TEACHING TODAY’S LEADERS TODAY
A Management Resource For Today’s Managing Partners
A long-standing issue frequently addressed by The Marcus Letter is that law firms (and accounting firms as well) select managing partners with little or no managerial experience. While there may occasionally arise an individual of extraordinary insight and talent, it’s often pure serendipity. Most are chosen because they’re the firm’s best rainmakers, or have longevity, or are the most popular partner among peers, or even that nobody else wants the job and all the problems that go with it. The result is often chaotic management that impedes growth and collegiality.
Corporate managers, on the other hand, usually rise through the ranks, learning and honing management skills along the way. The less talented individuals, in the successful corporation, generally fall by the wayside, as the more talented ones, well educated in management, rise to the top. Law and accounting firms rarely have such systems, with their training focus primarily on professional, not management skills.
Consultants help, although the talents of the consulting professionals range from insightful to mysterious. Too few consultants have the extensive training or insights to make their advice particularly useful, and depending upon the source of their expertise, few have ever actually had bottom line experience. Fewer still have had the experience in managing a law or accounting firm.
It comes as welcome news then, that two of the most capable and experienced individuals in law firm management, Edge partner Patrick McKenna and Baker & Daniels' Chair Emeritus Brian Burke, have formed Leadership Advisory Board, in concert with Managing Partner Magazine, which will be comprised of some of the profession's most experienced and knowledgeable managing partners. The LAB will offer new law firm leaders a forum in which to pose questions about issues of greatest importance to them, and to receive from the LAB advice and guidance based on its members' many years' experience as law firm leaders.
“Any managing partner can now seek advice (anonymously, if preferred) by logging on to the Managing Partner Magazine web site (www.mpmagazine.com) ,” say the founders. “Once there, managing partners may pose questions, challenges, or issues about which they want to tap the collective expertise of the LAB.” McKenna and Burke will circulate the inquiry to all members of the LAB, asking for individual guidance, views, and examples, gather and synthesize the group's feedback, and draft a cogent response to the individual presenting the inquiry.
The brain child of Edge partner Patrick McKenna and Baker & Daniels' Chair Emeritus Brian Burke, the LAB includes highly distinguished and long-serving law firm leaders, all of whom have been recognized for their contributions to advancing and leading their own firms, written and spoken about law firm leadership, and served as role models for other professionals.
Members of the LAB represent recognized firms from across the country and include (in alphabetical order):
Angelo Arcadipane (Dickstein Shapiro LLP)
John Bouma (Snell & Wilmer LLP)
Brian K. Burke (Baker & Daniels LLP)
Ben F. Johnson, III (Alston & Bird LLP)
John R. Sapp (Michael Best & Friedrich LLP)
Keith B. Simmons (Bass Berry & Sims PLC)
William J. Strickland (McGuire Woods LLP)
Harry P. Trueheart, III (Nixon Peabody LLP)
The germ of the founding idea originated in a program the two LAB founders conducted for Managing Partner Magazine.
"While teaching a Managing Partner Magazine-sponsored program that Patrick and I conduct for new managing partners,” said Brian Burke, “it became evident that these leaders of law firms have very limited resources from which to draw guidance".
"While their firms might belong to a network of law firms or they might get together with other managing partners in their local markets,” he continued, “it can be awkward for managing partners to ask questions in such settings about the more sensitive strategic, interpersonal, or operational issues that they find themselves confronting."
Founded in 1983, Edge International is a management consultancy that works exclusively with law firms and has developed an worldwide presence serving clients that range in size from specialized boutiques to firms of over 2000 professionals, including at least one of the top ten largest firms in each of over a dozen different countries. Edge is acknowledged as the leading consultants in providing hands-on assistance to practice leaders and the members of their practice group to accelerate their efforts toward developing high performance; and as one of the top three consulting firms chosen by US law firm managing partners for assistance with general management and strategy matters.
For further information contact Patrick McKenna: (780) 428-1052 / (800) 921-3343.