One of BigLaw’s biggest pain points is fixable.


There are few people out there with bad intentions, but there are firm leaders with bad habits.  I recently spent an hour on a call with the managing partner of an AmLaw 200 firm who was seeking my advice on succession planning and specifically with their practice and industry group leaders, many of whom were very senior and had been in the role for well over a decade.  I began our discussion by asking five very basic questions:

  1. Do these group leaders have a formal, written job description?  Answer: “No.”
  2. Do these leaders have a clear understanding of precisely how many non-billable hours they are expected to spend leading and managing the people on their teams?  Answer: “No.”
  3. Have you provided these team leaders with any organized leadership training within the past three years, to help them enhance their individual performance?  Answer: “No.”
  4. Have these leaders been provided with any written expectations (e.g., you must, as a group, meet at least once per month) of what your firm’s leadership is expecting them to do with their teams?  Answer: “No.”
  5. Do you, as the firm leader, meet with all of your team leaders to have them share and discuss their particular problems and successes with each other, at least once quarterly?  Answer: “No.”


Continue Reading Where leadership training falls short (318)


No matter what happens, we’re all going to learn something.


In 2014, I was invited to lunch with Joe Andrew, the chairman of Dentons, in his DC office.  The invitation came from John Fernandez, an Indiana Law alum who joined Dentons a couple of years earlier after two decades in government.  Joe and John came up through the ranks together in Indiana Democratic politics, with Andrew eventually becoming Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party (from 1995-1999) and Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1999-2001).
Continue Reading Special Post: Dentons rolls out Project Golden Spike (120)


Rather than wait for it, Microsoft’s legal team has decided to create what it needs, starting now.


Innovation is taking place in many parts of the legal ecosystem these days. Yet, as relates to legal operations inside corporate legal departments, a refreshing community of practice is starting to unfold. The camaraderie and fellowship among practitioners,