Managing Partners Forum

“Timely topics. Fast pace. Loved it. I am energized!"

Kathleen T. Alt, Esq.
Berg Hill Greenleef Ruscitti LLP - Boulder, Colorado


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Here, we’ve archived our series of short, one-on-one interviews with managing partners on issues important to running a successful midsize law firm. These podcasts are produced each month as part of the Managing Partner Series presented by Thomson Reuters in affiliation with The Managing Partner Forum.

The Important Distinction Between
Marketing and Business Development

Marc Dedman, Esq. has been instrumental instilling a marketing and sales culture at his law firm and, in this 15-minute interview, offers guidance on how to make it happen at your firm. He also discusses the difference between marketing (spreading the bird seed), and business development (shooting and dressing the bird). Good stuff.
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Succession Planning:
Helping Senior Lawyers through the Transition

Succession planning is an extremely important, yet neglected, issue for many smaller and mid-size law firms. It’s often an extremely difficult and personal decision for many senior partners. Kirk M. Miles, Esq., shares how his firm is addressing the issue. His most important recommendation? Start the conversations early and often to build smooth and orderly succession planning into your firm’s culture.
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Building a Better Mousetrap:
A New Law Firm Business Model Takes Shape in the Heart of Texas

Darin Klemchuk, Esq. attended The MPF Leadership Academy last fall and, as we got to know him, we learned that he is a true innovator on the business of law. Last year he decided it was time to restructure his firm to move from a “barber shop model” (I call it a hotel for lawyers.) to a more collaborative, team-based model. To get there, his firm has employed personality assessment tools, created a “partnership grid,” developed clear definitions of what it means to be a partner and established partnership rules of the road. And it seems to working quite well. He’s kind enough to share his thoughts and concepts in this month’s podcast.
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Practical Advice for the New Managing Partner
Often times, newly elected managing partners have little idea what they are actually stepping into. An ill-defined role, lots of partners to satisfy, and a rapidly changing marketplace are among the factors that make the role so challenging. But, then again, nobody ever said it would be easy! After having served as his firm’s leader for eight years, Glenn Callison, Esq. (who serves on the MPF Advisory Board) kindly shares his advice and guidance to the freshly minted firm leader.
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It’s Not Easy Letting Go:
How and When to Step Out of the Leadership Role

It’s a sad fact that seventy percent (70%) of first generation law firms do not survive their founders. The founding partners won’t let go, and the junior partners won’t step up. But there are some great examples of how to start a law firm, pass it down and create a legacy institution. In this month’s LIA podcast, Alan Becker, Esq. and I discuss how he and his partner founded and built one of the largest law firms in Florida, and then successfully transitioned ownership to the next generation of lawyers.
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Why Your Firm Needs to Join a Law Firm Network, 
How to Find the Right One, and How to Get the Most Out of It

Is your firm considering membership in a law firm network? If already a member, how can your firm achieve more value through your participation? This month’s LIA podcast will answer these and other important considerations as we interview Andre Ryan, who has recently stepped down as Chairman of Meritas, one of the world’s leading law firm networks with 175 independent member firms in more than 80 countries. Andre shares the reasons why your firm should join a network, the keys to finding the right one, and ways to gain the most value from your participation.
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Why Law Firms Need Top Quality Executives
This month's LIA podcast is a compelling interview with Brad Robbins, COO at Williams Parker, about the tremendous value top-notch administrators bring to smaller and mid-size law firms. Brad holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and has been with the firm for six years. During our brief conversation, we discussed the COO's role in firm leadership and governance, how the COO adds value to enhance firm profitability, the COO's most important contributions, and his advice and guidance to the Managing Partner.
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The Right Way to Leverage Technology to Improve Your Firm’s Performance
This month’s LIA podcast is an insightful interview with Al Dotson, Jr., Esq., who discusses how his forward-thinking firm has effectively invested in technology to improve the firm’s processes and procedures, harness its institutional knowledge, and improve its client service and satisfaction. It’s more than forms and documents, explains Al in the podcast. It’s about involving all the firm’s stakeholders - including clients - to improve performance and productivity in a multitude of areas.
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How to Bring Genuine Diversity to Your Firm
This month’s LIA podcast is an inspiring conversation with Deb Willig, Esq., Managing Partner of Willig, Williams & Davidson, a 40-lawyer firm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who discusses how she and her partners have successfully built a mid-size law firm that “walks the walk” when it comes to diversity. Under Deb’s leadership, the firm has created a family-friendly culture that attracts and retains a highly talented and diverse group of lawyers and support staff. She shares a few tips on how to make it happen at your firm.
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How and When to Hire Your Firm’s First Marketing Director
This month’s LIA podcast features a conversation with Jim Dressman, Esq., who discusses his firm’s decision to hire its first marketing director. Jim believes that marketing is essential for survival for today’s law firm and says that convincing his partners was fairly easy. By creating an in-house position, the firm has more focus to its marketing program and achieved considerably more “bang for the buck” than its former outside marketing/public relations firm. After more than six months on the job, the firm’s decision has “exceeded expectations.”
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Leading Your Firm Through Turbulent Times
This month’s LIA podcast is a conversation with Bill Seider, Esq., Managing Partner of a 44-lawyer firm based in Sarasota. Bill talks about how he successfully led his firm through the Great Recession, which hit Southwest Florida especially hard, and led to the collapse of its largest practice area.
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Implementing a Strategic Growth Plan at Your Law Firm
In this month’s LIA podcast, we interview Rick Matthews, Esq., CEO of Pender & Coward, a mid-size firm with three office locations in Southeastern Virginia.  Pender & Coward was formed in 1980 through a merger of three firms and since then, under Rick’s leadership, has embarked on a progressive growth strategy called the “5/5/5 Plan.” 
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The Critical Role of Firm Administration for Successful Mid-Size Law Firms
In this month’s LIA podcast, we interview Rob Romanoff, Esq. and Angela Hickey about the valuable contributions of firm administration and support staff toward the firm’s success They talk about hiring a Manager of Process Improvement to improve operating efficiencies and implement new billing and pricing strategies. They also talk about the important relationship between the managing partner and firm administrator in leading a successful law firm.
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Great Service Builds Great Law Firms:
A Highly Effective Rainmaker Shares His Secrets to Success

Richard Weiss, Esq. is one of the most effective rainmakers with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. In this month’s LIA Podcast, he talks about his firm’s “Unifying Principles,” the importance of great client service, knowing your client’s business and investing in personal friendships. He also shares some of his tips and suggestions on how to build meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with clients, referral sources and community leaders. Check it out. He’s a master.
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Strategic Planning: Practical Advice on How to Make it Happen at Your Law Firm
Bob Young, Esq., former chair of the ABA’s Law Practice Division, is a big believer in strategic planning for law firms. In fact, he says it’s “malpractice” if your firm doesn’t have one. In this interview, Bob shares how his firm went about the process - including winning over the firm’s skeptics and nay-sayers - back in 2011 and had since achieved very beneficial results. He also talks about the challenges of successful implementation.
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How Today’s Economy Is Impacting Mid-Size Law Firms
In November, we discuss with Mitchell Roth, Esq. some of the exciting opportunities that the changing economy has brought to his and other mid-size, big-city law firms; including large, complex matters that have traditionally gone to BigLaw; up-and-coming laterals looking for a more enjoyable, collaborative firm culture; and improved communication and alignment of interests with the firm’s clients. Join us for this Ten-Minute Interview with Mitchell Roth, Managing Partner of Much Shelist in Chicago, Illinois.
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I-Pads for Everybody!
Investing in Technology to Improve Lawyer Productivity and Client Service

What happens when a progressive Buffalo law firm makes investing in technology an integral part of its strategic plan and, among other things, purchases iPads for all of its attorneys? The answer is plenty! Some outcomes – like improved lawyer productivity and more responsive client service – were anticipated. Other outcomes – like invaluable press coverage and new clients – were not. Join us for our October podcast with Peter Marlette, Esq., a member of the MPF Advisory Board and Vice Chairman of ALFA International, a global network of leading independent law firms.
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Building and Sustaining a Marketing Culture
Frank Sheppard, Esq., managing partner of Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell, a 90-lawyer litigation firm based in Orlando, discusses the dramatic culture shift at his firm when it comes to marketing, including hiring the firm’s first marketing director. He also shares what’s worked best for his firm.
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