Category «Leadership»

Dissecting The Processes of Law Firm Strategic Planning

We have been informed that 49% of law firm leaders indicate “strategic planning is more important than ever.” Another 20% say it is tremendously important. Law firms have more money at risk than ever before. They have more attorneys in their firms to communicate with. And – they are looking at bigger markets along with a multitude of new ones. Meanwhile, the world is awash in geopolitical risk. Strategic planning brings all this together by evaluating risk and opportunity – the plan itself defines what a law firm will and won’t do. The strategic path brings about the most informed and thoughtful decisions – and with the amount of money at stake – no firm deserves less. Such is the world of law firms and their strategic planning efforts as identified in a survey we just distributed to over 200 large North American law firms. This survey defines where these law firms are in their strategic planning process and where they are headed. Patrick J. McKenna and Michael B. Rynowecer canvassed and received detailed feedback from firm leaders, all from firms of over 100 lawyers in size, on their specific approach to strategic planning and their responses to 16 sequential questions covering everything from who was involved in developing their current strategic plan and how long it took, to how satisfied they were and the one thing they would change with respect to their efforts going into the future.

Subjects: Leadership, Legal Marketing

Toward a durable, dictator-proof Washington Post

David H. Rothman’s timely, outside the box commentary addresses the growing wave of news outlets abruptly closing down their websites, laying off staff, and in some cases, eliminating access to their respective archives. Rothman proposes an alternative to “how do I charge them enough” to stem the tide of closures, an avenue he prompts billionaire Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, to consider. A good-sized trust or corporate equivalent would enable the Washington Post to be run as a sustainable enterprise in the public interest, rather than as a mere profit generator.

Subjects: Civil Liberties, Economy, Ethics, Free Speech, Freedom of Information, KM, Leadership, Management, Social Media, Technology Trends

The 2024 ‘Burning Issues’ Confronting Firm Leaders

At the end of December 2023, Patrick J, Mckeena and Michael B. Rynowecer presented 200 Firm Leaders with a selection of over 40 timely and potential ‘Burning Issues’ – and asked of them “what do you anticipate as the highest priorities occupying your leadership agenda going into the new year?” The team received responses representing firms from 200 to over 2000 lawyers in size. This paper distinguishes the challenging issues for firms in 2024.

Subjects: AI, Communication Skills, Leadership, Legal Marketing, Legal Profession, Management

Jan. 6 was an example of networked incitement

The shocking events of Jan. 6, 2021, signaled a major break from the nonviolent rallies that categorized most major protests over the past few decades. What set Jan. 6 apart was the president of the United States using his cellphone to direct an attack on the Capitol, and those who stormed the Capitol being wired and ready for insurrection. Joan Donovan and her co-authors, a media and disinformation scholar, call this networked incitement: influential figures inciting large-scale political violence via social media. Networked incitement involves insurgents communicating across multiple platforms to command and coordinate mobilized social movements in the moment of action.

Subjects: Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Government Contracts, Leadership, Legal Research, Social Media, Terrorism, United States Law

The Motivation of Manipulating Data and Information to a Desired Outcome

Some recent headlines have reported disturbing news about respected and respectable scholars falsifying or just ignoring data conclusions in scholarly papers. This is another example of the skepticism many of us have with the shifts in misinformation flooding our inboxes and newsfeeds, compelling each of us to exercise our critical thinking skills. And the examples we’re referring to aren’t even results of AI. It is human error, strong bias at play, or manipulative intention for one purpose or another. This leads us to another topic in our continuing explorations of human motivation. Why do we lie? Why do we cheat? Kevin Novak takes a deeper dive on this discussion about the issues and the people and actions that have been in the news recently.

Subjects: Business Research, Communication Skills, Competitive Intelligence, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, KM, Leadership, Social Media

Brevity is the Soul of Profit: What Lawyers Need to Know About Executive Summaries

Elizabeth Southerland writes that Jerry Lawson’s essay Plain English for Lawyers: The Way to a C-Level Executive’s Heart has some good ideas about the best ways to communicate with senior executives. However, there is a key imperative that is not addressed: The purpose of an executive summary is to boil this down to a few sentences that tell the leader what they want to know.

Subjects: Communication Skills, Communications, KM, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management

Examining The Inner Workings of Law Firm Leadership

We all know that the law firm leader’s job is unlike any other in the firm. One way of envisioning its multiple responsibilities is to map them by the constituencies one must address. Today’s leader must be an ambassador to the outside world as well as chief cheerleader, challenger of the status quo, and an implementer of their partners’ collective aspirations within the firm. Patrick J. McKenna, McKenna Associates Inc., together with Michael Rynowecer, President of The BTI Consulting Group, distributed a survey containing over 35 questions to a group of some 250 law firm leaders. Their data uncovered some surprising and insightful findings. For example, they found that for 56% of today’s firm leaders, irrespective of firm size, this is a full-time commitment; with a total of 81% reporting that they “perceive the challenges that they face as being far more complex than a few years back” and 13% even freely admitting they were, “almost overwhelming at times.” Perhaps surprising to some, it is not an exaggeration to state that we have leaders of America’s largest firms managing hundred-million to billion dollar businesses, all too often thrust into the role with 67% of them having no clear job description and one in five reporting it to be a “pretty much sink or swim” exercise. Ironically, having served as an office managing partner, or even as a practice or industry group leader seemed to have absolutely minimal value in preparing one for taking on the responsibility of being leader of the entire firm.

Subjects: Leadership, Legal Marketing, Management, Team Building

Imagine there’s no partners. And no associates, too.

Jordan Furlong, Legal Sector Analyst and Forecaster, presents an engaging and actionable plan for figuring out how law firms are going to work in future. Furlong states this will occupy countless partnership meetings, conference agendas, and consulting engagements all over the legal industry throughout the next several years. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers — nobody else does, either he says. We’re all just getting started. What he suggest though is that figuring out what law firms are going to become requires first letting go of what they used to be. A good start towards accomplishing that would be to abandon the antiquated titles and categories into which we’ve been cramming law firm personnel for the last hundred years.

Subjects: AI, KM, Leadership, Legal Marketing, Legal Profession, Management