Managing Partners Forum

The group dynamics in the MPIE sessions are a great value. I liked Susan Hackett (General Counsel of the Association for Corporate Counsel) on Skype, too.

Clark R. Hammond, Esq.
Wallace Jordan Ratliff & Brandt - Birmingham, Alabama


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White Papers

  • Should I Stay or Should I Go? 
    by NALP Foundation

    The full 140-page report - called the "Stay Study” - details the key factors driving associates’ decisions to remain at their law firms. It reflects data collected from 3,367 associates from 57 participating US and Canadian law firms. The "Stay Study" identifies the key reasons that associates elect to remain at their firms, collecting data on 15 factors important to associates (including firm policies, benefits, mentoring, firm culture, DEI support, and work/life balance) and segmenting the findings by seniority, firm size and location, and demographic cohorts. Not surprisingly, here are the top five reasons associates stay at their firms:

    • Compensation - It was the #1 reason to stay across all categories, with base salary more important than bonus.
    • Work-Life Balance - The #2 factor, with women placing higher importance on it than men.
    • Career Path - Clarity around path to partnership and career options.
    • Hybrid Work Policies - Female associates assign higher priority to a flexible work schedule.
    • Firm Policies - Here, we are talking mostly about billable hour expectations. 
    Click here to learn more about the complete Stay Study.
    NALP (National Association of Law Placement) has more than 3,000 members, including legal career professionals advising law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond. The NALP Foundation was formed in 1996 and is dedicated to advancing excellence in leadership, management, professional development, and professionalism. 

  • 2023 Lateral Partners Satisfaction Survey  
    by Major, Lindsey & Africa

    Our MPF Featured White Paper is the recently published report called 2023 Lateral Partners Satisfaction Survey published by Major, Lindsey & Africa. This report has been published annually since 1996, and here are some the highlights this year:  

    • Overall, eighty-six percent (86%) of lateral partners report that they are satisfied with their new firms, with eighty-three percent (83%) saying that they would do it all over again if they had to.
    • In addition to financial consideration, firm culture is a significant factor driving lateral partners from their previous firms.
    • Effective integration into the firm is the most important driver of the lateral partner’s satisfaction at the new firm.
    • Top factors attracting lateral partners to the new firm are the platform to grow his/her practice, firm culture and reputation, and firm financial stability.
    • Shockingly, only fifty-five percent (55%) of lateral partners claim to have read the partnership agreement prior to joining the new firm. Only twenty percent (20%) examined their new firm’s finances situation.
    The report is long but, if nothing else, we encourage you to read the Executive Summary within the first few pages of the report...especially if your firm is on the prowl for lateral partners.

  • 2023 Dynamic Law Firms Report
    by Thomson Reuters Institute 

    Published by our friends at Thomson Reuters. This 30-page report writes about differences observed between “dynamic” and “static” law firms over the past decade, and it is worth a read by leaders of smaller and midsize law firms. Although directed mostly at AmLaw 200 firms, here are some of the lessons to be learned: 

    • Dynamic firms invest in technology
    • Dynamic firms invest in marketing and business development
    • Dynamic firms are building transactional practices 
    • Dynamic firms have noticeably higher realization rates than static firms
    Make sure to take in the last section of this report – “Lessons Learned and Conclusions.” 

  • Risky Business: Rethinking Lateral Hiring
    by Decipher and ALM Intelligence

    Many smaller and mid-size law firms say that "strategic growth" is among their top short-term and longer-term priorities. Often their leaders talk about going after "laterals with books of business." Yet, the failure rate for lateral hiring at the partner level is quite astonishing. Frequently, there is a lack of adequate due diligence in vetting potential laterals and, once the deal is made, successful integration falls short. In many cases, the "book of business" never materializes.

    The cost and distraction of mistakes in this area can be devastating, especially for smaller firms. Read this White Paper to learn the keys to successful lateral hiring.

  • 2019 Report on the State of the Legal Market
    A View from Mid-size Firms

    by Thomson Reuters

    MidLaw enjoyed solid growth in 2018, and client-driven trends may hold even more opportunities for well-run mid-size US law firms.

  • Altman Weil’s MergerLine 2017
    by Altman Weil, Inc.

    For many years, our colleagues at Altman Weil have been tracking merger and acquisition activity among US law firms. In 2017, they track 102 such combinations. The average size of the acquired firm is 27 lawyers with the Southern US identified as the most active region. Here are a few other highlights in this year’s MergerLine report.

    • Law Firm Merger/Acquisition Activity at All-Time High
      Altman Weil has been tracking mergers and acquisitions since 2007. Since a post-recession low of 39 in 2010, law firm acquisitions have steadily climbed to 91 in 2015, 85 in 2016 and 102 in 2017.
    • BigLaw Continues to Get Bigger
      The average size of the “acquiring” law firm was 982 lawyers. Dentons now has a staggering 7,800 lawyers in its ranks. Norton Rose had two major acquisitions in 2017 and has grown to 3,800 lawyers.
    • No Let Up in Sight
      Most managing partners, in-house counsel and consultants to the legal profession project that consolidation and convergence will continue both globally and wiring the US.
    • Opportunity Abounds for Mid-Size Firms
      We believe that well-run smaller and mid-size law firms – that is to say firms with a plan, leadership, accountability and firm-first culture – sit in a great place to take advantage of long-term trends impacting the profession. Bigger is not always better!

  • Ten Years of Law Firm Mergers and Acquisitions – 2006-2017
    by Thomas S. Clay, Altman Weil

    Consolation is a clear and ongoing trend in the US legal market, and Altman Weil has been tracking law firm merger activity since 2006. After a post-recession dip in the number of law firm combinations, 2016 was the fourth consecutive year with more than 80 mergers and acquisitions. Here are some of the more interesting highlights in this report:

    • The largest merger on record occurred in 2015 as Dentons (2,500 lawyers) combined forces with China’s Dacheng (3,600 lawyers).
    • Seventy-five percent (75%) of law firm combinations involve large firms acquiring much smaller firms, often in the 2-20 lawyer range.
    • Succession is among the primary reasons smaller firms seek to become acquired by larger firms.
    • The most combinations have occurred in the Southeastern US, with 195 mergers and acquisitions tracked in the last ten years.
    • States with the most activity are California (78), New York (57), Florida (51) and Texas (49).
    In addition to the report itself, there are four good articles, including one entitled “Is this Merger a Good Idea?”

  • The Current Economic Environment - What Firm Leaders Are Saying
    by John S. Smock, John W. Sterling and Peter A. Giuliani

    Forum Faculty member John Smock and his partners recently wrote this assessment of how law firms are performing in the midst of the current economic downturn. And it's not as bad as you might think for the well-managed law firm.