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#746 – Sunday, December 13, 2015
2015 Year End Review
often asked about my consulting practice, what kinds of assignments I get
called in on, for what sized firms; what I’m currently researching and writing
about, and just generally how I spend my professional time. As always, at
this time of the year, I looked back over my various activities. With
some of these items (like clients served) activity is not a sufficient measure;
results and the client’s satisfaction are really what counts (and to that end,
you can find over 100 client testimonials and endorsements throughout this web
site). But for purposes of looking at where one’s time is invested, here
is what my 2015 looked like:
/ FIRMS SERVED
International (Europe & Asia)
Nature of Assignments:
developing / implementing strategic plans
governance and leadership issues
client relations and marketing counsel
Firm Size Range:
firms of over 500 attorneys
firms of 300 to 500 attorneys
firms of 100 to 300 attorneys
8% corporate legal departments
Participated in presenting at 2 Webinars
Group Leadership 2.0 (June)
For Overcoming Obstacles To Change (December)
Participated in 5 Conferences, Workshops & MasterClasses
– First 100
Days Masterclass (Atlanta in January)
Chaired Managing Partners
Panel Discussion – Compensation Think Tank (San Francisco in February)
Chaired Managing Partners
Panel Discussion – ALA Conference (Nashville in May)
– Practice Group Leaders Workshop (Chicago in August)
– Growth Strategies Conference (Chicago in November)
to 2 New Books:
Changing of The Guard: Selecting Your Next Firm Leader
Vision: The Future of Legal Services
(contributed two chapters)
Authored or Contributed to 40 Articles in Publications including:
Bar Association Journal
of Corporate Executive Coaches
BigLaw Business (bol.bna.com)
Law Firm Leaders Newsletter
Business Review Magazine
Partner Magazine [UK]
Counsel – Legal Practice and Management Report
Reuters Managing Partner Newsletter
Two new issues (Spring & Fall) of my INTERNATIONAL REVIEW 24-page glossy
magazine were produced and distributed to 1800 firm leaders.
Wrote and posted 22 different articles covering leadership and strategy issues
on my LinkedIn site with 10 generating over 500 reads and 5 over 1000 readers.
Appointed as a Special Advisor to
the Board of Jackson Lewis (the first quasi-NED in an AmLaw 100 law firm).
to Firm Chairman, Vincent A. Cino, “Patrick’s addition will introduce an
external business voice to our Board’s discussions, and is aligned with Jackson
Lewis’ mission to provide best in class legal services in the most efficient,
Lewis represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation
with over 800 attorneys in 55 offices throughout the United States and is
ranked as a Global 100 law firm.
Appointed as Honorary Fellow: Leaders Excellence of Harvard Square
honorary fellowship designation recognizes exceptional achievement and
contributions within an individual’s professional field. Leaders Excellence is
a community of leading academics and practitioners who specialize in leadership
and collaborate to share their thinking, research and experiences. To preserve
the integrity and exclusivity of the network, membership is offered on an
invitation-or qualification-only basis.
Appointed to the Advisory Board of Premonition Analytics.
is a powerful, proprietary AI technology that both sources and mines legal big
data, such as court records domestically and internationally allowing consumers
of legal services to answer commercially critical questions, such as which
lawyers usually win before which judges (read: likely case outcome).
I was invited to become a regular Thought Leadership Columnist &
Contributor to the Legal Executive Institute - http://legalexecutiveinstitute.com
Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute brings together people from across
the legal industry to ignite conversation and debate, make sense of the latest
events and trends, and provide guidance as you confront the opportunities and
challenges that these changes present.
Increased the size of my Linkedin site – Law Firm Leaders – to more than
Firm Leaders is the ONLY social networking site exclusively for the chairs and
managing partners of firms of over 100 lawyers in size - with 62% representing
leaders from firms of 100 to 300 lawyers; 16% from firms of 300 to 500 lawyers
and another 19% coming from firms of over 500 attorneys.
Have now received over 140 “UNSOLICITED” LinkedIn Endorsements for my strategic
expertise from firm leaders and senior professionals in major firms
& Overy (Europe); Baker & McKenzie (Asia); Barnes & Thornburg; Dickinson
Baker Daniels; Fasken Martineau (Canada); Fragomen Del Ray; Gordon & Rees;
Gowlings (Canada); Jackson Lewis; Kutak
(Europe); Mayer Brown; Miller Canfield; NautaDutilh (Europe); Nelson Mullins;
Shook Hardy & Bacon; Skadden
Arps; Thompson & Knight; and Wyatt Tarrant
all of my valued clients, colleagues and friends, I want to say thank you for
allowing me to spend time with you; for your confidence, your commitment and
your fellowship. I wish you and your
families the very best in 2016.
Post #745 – Wednesday, November
Strategies For Overcoming Obstacles To Change
Join me at my upcoming
Webinar where we will be discussing how to effectively promote change within your firm—transforming best intentions into best practices. I will be joined by three distinguished presenters:
David Morley, Senior Partner, Allen
& Overy LLP. David
is Allen & Overy's worldwide Senior Partner, a role akin to Executive
Chairman. He was elected worldwide Managing Partner, a role akin to CEO, in May
2003, elected worldwide Senior Partner in 2008 and re-elected for a further
four year term in 2012.
David J. Parnell, Legal Search &
Placement, ABA Author, Speaker, and Forbes and American Lawyer Media Columnist. Prior to founding his own lateral placement
firm, David worked in-house with the likes of Intel, Xircom, and DreamWorks
Maurice A. Watson, Chairman, Husch
Blackwell LLP. Maurice
became Chairman of Husch Blackwell in 2012. In this role, he is responsible for
developing and communicating the firm’s strategic direction and ensuring that
its policies and culture align with this direction.
This one-hour web-based discussion is designed to help you refine your change
leadership approach – so when the need for a change is acknowledged, and
everyone's running around wondering how best to approach it, you can guide your
partners around the pitfalls and transform your best intentions into best
webinar is focused on how to instigate change in a law firm setting and is
designed to focus your attention on specific change or renewal issues, like:
why many lawyers find change to be so difficult;
understanding the hurdles to bringing about change;
what definitely does not work in introducing change;
developing a sense of urgency that gets partner’s attention;
some approaches that firm leaders have found to be effective; and
fitting your leadership style to the challenge.
Click HERE for
more information and to register
Post #744 - Thursday,
October 15, 2015
First quasi-NED of a U.S. Law Firm
Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country's
preeminent workplace law firms, is pleased to announce internationally renowned
legal strategist Patrick J. McKenna has been appointed Advisor to the Board,
where he will meet regularly with Jackson Lewis' Board of Directors to provide
confidential counsel and advice.
Lewis is thriving, in part due to our role in introducing business of law
innovations such as alternative fee arrangements and our move away from the
billable hour as an evaluative measure for associates," said Firm Chairman Vincent A. Cino. "We want to make sure
we continue to thrive. For many years I have been a proponent of operating a
law firm in the most client-centric and business-like manner. Patrick's
addition will introduce an external business voice to our Board's discussions,
and is aligned with Jackson Lewis's mission to provide best in class legal
services in the most efficient, strategic manner."
old methods of managing a law firm are no longer sufficient to address the
magnitude of changes the legal community must regularly address," added
Cino. "We have watched as law firms in Europe and Australia have brought
outside expertise to their boards by way of Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) and
while we are not yet able to follow that precise model in the U.S., we are
pleased to again stay ahead of the curve by adding this outside voice to our
McKenna, who brings with him over thirty years of extensive experience
consulting to law firms on an international scale, is an author, lecturer,
strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier professional service
firms, having served at least one of the largest law firms in over a dozen
different countries. He has authored eight books - most notably the
international business best seller, First Among Equals. Mr. McKenna has
been recognized by Lawdragon as "one of the most trusted names in legal
consulting," and his three decades of experience led to being the subject
of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: "Innovations In Legal Consulting."
firms today are experiencing intense competitive pressure, encouraging those
with vision to seek meaningful ways to differentiate themselves from the pack,"
said Mr. McKenna. "My research suggests adding outside expertise to a law
firm's governing body brings wider business experience and thinking to the
firm, and contributes to clients viewing the law firm as more likely to operate
with a greater awareness of prudent business practices than its peers.
Jackson Lewis is saying 'we are different and we are going to manage
differently' and I am extremely proud to be a part of their innovative
About Jackson Lewis
in 1958, Jackson Lewis is dedicated to representing management exclusively in
workplace law. With 800 attorneys
practicing in major locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Jackson
Lewis is included in the AmLaw 100 and Global 100 rankings of law firms. The firm's wide range of specialized areas of
practice provides the resources to address every aspect of the
employer/employee relationship. Jackson
Lewis is a leader in educating employers about the laws of equal opportunity
and, as a firm, understands the importance of having a workforce that reflects
the various communities it serves. Jackson
Lewis is a founding member of L&E Global Employers' Counsel Worldwide, an alliance of premier
employment law firms and practices in Europe, North America and the Asia
Post #743 – Thursday,
October 8, 2015
Join Me at The
Conference on Growth Strategies
What are the implications of a shift from
unfettered growth to a market share battle? Until recently, many law firms kept doing the
same things, the same way, with the same people – as if immune to economic
pressures (while expecting ever-increasing rates to be accepted by the firm’s
After the financial reset of 2008/2009, a lot
of legal work (that would otherwise have gone to outside counsel) started
staying in-house, with clients intent on keeping it there. Clients are clearly
doing more work in-house, while law firms compete for the same (or diminishing)
In today's hyper-competitive legal market,
the best way for law firms to grow their business is at another law firm’s
expense (taking market share away from competing firms and practices).
Some firms are set on buying market share,
acquiring firms with the practices (and talent) they need to drive their
strategic growth plans. While other firms have begun marketing with a
laser-like focus in to market segments where they have a differentiating
Ark Group’s Client Growth Strategies for
Legal Services will showcase a client-centric approach to winning &
retaining business. Attendees will learn about law firm client service
approaches, models and measures that industry leaders are employing to better
serve their clients, enable stronger relationships, and provide a platform for
differentiation and growth.
For my part I will be presenting on the topic
of: Strategic Planning For Practice
For More Information and to Register - Click Here
Post #742 – Tuesday,
September 8, 2015
The Fall 2015 Issue of International Review
Is Now Available
INTERNATIONAL REVIEW is my 24-page glossy, printed
magazine distributed to over 1600 law firm chairs and managing partners
throughout North America.
start with some prescriptive counsel on how your industry groups need to better
Industry Dynamics in order to be successful, and then continue with a
reminder of how you need to Schedule Time For Strategic Thinking
as it could arguably be the most important activity in your leadership role.
I have never been a fan of “branding” and watched over the years as numerous
law firms have wasted incredible monetary resources in various expensive
advertising experiments, I am nevertheless going to stick my neck out and
suggest that The Value In Developing A Leadership Brand is there for every
firm leader to employ.
Pages 12 and 13 are
intended to introduce you to my newest work, The Changing of The Guard:
Selecting Your Next Firm Leader, and How New Managing Partners Can
Avoid Being Blindsided is a related one-on-one interview with the
Editor of Managing Partner Magazine.
How Effective Leaders Delegate has its origins in a survey that I send out
to new managing partners, after their First 100 Days (see back cover) inquiring
about their most unexpected challenges and the last piece, Why Law Firms Need Non-Executive
Directors is included to provoke your thinking about a trend that has
been paying dividends for UK and Australian law firms for a few years now.
As always, I sincerely hope that you find some practical
ideas, tips and techniques here that you can put to use immediately.
Please send me your observations, critiques, comments and suggestions with
respect to any of these articles.
Click on the Cover to download your complimentary PDF copy of
Post #741 – Tuesday,
September 1, 2015
2020 Vision: The Future of Legal Services
I’m pleased to have
contributed two separate chapters to this new 116-page Ark report designed to help law firm leaders assess the lay of the legal
landscape, prepare for foreseeable change, and above all to position themselves
so that they are ready to respond to the unseen challenges and opportunities
Wind back the clock 20 years or so to when law
firms held all the cards. At that time,
clients paid an hourly rate with few complaints, allowing firms to work as they
chose, and those clients were loyal. Lawyers specialized right out of law
school, and were prepared to work round the clock for a shot at the brass ring
of partnership. What is now known as the “traditional” law firm business model
was then the only one, and that model made money. In the decade leading up to
the economic downturn, revenues in the legal sector grew steadily every year.
All that has changed.
Now, firms are operating in a “buyers” market,
with non-traditional competitors and new technologies encroaching on what was
once the sole province of traditional firms; endemic overcapacity threatens
those firms’ profitability; and clients spread available work across a variety
of providers – or keep it in house. Moreover, a new generation of “millennial”
lawyers is now well established in the profession – and they have very
different expectations about working styles, workplace culture, and job
For better or worse, the legal industry has
changed radically over the past two decades – arguably more so than it had done
in the previous century. What is more, the pace of change continues to
accelerate as new technologies develop, and client businesses – already ahead
of their law firms when it comes to embracing technology and streamlining processes – demand certain efficiencies as a
prerequisite for sending work a law firm’s way. The speed of evolution is such
that, looking just five years into the future, we can predict even more major
changes for law firms.
In this fast-moving, competitive, increasingly
varied environment, only the most agile firms – those able to respond rapidly
to future trends – are likely to succeed. 2020 Vision: The Future of Legal
Services brings together the advice of leading industry practitioners and
consultants who scan the legal horizon for indicators of change, offer their
predictions, and share experience and practical guidance to help law firm
leaders prepare for what is coming up next.
For more information
on this publication - click here
Post #740 – Tuesday,
August 18, 2015
A Lucrative Industry
There are 10,000 baby boomers turning
65 every day -- and every day for the next 14 years. Older people are heavier users of hospitals,
as you'd expect. But there's a certain subset that's
growing faster than full-service hospitals: ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).
These facilities focus on same-day
surgical care. So they'd do laparoscopic surgery on your knee, but not
ASCs are a $35 billion fast-growing
industry. The trend is toward more
outpatient procedures at ASCs. Twenty
years ago, 30% of all surgeries were outpatient. Today it's 70%.
A well-run business in this sector
prints money. For any procedure, there
are three fees for the patient. There is
a fee paid to the physician, billed by physician. There is an anesthesiology fee, billed by the
anesthesia provider. And there is a
facility fee for use of the facility. It's that last fee an ASC collects, paid by
the patient's insurer. And it's
high-margin. A foot operation can cost
as little as $1,000, but the ASC collects as much as $20,000.
To really understand what I’m talking
about in this post, read my article: Understanding Industry Dynamics wherein I
make the point amongst a number of others, that there is no such thing as a
Health Care lawyer.
Post #739 – Friday, July 24, 2015
Some of My Most Recent Articles
I have written and published a number of articles recently, some of which may not appear on my website. Should you have an interest in any of these titles and wish to obtain a copy of the article, please feel free to send me a note – email@example.com
Firm Strategy: Understanding Industry Dynamics [Part One] - article
Bloomberg BigLaw Business (bol.bna.com) - July 2015
When Is A Partner Not A Partner? - article contribution
BeatonCapital.com [Australia] - July 2015
Strategic Accountability - co-authored article
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - July 2015
Admitting You're Wrong - co-authored article
American Lawyer magazine - June 2015
Where Do You Spend Your Leadership Time? - Thought Leadership Column
Law Practice Management, Legal Executive Institute - June 2015
A Response to Harvard Study on Collaboration - article
Bloomberg BigLaw Business (bol.bna.com) - June 2015
4 Ways You Can Become Your Client's Favorite Firm - interview contribution
Law360.com - June 2015
The Leadership Succession Process: Identifying, Developing, Electing - article
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - June 2015
Succession Strategies - a critique of my Changing Of The Guard book
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - June 2015
Mistakes To Avoid As A New Firm Leader - Thought Leadership Column
Law Practice Management, Legal Executive Institute - May 2015
Breaking Down Barriers to Collaboration - commentary
Harvard Business Review - May 2015
Patrick McKenna On How New Managing Partners Can Avoid Being Blindsided - Feature Interview
Managing Partner Magazine [UK] - May 2015
Why Law Firms Need Non-Executive Direcotrs - Thought Leadership Column
Law Firm Management, Legal Executive Institute - May 2015
A Key Performance Issue - article
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - May 2015
Going All In On Industry Group Model - interview contribution
Of Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - May 2015
Post #738 – Friday, July 3, 2015
Firm Facing A Leadership Transition?
Do these sound like some of the questions that all new Firm
Leaders are likely to be asking themselves:
• Am I really clear on the reasons why I accepted this position?
• How can I be sure that I have correctly understood what is
expected of me?
• Which tasks should be a priority and which can be put on hold?
• Who am I going to meet with first and what am I going to say?
• Have I defined the challenges facing my firm and determined an
approach to dealing with them?
• When can I begin to introduce change and what is my
initial plan of action?
• How do I make sure that I have the support I need from the
If you are (or know of a firm that is) facing a firm leadership
transition or even introducing a new office managing partner taking charge of a
larger office, please have a look at www.first100daysmasterclass.com.
The next program is scheduled for Thursday, August 13, 2015, at
Gleacher Center, the University of Chicago, and we are now accepting
registrations. Have a look at the day's agenda, the faculty, the testimonials,
and extensive course materials, the follow-up support and your total
Thus far, over 70 firm chairs and managing partners have
experienced and can attest to the value and benefits of the program--including
leaders from notable AmLaw 100 and AmLaw200 law firms. In fact, we received
these gracious comments from a couple of those attending our First 100 Days
"I was struck by the synthesis of the issues you presented.
It was amazingly clear and comprehensive, given the breadth of the topic and
the short time available. I was delighted to attend the event and I learned a
lot from it."
Hugh Verrier, Chairman - WHITE & CASE
"The First 100 Days Master Class was concise and
insightful. I quickly learned the difference between being a practitioner and a
Firm Leader. I was thoroughly impressed with the scope of the topics
ONE YEAR LATER - "I continually refer to that one-day class
as the best thing I did to prepare for my new role."
Vincent A. Cino, Chairman - JACKSON LEWIS
Few experiences can be as overwhelming as taking on the firm
leadership role for the first time. We repeatedly hear about how everything
changes in unexpected ways. It is not about shifting from being an office head
or member of the executive committee to the next rung on some leadership
ladder; it's a quantum leap into a new reality. Brand new Firm Leaders need all
of the practical, impartial, and time-tested advice they can get.
Post # 737 – Thursday, June
New Book Offers Practical, Insightful Advice on
I am indebted to Steve
Taylor for his gracious review of my latest work. Here is an excerpt:
J. McKenna’s latest book, The Changing of the Guard: Selecting Your Next Firm
Leader, may be the most comprehensive text on law firm succession ever
written, covering every priority from choosing a nominating committee to
defining leadership criteria.
worth highlighting some points that McKenna makes in his thorough and
informative guidebook—and that’s really what it is: a succession bible. He really covers all the bases, from
selecting a nominating committee with the right composition and setting
selection criteria for the next leader, to developing and implementing a
transition and integration plan to usher out the former chair or managing
partner gracefully and usher in the new one.
And, he offers guidance on all of the many steps in between.
biggest value of The Changing of the Guard is the way it helps show how
best to pass the leadership baton. To use another metaphor, it serves as a beacon
to navigating through the rocky waters of succession planning.
from Critique written by: Stephen T. Taylor, Senior Editor
Counsel, The Legal Practice and Management Report - Vol.34
• No. 6 • June 2015
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