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.
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.
Ron Friedman’s extensively documented article reports on the survey to support the 2020 Strategic Knowledge + Innovation Legal Leaders’ Summit, which took place in early February 2020. The Summit is a meeting of about 65 senior knowledge management professionals from large US, UK, and Canadian law firms. The depth and breath of actionable information and data shared in this article makes it a critical read for law firm and corporate KM and Innovation professionals.
David Dibble, an expert in systems-based sustainable organizational performance improvement, contrasts contributors to under-performing or failed Six Sigma and Lean programs with the Systems-Based Transformational Leadership Model (STL).
David H. Rothman’s current commentary highlights the composition of the new board of directors of the nonprofit DPLA, an organization that continues to grow and change, along with clarifying its goals and objectives.
The End of Institutional Repositories & the Beginning of Social Academic Research Service: An Enhanced Role For Libraries
Stuart Basefsky advocates broadening the concept of institutional repositories (IRs) to serve as full-fledged electronic libraries and documents how they can then serve the greater purpose of collecting, disseminating, analyzing and exchanging useful digital information for academic purposes.