PRACTICE AREA REVIEW FOR U.S. FIRM
A leading New York firm asked us to review the strategy for their global private equity practice. Working with the Global Managing Partner and Global Practice Head, we developed their broad aspirations, stress tested their assumptions and uncovered the positive and negative implications for other practice areas in terms of potential conflicts and resource allocation. This fed into the strategic plan and became the basis of the firm’s continued sector expansion.
FINDING THE BEST REMUNERATION MODEL
We have assisted a large number of firms as they review their approach to remuneration. Our starting point is a diagnostic review, when we also interview each partner on a one-to-one and confidential basis.
STRATEGY & GOVERNANCE OF HONG KONG FIRM
We helped our client formulate a new strategic direction and then redesigned the associated governance and management framework. Prior to this project we had helped the firm evaluate a potential UK merger. With our help they had decided not to proceed, but the process did help them realise they needed to sharpen their focus and organisational effectiveness.
SALE OF BUSINESS TO NEXT GENERATION OF PARTNERS
The founder of a leading African firm asked for our support as he approached retirement. We were able to work with him as well as the next generation of partners by agreeing a new ownership model.
PITCHING & PRICING REVIEW
We helped a leading European law firm improve their pricing strategy and refine their pitching skills. Our client was working in an increasingly challenging market where price had become a key metric. They needed to better understand the value they provide and how to successfully negotiate a better price. Following this we presented our findings to the Board and helped them re-write their pitch documentation.
MICROSOFT IN-HOUSE LEGAL TEAM
We have advised a number of in-house legal teams, including Microsoft who have over 1,200 lawyers within their internal legal team. Over the last three years, we have been part of the group supporting them develop unique and innovative answers to their current challenges.
GROWTH PLAN FOR ELITE INDIAN LAW FIRM
This fast growing Indian firm was one of the first to embrace a “true” partnership approach. The founders were keen to grow while ensuring a smooth transition to second generation leadership. We have since assisted other Indian law firms with similar issues.
REVIEW OF MIDDLE EAST OPERATIONS
We helped a US law firm perform a strategic review of their established Middle East practice. They had some very deep relationships in the region, but competition, particularly from the Magic Circle and other leading US firms, had altered the balance of power. Our final report and analysis was discussed with regional and global heads, and our recommendations incorporated into a plan adopted by HQ.
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE REVIEW
We advised one of Spain´s major firms on a governance review, in particular the roles and decision-making authority of their Board and Managing Committee. This included a review of the Managing Partner and Senior Partner roles – where the power and authority of each started and ended - then agreeing a set of performance criteria and annual review process. Lastly, the new performance criteria was aligned with the firm-wide remuneration model.
REVIEWING THE PROJECT FINANCE TEAM OF A GLOBAL LAW FIRM
We were engaged to provide an objective overview of our client’s EMEA project finance practice. There was concern that the existing planning process had become stale and was not delivering on expectations. During a tight six-week timescale we prepared a report of our analysis, the key points of which were agreed and incorporated into their strategic plan.
WEST AFRICA STRATEGY PROJECTS
Over recent years, law firms in Nigeria have been experiencing the ups and downs of a frontier market. Since 2012, we have helped a number of Nigerian firms in reviewing their opportunities and deciding the best way forward. For most, the starting point has been deciding whether their future lies with an alliance with an international firm or remaining independent - with a robust strategy if they choose the latter.
PARACHUTING IN TO ASSIST NETWORK OFFICE
One of the global accountancy firms was facing challenges with one of their international network members. Working with their leadership team – as well as the local office leaders – we analysed the health of the business and flew in to deliver a one day workshop. During the session, which was also attended by senior management in London, they were able to agree a way forward for the firm.
IMPROVING RANKINGS IN LEGAL DIRECTORIES
We have helped a number of law firms improve their directory rankings. This typically begins with a review of their current approach and then recommending improvements. We find that it is important to engage all of the partners, presenting them with the finding and developing personal accountabilities for making improvements.
MORE PROFITABLE RELATIONS WITH KEY CLIENTS
One of the biggest global law firms was experiencing challenges with developing a consistent approach to relationships with their most important clients. After several unsuccessful attempts, they wanted an outside perspective. Working in tandem with their global leadership and internal BD professionals, our starting point was to locate the barriers, agreeing Key Success Factors (KSFs). We were then able to help them introduce a new approach – based around their strategic industry sectors – with clarity over roles, accountabilities and remuneration.
Preparing for the future - not relying on hope
We assist firms in identifying and addressing their key ‘high impact’ issues through project-based consulting interventions, top-team advisories, partnership retreats and one-to-one coaching.
We assist firms in developing an understanding of the prevailing competitive trends, the impact of these on their competitive position and performance and to understand the detailed implications in terms of actions, sequencing and resourcing in order to achieve their strategic objectives. Our support can be firm-wide or focused on a specific practice area, industry or geography.
Compensation reviews and design
An increasing amount of our work involves advising on compensation systems, ensuring that they are aligned with strategy, promote the profitable growth of the business and are supportive of the desired culture - all critical to success. Key to this is ensuring that the various dimensions of the system are appropriately balanced in order to support the right partner behaviour - raising complex organisational and cultural issues.
Our experience has taught us that there is no one size fits all solution and that each firm needs to tailor its solution accordingly. It goes without saying that the partners need to be engaged in a remuneration review. We have experience of all systems be they lock-step, parity, narrow ‘eat what you kill’ or more balanced, broad-based performance systems and have a deep understanding of their impact and how these can be adapted.
Governance, structure and ownership
We also work with firms to review their governance structures to ensure that they are fit for purpose given the individual firm’s stage of development and the demands of the competitive environment in which it operates. This includes developing effective and efficient decision taking and implementation, ensuring appropriate partnership engagement and commitment, and achieving high levels of organisation effectiveness.