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The Law Firm of the Future

Adapting to a Changed Legal Marketplace

John M. Westcott

During the “golden age of law firm growth” from the late 1960s until 2007, most large law firms adopted a default growth strategy, increasing practice areas and offices, aided by the momentum of the tail winds of law firm growth. Since the recession of 2008-2009, however, the legal marketplace has drastically changed. In this timely book, Jay Westcott suggests strategic building blocks that firms can adopt in order to adapt themselves to this radical change and prosper as lasting institutions.
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Chapter 12: Succession planning

John M. Westcott


Firms should encourage full participation from every partner, because firm management is counting on them to do the little acts of leadership every day, which makes the large firm run efficiently and competitively and distinguishes the firm as an outstanding firm. I believe a large law firm should spread the responsibility of leadership widely among a number of partners, both to ensure that leadership tasks are carried out internally but also to have a broad-based leadership of the partnership and keep most partners motivated. Most partners learn a great deal from performing management duties, and this forms the base for the education of partners who will be the future leaders of the firm. Furthermore, succession planning is easier where a firm has a large number of partners involved in management. A nominating committee may be useful in succession planning, consulting with the leaders of the various professional departments and the leading business-getting partners. Without support from those partners, a new leader is unlikely to be successful.

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