Since the waning months of 2008, when the law firm economy seemed to turn on its head, law firms have been debating how to assure prosperity in perpetuity like never before.
In May of each year, Eolis International Group surveys national law firms as to their lateral search priorities as part of a report to clients on the latest views in law firm strategic planning.
The May 2011 survey pulled us up short by showing a downward turn in the threshold of portable books of business required for consideration. Wendeen Eolis, CEO of Eolis International Group, summed up a sentiment shared by at least 50% of the participating firms without regard to size. She explained the turning tide, “Eight hundred pound gorillas frequently trigger peril to collegiality as often as they produce enviable prosperity.”
The majority of firm department heads in law firms (ranging from 75 to 200 lawyers) indicated they saw more value in an attorney’s commitment to a legal practice that combines new business development with in-depth legal expertise than in massive rainmaking efforts alone, or strictly service to a client.
In a round table discussion with six EOLIS clients, our moderator reported the sage words of a managing partner at one of the largest law firms in the world. He said, “Show me a partner with a million dollars in client origination and a work ethic that produces 1,800 billed hours of high quality work, and I’ll show you a team player and a well balanced practitioner most of the time.”