Will Generative AI destroy law firms? Jordan Furlong argues this may only occur if lawyers are too fixed in their ways to see the possibilities that lie beyond who we’ve always been and what we’ve always done.
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.
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.
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.
The premise of this article by COO and legal technologist Kenneth Jones is that individual capabilities and excellence (either legal or technical) standing alone are not enough to ensure long-term, sustainable success. No superstar technologist or lawyer is equipped to do it all, as there are too many specialties and functional roles which need to be filled. Rather, a better approach is to construct team-based, cross-functional units that offer greater operational efficiency while building in layers of redundancy that reduce the potential for surprises, errors, or disruption. This comprehensive and actionable guide validates deploying the cross-functional team approach across the enterprise.
Patrick J. McKenna, an internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms discusses why and how strong leaders should voluntarily initiate their own performance feedback. McKenna’s detailed and actionable guide identifies the enormous benefits of doing so.
Patrick J. McKenna is an internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms. McKenna’s deep dive into law firm strategic planning delivers a detailed guide on the major errors to circumvent to establish a winning competitive position going forward.
Professor Libby Sander explains why as a case study in how to implement organisational change, Elon Musk’s actions at Twitter will go down as the gold standard in what not to do. Among other things, the evidence shows successful organisational change requires: a clear, compelling vision that is communicated effectively; employee participation; and fairness in the way change is implemented. Trust in leaders is also crucial. Change management never quite goes to plan. It’s hard to figure out whether Musk even has a plan at all.
Patrick J. McKenna is a highly respected lecturer, strategist and advisor to law firms. McKenna’s experience has taught him that the best performing teams have discovered to operate effectively they need to formalize what they should specifically be able to expect of each other as members. He calls these expectations the group’s ‘Rules of Engagement’, and in this article he articulates that to be effective, these rules of engagement must be clear, consistent, agreed to and followed. A challenging endeavor in any workplace, but critical to high performing and innovative law firms.
Jim Calloway is the Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program. He informs us about the range of legal services delivered by what have been designated as “primary-care lawyers.” From Calloway’s perspective, there is people law, and there is business/corporate law. Over the years, there has been a greater divergence in these two types of law practice focuses. He makes the case that increasingly, these are completely different types of law practices, with different types of challenges and processes. Calloway believes this is not only true but profound. He views it as profound because consideration of the differences should inform and impact the method of legal service delivery depending on the type of client.