, Crum and Forster, Zurich, Lloyd’s, and Caitlin
fresh_produce  insurance  product_recalls  food_safety  law_firms 
march 2014 by jerryking
Heenan Blaikie lawyers rush to find new homes
JANET McFARLAND

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Feb. 06 2014
Heenan_Blaikie  law_firms  dissolutions  Bay_Street 
february 2014 by jerryking
Storied law firm Heenan Blaikie sunk by a shifting legal landscape - The Globe and Mail
JANET McFARLAND, JEFF GRAY, KATHRYN BLAZE CARLSON AND SEAN FINE

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Feb. 05 2014

National law firm Heenan Blaikie LLP is closing after 40 years in operation, marking the largest failure of a law firm in Canada....An array of problems contributed to its demise, from new pressures on mid-sized law firms to a long decline in major corporate deals and demands from clients for lower billing. Some clients have abandoned traditional loyalty to a single firm and have been using smaller ones that offer deep discounts on routine work.
law_firms  Bay_Street  dissolutions  Heenan_Blaikie  winner-take-all  decline  mid-sized  Jeff_Gray  barbell_effect 
february 2014 by jerryking
Run on the firm may signal Heenan’s demise
BRIAN MILNER
Run on the firm may signal Heenan’s demise Add to ...
Subscribers Only

The Globe and Mail

It’s a fate that awaits other mid-level law firms whose business model is no longer working in a rapidly changing environment. Firms like Heenan Blaikie are being squeezed mercilessly both from above and below – by the heavyweights chasing after business they once ignored as unworthy of their lofty status, and by more nimble specialist firms with lower expenses (including less lavish offices) and cheaper fees.

Like accounting firms and investment banks, law firms are also facing the long-predicted downdrafts emanating from the hollowing out of corporate Canada. As Canadian subsidiaries have ceded greater control to their foreign owners, a chunk of their financial and legal business in Canada has migrated to head offices in other countries.

Published Tuesday, Feb. 04 2014
law_firms  Bay_Street  dissolutions  Heenan_Blaikie  winner-take-all  head_offices  hollowing_out  boutiques  specialists  mid-sized  rapid_change  barbell_effect  Corporate_Canada  mercilessness 
february 2014 by jerryking
Deloitte snaps up legal outsourcing firm - The Globe and Mail
JEFF GRAY
Deloitte snaps up legal outsourcing firm Add to ...
Subscribers Only

The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Jan. 20 2014
Bay_Street  Outsourcing  law_firms  Deloitte  Jeff_Gray 
january 2014 by jerryking
“Entrepreneurial?” Really? | Adam Smith, Esq.
November 7, 2013
Can one really, seriously, be an entrepreneur when an income from several hundred thousand dollars year to up or to way way up, generated by the powerful machinery of the firm one is a partner in, is essentially assured? When one is not remotely putting one’s future livelihood, even for a year or two, on the line? When any personal capital invested will be returned quite promptly and in full, if you bail out? When a painless exit strategy (we’re all elevator assets, remember) is a few phone calls away? When the last Big New Thing that was invented in your chosen industry was the Cravath System ca. 1900—and you’re not dreaming of the 21st Century version 2.0 of the Cravath System in any event? When the number of employees relying on your perspicacity and market savvy for their livelihood is, well, precisely zero?

Or we could approach this from the psychological dimension.

Entrepreneurs are:
* Risk-tropic
Creative
Intuitive
Trusting
Big thinkers, and
Extremely resilient.

Lawyers are:
Risk-averse
Conventional
Judgmental
Skeptical
Detail-oriented, and
Over two standard deviations below the population norm on resilience.
law_firms  entrepreneurship  Bruce_MacEwen  risk-aversion 
december 2013 by jerryking
Masters of an Old Game
October 1994 | Vanity Fair | By Nicholas Lemann

The Richest One Percent. The men who walked the quiet halls of the Eastern Establishment guided the U.S. through industrialization, two World Wars, and much of the Cold War. But now that venerable club is being pushed to the sidelines. Nicholas Lemann considers whether is has lost the field.
The_One_Percent  elitism  Wall_Street  law_firms  investment_banking  Goldman_Sachs 
december 2013 by jerryking
The future of the Firm
September 21st 2013 | The Economist | Schumpeter.

Life is getting tougher for professional-services firms. Midsized consultancies are already suffering: Monitor Group went bankrupt last year—Deloitte later bought it for $120m—and Booz & Co and Roland Berger are agonising about their futures. If the legal profession is anything to go by, worse is to come: Dewey & LeBoeuf collapsed last year after borrowing heavily in a dash for growth, and other elite law firms are struggling to win business....Are McKinsey’s best days behind it? Two new publications offer some interesting answers. “The Firm”, by Duff McDonald, is a generally admiring book that nevertheless asks hard questions about the organisation’s future. “Consulting on the Cusp of Disruption”, by Clayton Christensen and two colleagues, is a penetrating article in the October Harvard Business Review, arguing that the comfortable world of the strategy consultancies is about to be turned upside down....Eden McCallum cuts costs by deploying freelancers, most of whom once worked for the big three. BeyondCore replaces overpriced junior analysts with Big Data, crunching vast amounts of information to identify trends.
McKinsey  capitalism  professional_service_firms  barbell_effect  HBR  Clayton_Christensen  books  BCG  Bain  alumni  management_consulting  mid-sized  law_firms  hard_questions 
november 2013 by jerryking
Checked your demographics lately?
August 30, 2013 | Adam Smith, Esq.| Bruce MacEwen.

So, to all the non-equity partners in the crowd, this is not about you. Rather, what follows is written from the perspective of someone who thinks a lot about the industry’s long run.

One of the strongest indices of organizations’ competitive strength over time is the ability to align and renew itself faster than rivals. As Scott Keller and Colin Price wrote in Beyond Performance: How Great Organizations Build Ultimate Competitive Advantage (Wiley, 2011):

Organizational health is about adapting to the present and shaping the future faster and better than the competition. Healthy organizations don’t merely learn to adjust themselves to their current context or to challenges that lie just ahead; they create a capacity to learn and keep changing over time. This, we believe, is where ultimate competitive advantage lies.

This is about, in a word, people.

We know talent matters, we pay through the nose roof for headhunters to deliver lateral upon lateral, the statistical majority of whom will disappoint, we recruit the “best and the brightest” from law school (the statistical majority of whom, etc.), and yet when it’s time for our organizations to be agile and responsive to changing client expectations and market conditions, we find ourselves throttled. How can this be?

Change—real not superficial, meaningful not trivial, lasting not flavor-of-the-month—requires people to go above and beyond. It’s not comfortable, and comfortable people won’t do it. This is where, I believe, the performance hazard of too many non-equity partners in a firm begins to come in.
law_firms  Bruce_MacEwen  workforce  workforce_planning  partnerships  complacency  change  organizational_effectiveness  organizational_learning  adaptability  learning_agility  books  disappointment  discomforts  competitive_advantage  talent  the_best_and_brightest 
september 2013 by jerryking
Big Law’s Troubling Trajectory - NYTimes.com
By STEVEN J. HARPER
Published: June 24, 2013

big-firm practice has become just another business. Most readers might react to Weil’s staggering partner incomes by asking why $2 million plus a year — or even half that — isn’t enough. It’s a fair question. Ask equity partners in any big firm whether as law students they ever dreamed of making the money they now earn. Anyone answering honestly would give a resounding “No.” College students whose principal career objective was wealth typically headed into business; law school attracted those with different ambitions. After all, the legal profession was supposed to be something special.

Not anymore. Most big firms are now following the leads of their corporate clients, which run businesses with one eye on the current stock price while maximizing quarterly earnings. But that can be an unforgiving world. Weil’s enormous reported profits for 2012 included a downward arrow because they represented an 8 percent drop from 2011, in part because of expensive hires. However unjustified, even a single year of relatively minor decline can create concerns. Cutting costs through layoffs and getting more billable hours out of the survivors has become a typical, businesslike response.

Paradoxically, firms also pursue a growth agenda in the midst of such downsizing. The current demand for high-end legal services is flat, so many firm leaders use high profits to attract rainmakers from elsewhere. The effort to buy top-line revenues by acquiring partners with portable books of business has thrown most big law firms into a lateral hiring frenzy. In that contest, Weil recently lost some talent, but it has acquired even more — recruiting 20 new lateral partners in 2012 and 18 in 2011. (The firm had 195 equity partners at the end of 2012.) Ironically, recent studies demonstrate — and about 40 percent of managing partners admit — that lateral hiring usually is not profitable for the firms that do it. Yet the expensive strategy remains pervasive. The mantra that “bigger must be better” prevails in the face of contrary data.
Big_Law  law_firms  layoffs  winner-take-all  rainmaking 
june 2013 by jerryking
Texas Firm Highlights Struggle for Black Professionals - NYTimes.com
May 27, 2013 | NYT | By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ and
MICHAEL COOPER.

Somewhat lost in the legal arguments over affirmative action are the less tangible, more subtle forces that can determine professional success, more than a dozen black lawyers here, in San Antonio and elsewhere in Texas said in interviews. Social rituals can play a big role in determining who makes it on to the partnership track in the exclusive world of white-shoe firms, and whether those partners can bring in business as rainmakers.

Gerald Roberts, an African-American lawyer who was a partner at Thompson & Knight before leaving in 2010, said that social relationships left some black lawyers at a distance from their white colleagues and potential clients. “For the most part, they don’t go to church together on Sunday enough, they don’t have dinner together enough, and they don’t play enough golf together to develop sufficiently strong relationships of trust and confidence,”
diversity  African-Americans  lawyers  law_firms  law  professional_service_firms  Texas  relationships  rituals  social_exclusion  social_barriers  cultural_signifiers 
may 2013 by jerryking
Law Firms Raise Rates, but Ease Blow With Discounts - WSJ.com
April 9, 2013 | WSJ | By JENNIFER SMITH
On Sale: The $1,150-Per-Hour Lawyer
Lawyer Fees Keep Growing, But Don't Believe Them. Clients Are Demanding, and Getting, Discounts
law_firms  invoicing  fees_&_commissions 
april 2013 by jerryking
Suit Offers a Peek at the Practice of Inflating a Legal Bill - NYTimes.com
March 25, 2013, 3:36 pm 447 Comments
Suit Offers a Peek at the Practice of Inflating a Legal Bill
By PETER LATTMAN
law_firms  invoicing  Big_Law  fees_&_commissions  billing 
march 2013 by jerryking
Boxed In
December 2002 | Report on Business Magazine pg. 23 | by Saleem Khan
videogames  venture_capital  law_firms  digital_media  entertainment_industry 
march 2013 by jerryking
Cravath Hires David Kappos of U.S. Patent Office - NYTimes.com
February 6, 2013 | NYT | Peter Lattman
Cravath Hires 2nd Official From Obama Administration
By PETER LATTMAN
legal_strategies  recruiting  USPTO  law_firms  patent_law  IBM  Cravath 
february 2013 by jerryking
Restructuring Firms Bulk in Asia - WSJ.com
February 5, 2013 | WSJ | By KATHY CHU.

Restructuring firms are being hired by companies or their private-equity firm owners to boost efficiency, sell assets or renegotiate debt in industries from shipping to electronics. Their clients range from homegrown Asian companies like debt-laden Vietnamese shipbuilder Vinashin to troubled Western firms operating in the region, such as software firm Trident Microsystems Inc.....The restructuring industry is in its infancy in Asia, but its services increasingly appeal to companies that "lack quality management and transformational skills, and have rode on the tidal wave of economic growth," says Denis Wang, director of global business studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong's Business School.
growth  restructurings  law_firms  Alvarez_&_Marsal  AlixPartners  Asia_Pacific 
february 2013 by jerryking
Meet Bay St.'s new breed of deal makers
April 4, 2007 | G&M pg. B10 | by Jacquie McNish.

Days after Ottawa's Halloween clampdown on income trusts, a team of Bay Street dealmakers flew to New York to alert a handful of private equity funds to potential Canadian trust takeovers.

Investment bankers pitch deals to ravenous private equity buyers all the time, but this group was unique because they were lawyers.

Canadian firms can no longer be complacent about private equity deals. As traditional Canadian corporate clients fall on the takeover battleground, Canada’s major firms are moving quickly to grab their share of private equity deals.

Some law firms are wooing private equity funds by aggressively promoting deals, while most are starting to share risks by taking fee cuts on unsuccessful takeovers and pocketing fee premiums on deal victories.

A few are so eager to represent the powerful acquirers that a single firm will act for multiple buyers vying for the same target.

The deal frenzy is shifting legal M&A away from long-term relationships to a more transaction-oriented practice that is seeing firms hop in and out of deals with an ever-changing group of buyers and sellers.

Stephen Donovan, co-head of Torys’ Private Equity Group, adds, "It is no longer enough to just know the law. There is a much more deliberate effort to bring deals to clients."
deal-making  dealmakers  lawyers  law_firms  Bay_Street  private_equity  prospectuses  complacency  crossborder  M&A  risk-sharing  transactions  relationships  transactional_relationships  rescue_investing  pitches  proactivity  entrepreneurial  opportunistic 
january 2013 by jerryking
Bay Street’s big legal firms turn to outsourcing - The Globe and Mail
JEFF GRAY - LAW REPORTER

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Sep. 26 2012
Bay_Street  law_firms  Outsourcing 
september 2012 by jerryking
Freshfields Focuses on Global Strategy to Get an Edge Over Rivals - NYTimes.com
September 24, 2012, 3:02 pmComment
Evolving Global Strategy Gives Law Firm an Edge
By MARK SCOTT
law_firms  globalization  Big_Law  Freshfields 
september 2012 by jerryking
Big Law Steps Into Uncertain Times - NYTimes.com
September 24, 2012, 5:20 pm17 Comments
Big Law Steps Into Uncertain Times
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
law_firms  Big_Law 
september 2012 by jerryking
With Smartphone Deals, Patents Become a New Asset Class - NYTimes.com
September 24, 2012, 1:21 pm4 Comments
With Smartphone Deals, Patents Become a New Asset Class
By STEVE LOHR

patents have become a new asset class.

Traditionally, patents sat on corporate shelves and were occasionally used as bargaining chips in cross-licensing deals with competitors. But that began to change in the 1990s, when technology companies like Texas Instruments and I.B.M. started to regard their patent portfolios as sources of revenue, licensing their intellectual property for fees.

Today, companies routinely buy and sell patents, mostly in deals that draw little attention, for millions of dollars instead of billions. The question, experts say, is how big the market will become.

“Patents are a tricky asset to trade,” said Josh Lerner, an economist at the Harvard Business School. “But there is clearly a huge amount of value in intellectual property. And I think what we’re seeing is the beginning of a lot more monetization and trading of intellectual property rights.”

A sizable specialist industry has developed to build the marketplace for trading ideas. The players include patent aggregators like Intellectual Ventures and RPX, patent brokers like Ocean Tomo and ICAP, hedge funds, investment banks and law firms.
smartphones  patents  intellectual_property  law_firms  asset_classes  Steve_Lohr  valuations  Ocean_Tomo  markets  monetization  portfolio_management  cross-licensing 
september 2012 by jerryking
How Apple Got Its Case Across - WSJ.com
August 26, 2012 | WSJ | By JENNIFER SMITH and STEVE EDER.
Lawyers Presented a Clear Story Line for Technology Giant; Samsung Argument Was Harder to Explain.
Apple  patent_law  law_firms  lawyers  Samsung 
august 2012 by jerryking
Advice from the Corner Office: Use Google; Avoid Grammar Gaffes - Law Blog - WSJ
May 30, 2008 | WSJ | By Jamie Heller.

Read Justice Scalia’s New Book on Advocacy: It’s “important and entirely accurate” says Berry. Among the points that stood out to Berry: Write well. It’s okay, for example, to use synonyms in briefs, within limits, though the same rule wouldn’t apply with contracts.

Get Yourself Smart on a Subject, Fast: When they get assignments, he says, self starters “contextualize” the issue by “Googling stuff for fifteen minutes.” Lexis and Westlaw, he says, are fine for focusing on a point of law. But the peripheral vision provided by a Web search is also invaluable. It can yield relevant law journal articles, blog posts, plaintiffs’ lawyers sites, law-firm newsletters and the like.

Make Grammatical Mistakes and Typos at Your Peril: “Do not ever for the second time give your senior a piece of writing with a typo or a grammatical mistake,” says Berry. “I will take it once and I will tell the junior my set speech.” But if it happens again? Well, find out for yourself.
What is Berry’s set speech? A lawyer’s job is “to force the reader’s mind in a direction, to move a mind forward through the ideas.” A grammatical error or typo “derails the train of thought.”
grammar  Google  CEOs  writing  spelling  lawyers  law_firms  advice  new_graduates  perspectives  contextual  individual_initiative  self-starters  LexisNexis  Westlaw 
june 2012 by jerryking
Product Recalls
Posted on August 29, 2007 | Insurance Scrawl | posted by Marc Mayerson.

Policies today routinely seek to exclude the cost of product-recall expense, which can be staggering and life-threatening to a company — both in terms of cost and perhaps more importantly in reputation of the producer.
blogs  law_firms  product_recalls  Mattel  toys  China  insurance  reputation 
june 2012 by jerryking
Dewey’s Collapse Underscores a New Reality for Law Firms - Common Sense - NYTimes.com
May 4, 2012 | NYT | By JAMES B. STEWART. “This absolutely falls into the category: What were they thinking?” Bruce MacEwen, a lawyer and president of Adam Smith Esq. and an expert on law firm economics, told me this week, as Dewey suffered a new wave of partner defections and the firm’s accelerating collapse appeared unstoppable. “This was
Mismanagement 101 across the board. They had a ringside seat for the collapse of Lehman and Bear Stearns. But they had the same mismatch of assets and liabilities. They took on a massive amount of long-term debt, but their assets are short term: they walk out of the firm every day and may not come back, which is what more and more of them did.”....Mr. MacEwen was inclined to agree. “I’ve been struggling with the degree to which Dewey is a lesson for other firms,” he said. “Everything they did was so extreme and so ill advised. But part of me has to admit that the dynamics of the practice, the eat-what-you-kill remuneration model, makes a law firm inherently fragile. And part of the lesson of Dewey is that if you put practices in place, like the guarantees, that corrode culture, then you’re playing with fire.”
Bruce_MacEwen  cultural_corrosion  dissolutions  eat_what_you_kill  fragility  law_firms  lessons_learned  mismanagement  organizational_culture  professional_service_firms 
may 2012 by jerryking
Economic Conditions-Economic trends-legal profession-lawyers-prestige-doctors - New York Times
January 6, 2008 | NYT | By ALEX WILLIAMS.

“The older professions are great, they’re wonderful,” said Richard Florida, the author of “The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life” (Basic Books, 2003). “But they’ve lost their allure, their status. And it isn’t about money.”

OR at least, it is not all about money. The pay is still good (sometimes very good), and the in-laws aren’t exactly complaining. Still, something is missing, say many doctors, lawyers and career experts: the old sense of purpose, of respect, of living at the center of American society and embodying its definition of “success.”

In a culture that prizes risk and outsize reward — where professional heroes are college dropouts with billion-dollar Web sites — some doctors and lawyers feel they have slipped a notch in social status, drifting toward the safe-and-staid realm of dentists and accountants. It’s not just because the professions have changed, but also because the standards of what makes a prestigious career have changed.

This decline, Mr. Florida argued, is rooted in a broader shift in definitions of success, essentially, a realignment of the pillars. Especially among young people, professional status is now inextricably linked to ideas of flexibility and creativity, concepts alien to seemingly everyone but art students even a generation ago.
career_paths  Managing_Your_Career  law  law_firms  Richard_Florida  hedge_funds  private_equity  movingonup  meritocratic  professional_education  young_people 
march 2012 by jerryking
Law Firms Pursue Growth by Poaching - WSJ.com
JANUARY 31, 2012 |WSJ |By JENNIFER SMITH

Law Firms Pursue Growth by Poaching in Tough Climate

Other firms aren't bashful about their goals. "We look for superstars," said John Quinn, managing partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, which recently lured trial lawyer Bill Burck from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. "Our approach is sort of like the NFL draft."

Weil executive partner Barry M. Wolf said his firm hired 18 lateral partners last year, expanding several practice groups.
law_firms  lawyers  talent  talent_management  war_for_talent  poaching  superstars 
march 2012 by jerryking
Competitive Pressures Fuel - WSJ.com
JANUARY 20, 2012 | WSJ | By JENNIFER SMITH.
Stark Choice for Lawyers— Firms Must Merge or Die
law_firms  mergers_&_acquisitions 
january 2012 by jerryking
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