Managing Partners Forum

The interactive sessions were great and the facilitators did a fantastic job.

Daniel G. McKay, Esq.
Eaton Peabody - Bangor, ME

Leadership

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White Papers

  • International Review – Fall/Winter 2017  ** NEW **
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick publishes and distributes a collection of articles in a 24-page e-magazine he calls International Review. Although geared primarily toward “BigLaw,” its content is also timely and relevant for smaller and mid-size law firms. In this edition, the most important article for you to read is “Law Firm Strategic Planning: A Report on the State of the Art. Even though 97% of AmLaw 200 firms have strategic plans, Patrick observes that far too many of them suffer from a self-inflicted phenomenon call “SPOTS”…an acronym for “Strategic Planning on the Shelf.” To avoid that situation at your firm, keep your plan simple, realistic and achievable. Importantly, the plan must also involve partner accountability. 

    Here are his four main points for successful strategic planning:

    • Too many firms are focusing attention on internal (not external) issues.
    • More firms need to involve clients in their strategic planning process.
    • Implementation improves when more partners are involved in the process.
    • More rigorous management attention and individual accountability will improve implementation.
    At MPF, we believe that every law firm – regardless of size and practice mix – needs a plan.
     

  • International Review – Spring/Summer 2017
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Patrick and I see eye-to-eye on many of the issues law firm leaders confront in these challenging times. As always, he delivers a fine set of articles in the current edition of International Review. Here are the topics covered in this 26-page report:

    • The Burning Issues Facing Firm Leaders in 2017
    • Get Your Clients to do your Talking
    • Becoming the Firm of Choice: It's All about the Implementation
    • Leaders Get the Behavior You Tolerate
    • The Five Challenging Paradoxes of Firm Leadership
    • When a Firm Leader Hangs up the Crown
    We encourage you to take a look.

  • MPF INSIGHT
    Re-Envisioning the Law Firm:
    How to Lead Change and Thrive in the Future 

    by Managing Partner Forum, Jaffe, TheRemsenGroup

    This hard-hitting and ground-breaking report, which includes an abundance of benchmarking data drawn from two MPF surveys conducted earlier this year, serves as a wake-up call for leaders and owners of smaller and mid-size US law firms. We strongly maintain that to be successful in the future, law firms must be run more like a business and less like loose confederations of sole practitioners. For most firms, this involves change and accountability. And lawyers don’t like either. Leadership and planning are required. Here are some of our report’s major themes:

    • Firm owners must accept the fact the profession is undergoing unprecedented change and that your law firm must adapt if it wants to survive and prosper.
    • Strategic planning is no longer optional. Firms need a vision for the future and a plan to get where they want to go. “Hope and pray” is not a good strategy in a rapidly changing marketplace.
    • Firms must invest in the leadership and business development skills of their young lawyers. They are the future of your firm.
    • Importantly, law firms must proactively address issues involving problematic partners. They are affecting the culture and profitability of your firm much more than you realize.
    • The time has come for firm leaders to exercise “more leadership” and “less management.”
    You need to review this report. You need to share it with your partners. Importantly, your firm must respond to the changing marketplace. Otherwise, you may find yourselves selling buggy whips when the rest of the world has moved beyond them.

  • International Review – Fall 2016 
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    As always, Patrick delivers another set of terrific articles in the current edition of International Review. The magazine runs 24-pages and we thank him for sharing it with us. The articles in this issue are:

    • Your Guide to Charting a Strategic Direction for Your Practice Groups
    • The Underproductive Lawyer: Addressing Underperformance Issues
    • Effective Leaders Are Not Necessarily Nice!
    • Solving the “Commitment Drift” Frustration
    Each article dispenses practical, straight-forward guidance on how to deal with some vexing issues for many firm leaders.

  • International Review - Spring 2016
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick McKenna distributes a collection of articles in a magazine he calls International Review. Each issue includes five or six thoughtful articles – which often focus on leadership transition and succession planning issues – that are spot-on for today’s law firm leader. The current issue is no exception and includes these five articles:

    • Bringing Your Strategy Process Back to Life
    • Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles to Change
    • The Disruption in Transitioning to a New Firm Leader
    • Analyzing a Leadership Candidate’s Strengths
    • The Distorted View that Some May Offer
    We highly recommend that you take a few minutes to review these articles and print out one or two for future reference.

  • International Review - Fall 2015
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, MPF Faculty member Patrick McKenna publishes a collection of articles and insights in a magazine he calls International Review. Although directed primarily toward leaders at BigLaw, his articles are timely and relevant for leaders of smaller and mid-size firms, as well. Here are the titles in the current edition:

    • Firm Strategy: Understanding Industry Dynamics
    • Schedule Time for Strategic Thinking
    • The Value in Developing a Leadership Brand
    • Announcing: The Changing of the Guard
    • McKenna on How New Managing Partners Can Avoid Being “Blindsided”
    • How Effective Leaders Delegate
    • Why Law Firms Need Non-Executive Directors

  • International Review - Spring 2015
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    This issue of Internatinal Review, published by Patrick McKenna, runs 24 pages and features five great articles every firm leader should read. They include numerous practical ideas, tips and techniques that will make you a more effective firm leader and that you can put to use immediately. The articles in this issue are:

    • Recovering from a Leadership Misstep
    • The Leadership Succession Process
    • Stimulating Innovation in Your Firm
    • Inquiring Leaders Want to Know: Ten Important Questions
    • When Job Descriptions Don’t Do the Job
    We especially recommend the fourth article and its ten important questions.

  • International Review - Fall 2014
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    For several years now, Patrick has been kind enough to share his bi-annual collection of articles with our readers. It invariably includes some of the best, most thoughtful articles on law firm leadership and the role of the managing partners. This issue includes five articles, and the one I liked best is entitled “When Firm Leaders Transition.” His advice for the incoming leader includes:

    • Insist on a detailed job description,
    • Create a “things-to-stop doing” list,
    • Hit the ground listening, and
    • Focus on just a handful of priorities.
    He also dispenses guidance to the outgoing leader to effect a smooth, easy transition when law firms change leaders.

  • International Review - Spring 2014
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick publishes his International Review, a collection of articles on law firm leadership and management. It’s geared mostly toward those who lead larger firms, but its teachings apply to managing partners of law firms of all types and sizes. The Spring 2014 edition includes articles on the following topics:

    •  The Seeds of Competitive Disruption
    •  Firm Leadership Is Not for Wimps!
    •  Six Factors that Impede Effective Firm Leader-COO Relationships
    •  A Novel Approach to Compensation
    •  Are You Getting the Minutes from Practice Group Meetings?
    You’ll notice that we feature a number of Patrick’s articles on the MPF Website. It’s good stuff.

  • 2014 Client Advisory
    by Hildebrandt Consulting LLC and Citi Private Bank

    Every year, we look forward to this report focused on the country’s largest law firms. It, along with the Georgetown/Peer Monitor “Report on the State of the Legal Market,” is something every law firm leader should read, digest and discuss among his/her partners. You’ll find that the Citi/Hildebrandt report is much more optimistic than the Georgetown/Peer Monitor report, especially for the AmLaw 50 firms. It cites the recovering global economy and improving confidence levels among leaders of the world’s largest law firms as reasons for its upbeat forecast. And here are three things it says leading firms are doing to stay ahead of the curve:

    • Strategic Growth, including performance standards for partners, deliberate lateral hires and client-driven mergers.
    • Improved Efficiency, including alternative fee arrangements, more diligent project management and technology.
    • Capable Leadership, including attending programs like The MPF Leadership Conference.

  • International Review - Fall 2013
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick publishes a great set of articles in a magazine he calls International Review, and he distributes a hard copy to selected leaders of the very largest law firms. He also provides us an electronic version to include on the MPF Website and pass along to our readers. Of particular interest in this edition are the articles entitled “Are You Developing a Star Culture?” and “The Hurdles to Initiating Change.”

  • 2013 Law Firms in Transition 
    by Thomas S. Clay, Altman Weil

    If you want to know how “BigLaw” is grappling with changes affecting the legal industry, this is the survey for you! This year’s edition of Altman Weil’s Law Firms in Transition Survey packs plenty of great bench-marking data, with leaders from 238 law firms with 50+ lawyers participating, including 37% of the NLJ 250 firms and 34% of the AmLaw 200 firms.

    The report runs 106 pages, beginning with ten pages of executive summary, followed by plenty of charts and breakdown of survey results.

    Among the findings:

    • 92% have two-tiered partnership structures
    • 82% hire part-time lawyers
    • 89% are pursuing lateral hires at partner level
    • 27% have a formal succession strategy in place
    • 61% report that AFAs generate less than 10% of total fees
    • 47% say that morale is higher among partners vs. 2008
    We strongly recommend that you take a look if you have not already seen it.

  • International Review - Spring 2013 
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick McKenna distributes International Review, a magazine for law firm leaders. Although most of his work focuses on Am Law 100 firms, much of what he writes is also timely and relevant to leaders of smaller and midsize law firms. His spring 2013 does not disappoint and includes four articles. Perhaps the most interesting of the bunch is one entitled "Malignant Leadership," which was also published in American Lawyer earlier this year.

  • International Review - Fall 2012 
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick publishes and distributes International Review, a magazine featuring insightful articles on law firm leadership. This issue examines compensation systems, retirement plans for senior lawyers and several other thought-provoking ideas and concepts. There's some good stuff here, and much of it is worth circulating to your partners.

  • Leadership At Its Strongest:
    What Successful Managing Partners Do  

    by Robert Lees, August Aquila, Derek Klyhn

    This is one of the better White Papers we're read in recent years on firm leadership, and we highly recommend that you take a few minutes to check it out, as well. August and his colleagues assert that effective managing partners provide compelling direction, gain commitment among partners, appoint the right leaders to execute strategic objectives, and lead by personal example. It's good stuff and we agree with most everything it says.

  • International Review - Spring 2012 
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, Patrick publishes a collection of articles written by him and others on law firm leadership. He calls it International Review. One of the articles we especially like in the current issue is entitled "Confronting the Underperforming Partner: A Persistently Unmet Challenge." This topic is much discussed MPF conferences, as well.

  • International Review - Fall 2011
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, MPF faculty member Patrick McKenna publishes and distibutes his magazine called International Review to leaders of firms with 50 or more lawyers in the US and Canada. He is kind enough to make it available to our readers, as well, in PDF format. This issue includes articles about strategic planning, leading change and handling difficult partners.

  • International Review - Spring 2011
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    Twice a year, McKenna Associates publishes a magazine called International Review. Each issue strives to contain a "balanced blend of contributions covering the subjects of law firm strategy, economics and leadership," and this issue includes articles by David Maister, Patrick McKenna and others. 

    It is distributed in hard copy format to firm leaders of US and Canadian firms with more than 50 lawyers. Going forward, we're pleased to make a PDF version of the magazine available to our readers, as well.

  • The State of Law Firm Leadership  
    by Patrick J. McKenna

    In November 2010, Patrick McKenna published this six-page report consisting of survey results to a series of questions posed to 92 leaders of law firms with more than 100 lawyers. Its findings are very consistent with data we collect using audience polling technology at our conferences, and as reported in our MPF White Papers. For example, 72% of managing partners do not have formal job descriptions and 87% don't have a formal leadership succession plan in place, according to Patrick.

  • The MPF 2010 Annual Conference
    A Summary of Discussion Points and Findings 

    by Charles F. Huxsaw and John Remsen, Jr.

    Over 90 managing partners, firm leaders and top consultants to the legal industry participated in The MPF 2010 Annual Conference on April 29th in Atlanta, Georgia. This comprehensive White Paper summarizes the key findings revealed through the use of state-of-the-art Audience Participation Technology. It focuses on how law firms approach strategic planning and the role of the managing partner; including what they do, how much time they spend in the role and how they get paid for all that non-billable effort. This is really good stuff.

  • Practical Advice to Improve Your Firm's Profitability
    by John Remsen, Jr.

    From the inaugural issue of the Managing Partner Forum newsletter, firm leaders reveal their top management concerns and thoughts on strategic planning. Our response? It's time to assume the role of CEO in order to make the firm profitable.