Throughout GLI’s history, we have worked closely with Dentons in order to assist them in growing their national and global presence. We are proud to see Dentons’ latest merger has topped the legal news charts in recent weeks. With good reason: the merger will undoubtedly make Dentons the largest firm in the world by head count. The combined firm will have over 6,500 lawyers and will span across more than 50 countries. But an equally amazing feat is that Dentons managed to further break the barrier between US and China Law. It’s no secret American Law firms have been having issues breaking into the Chinese markets, but Dentons has certainly made those issues old news.
Something we notice that makes Dentons successful is the firm’s mastery of the use of the verein structure. This allows the firm to merge much more easily with other firms. Another great benefit of this structure is the firm does not have to worry should China’s attempts at legal changes not emerge. This offers Dentons great flexibility in the mergers they choose.
We are proud Dentons is merging with Dacheng as we have noticed a swell in the growth of Tier 2 cities in China and Dacheng has 42 offices in China including plenty in Tier 2 cities. This merger for Dentons will greatly increase their market share in China from around 50 attorneys practicing in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to over 4,000 attorneys throughout China. It is not likely we will see any other Am Law firm take such rapid strides into the Chinese market with Dacheng and Dentons cornering the market.
Our Top Legal Recruiter, Nancy Grimes, has great relationships with the leaders of Dentons US. Because of these great relationships, Grimes was able to get further comments from the firms’ leaders: Joe Andrew and Elliott Portnoy. We are happy to share their opinions regarding what this merger means for the future of Dentons:
“With more lawyers in more places where our clients do business, this combination is not about being the largest law firm in the world it is about understanding what our clients need and delivering it. As the only big 10 firm not headquartered in the US or UK, our polycentric approach reflects how the global economy has fundamentally changed and the legal profession must change with it.”
-Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons.
“With the largest and fastest growing economy in the world, the attraction of China to our clients is strong. All of our competitors are looking East. By
uniting East and West in one firm—not merely through a few offices in large cities, but with a deep presence across China—we can provide
Chinese businesses with global ambitions and international clients with interests inside China a reach and depth that simply can’t be found elsewhere.”
-Elliott Portnoy, Global Chief Executive Officer Dentons.
Top Litigation Firms by Law School Pedigree
Lawyers as a group dislike uncertainty, and “prestige”—whether of schools or firms—serves as an organizing principle and social validator, letting everyone know where they stand. The lawyer hive mind consistently orders itself in precise ways: consider how the U.S. News “T14” is basically set in stone and how the Vault rankings remain remarkably stable year after year. As late as 2015, Biglaw remains as clubby as Bertie Wooster.
There are two broad ways to think about this phenomenon:
- The practitioners of law at the highest level exist in a sort of closed loop and that is how it should be. The filter of “prestige” is a necessary thing. While the most talented and capable people will presumably succeed regardless, we need some way to differentiate among the rest. But when a person’s talent level is fundamentally unknowable, prestige might not be a perfect tool, but it is what we have. The assumption that one must be doing something right in order to become associated with prestigious institutions is rational.
- This obsession with credentialism is harmful to the profession. This nebulous concept of “prestige” is too dubious a metric upon which to base the choice of a school or employer.
Whichever camp you fall in, there is no gainsaying the outsized role prestige plays in both the educational and professional wings of the legal industry.
A glance at these rankings shows that boutiques dominate the top of the list, “outperforming” their larger competitors in terms of credentials. Of course, some might say it’s inapt to compare boutiques and Biglaw as they have such distinct recruitment models. (For example, large firms don’t have to fill up summer associate classes.) Yet if Biglaw serves as the talent funnel for the high-end boutiques, then either the prestige of law school really does correlate with eventual attorney quality OR the boutiques are as beholden to the entrenched credentialism as the rest of the profession, only maybe more so.
Mean School IQR
|7||Keker & Van Nest||82||6||5.9|
|8||Williams & Connolly||117||7||6.4|
|9||Covington & Burling||401||8||7.5|
|11||Boies, Schiller & Flexner||227||8||12.2|
|12||Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher||490||9||9.2|
|16||Jenner & Block||257||10||11.6|
|17||Morrison & Foerster||380||10||11.6|
|18||Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan||201||10||13.5|
|20||Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr||633||12||12.9|
|21||Kobre & Kim||45||13||14.0|
|23||Hughes Hubbard & Reed||218||13||16.1|
|24||Gibbs & Bruns||32||15||15.0|
|25||Arnold & Porter||399||15||16.4|
|28||Horvitz & Levy||36||16||17.4|
|30||Crowell & Moring||277||20||20.8|
|31||Fish & Richardson||266||20||23.6|
|32||Alston & Bird||398||20||24.3|
|33||Steptoe & Johnson||308||20||24.6|
|34||Winston & Strawn||514||20||26.2|
|35||Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner||283||20||27.4|
|36||Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell||289||27||31.3|
|37||Bickel & Brewer||44||28||34.8|
|38||Kilpatrick Townsend & Stocktown||288||29||25.2|
|39||Faeger Baker Daniels||356||29||31.7|
|40||Barnes & Thornburg||292||29||41.9|
|41||McKenna Long & Aldridge||268||36||38.0|
|43||Baker & Hostetler||456||36||41.3|
|44||Lee Tran & Liang||30||38||34.1|
|46||Jackson Lewis LLP||252||56||57.0|
|48||Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart||401||61||60.1|
Whether your Thanksgiving includes a beautiful family meal…
watching your favorite holiday special…
or your favorite team in a high-stakes football game…
or doing something else…
The GLI team wishes you a very happy holiday,
doing whichever of these means the most to you.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Top Legal Recruiter, Nancy Grimes agrees with Above the Law author, Kevin McKeown, that the best way to increase your business is to focus on your existing clientele. Like Gina Rubel states: these clients already trust you with their business. As mentioned below, it is 50% easier to sell to existing clients than to new clients. Nancy believes your best bet is to network with other attorneys within your firm in order to locate new opportunities and provide additional services to existing clients. If your clients trust you, and you vouch for the attorneys who would be taking over their other business needs, it will build their credibility and bring more business under your origination belt into the firm. You should also consider networking with other attorneys within your firm to determine if their clients have needs with which you may assist. Below is Kevin McKeown’s article:
This mash-up is inspired by a lawyer I know who thinks that signing new clients solves all his problems. He’s certainly not listening to Gina Rubel:
“As a legal marketer, I am constantly reading articles for lawyers about business development. Common titles are “Biz Dev for Lawyers,” “How to Be a Law Firm Rainmaker,” “How to Bring Business to Your Law Firm,” “Using Social Media to Grow Your Book of Business,” and so on. While everyone is pushing the acquisition of new business, how about focusing on the low-hanging fruit — the clients who already trust you with their business.”
Smart businesses don’t chase new clients at the expense of keeping and growing existing clients. And, law firms shouldn’t either. Consider:
- 80% of future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing clients–Gartner Group
- It’s 50% easier to sell to existing clients than to new clients–Marketing Metrics
- Existing clients convert at 60-70% compared to new prospects at 5-20%–Marketing Metrics
- Repeat clients spend 33% more compared to new clients–CMO.com
- Boosting client retention by 5% can raise profits by 75%–Bain and Company
A 10% rise in customer retention yields a 30% increase in the value of the company–Bain and Company
Look to the business world for how they view the significance of an existing client relationship. Here’s a sampling of the research I complied:
From It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em by Karl Stark and Bill Stewart:
“Growing businesses tend to spend so much of their time and money acquiring new customers that they often overlook their best source of growth: retaining and growing their existing customer base. It’s cheaper, easier, and more effective to retain current customers than it is to acquire new ones.”
From To Sell More, Focus on Existing Customers by Rick Reynolds:
“Seeking new sales without strong account management and operating teams is like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it. Identifying and fixing the holes — the gaps in customer satisfaction — can help your company retain existing accounts and increase new sales. When attempting to generate a sustained increase in sales, the first place to start is with existing customers. Your selling investment is lower, you have an existing relationship…”
From Five Customer Retention Tips for Entrepreneurs by Alex Lawrence:
“ …[M]any entrepreneurs are so focused on gaining new clients and customers that they fail to effectively address the need to retain those they already have. This is counterproductive… …[B]eing passive about customer retention only leads to greater attrition.”
From Customer Retention Should Outweigh Customer Acquisition by Jerry Jao:
“Customer retention and customer acquisition don’t have to be two parallel lines that never meet. In fact, when done right, customer retention campaigns can actually bring in new business. How? Through word-of-mouth and referrals, of course. By implementing smart retention strategies and treating your customers well, you are increasing the likelihood of getting referrals. Referrals are priceless to just about any type of business…”
From Customer Retention: The First Pillar of Social Media by Debra Ellis:
“When people have good relationships with individuals within an organization, they are more loyal. The only way to guarantee a loyal customer base is to create unbreakable bonds. This is done one person at a time. Social media changes the playing field because it provides a venue for the one-to-one connections that create unbreakable bonds.”
Here are some practical strategies from client-retention expert Ross Beard that will help you improve client retention and raise your bottom line:
- Set client expectations: set expectations early and deliver faithfully on those expectations to build retention.
- Be the expert: trusted advisors proactively communicates with clients about issues in their industry that will affect them.
- Build trust through relationships: client relationships must be based on trust and shared values; blog about issues that help your clients and signal your interest in their business.
- Implement anticipatory service: avoid negative client experiences by being proactive: stop problems from happening by checking in with your clients each quarter.
- Make use of automation: standardize your processes and set expectations for service levels to increase client loyalty.
- Build KPIs around client service: measure and incentivize your firm based on levels of service/performance tied to the client’s goals.
- Build relationships online: your clients are online so build relationships with them while they are fixed to their computer screens via Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc.
- Go above and beyond what’s expected: look for opportunities to woo your clients to build long term loyalty.
- Listen to your clients: implement client surveys, etc.
Read Beard’s 9 Customer Retention Strategies For Companies for more insights, strategies and examples.
How are you building enduring client relationships? How do you retain your clients for the long haul? How are you managing your client accounts? How do you deal with that buffoon lawyer who chases clients away?
McKeown, Kevin. “Focus On Keeping And Growing Your Existing Clients.” Above the Law. Above the Law, 12 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.
Chart Goals to Create a Road Map to Your Success
Many people suffer from being rational dreamers. They want to achieve a big dream but hold themselves back by being risk averse. They don’t want to disrupt the status quo and play things safe.
To coax themselves out of their comfort zones, people learn to set goals. I consider the process of goal setting to be like arranging checkpoints along the way to a desired end. Setting and meeting small goals can serve as a thermometer check on progress, measuring advancement and indicating an overall plan’s viability.
Approach goal setting like creating a customized road map to chart your success. Think about when you take a really long road trip with your friends. Most often, you start off knowing the destination, but since road trips can be fairly long, making pit stops along the way is necessary.
Before venturing out, you might decide to stop a quarter of the way along for food, then at the halfway point for gas, at the two-thirds mark to stretch and perhaps 100 miles beyond that for more gas.
You’re meeting smaller, more immediate goals that build on your efforts to reach the final destination.
Create a personalized road map for arriving at your desired destination by setting the following types of goals: immediate, intermediate and stretch goals.
1. Set a stretch goal.
Start by developing a stretch goals, a long-term objective that will take years to accomplish. Determine your stretch goal first because this choice will influence the selection of intermediate and immediate goals.
A stretch goal should be big. Some stretch goals are more specific than others. One person’s specific goal might be “to become the CEO of Google.” Another individual’s vaguer stretch goal would be “to produce a national television show.” An extremely vague goal would be “to work in the fashion industry.”
It’s OK, though, to leave room for interpretation.
Be as specific as possible and allow yourself to adjust a goal. Once you establish a stretch goal, you can sketch out checkpoints along the way.
2. Set immediate goals.
I like to create immediate goals that are small and assign a deadline that’s very soon. I suggest setting up these goals as activities that can be accomplished in a week.
Ask yourself, What do I need to get done this week that will contribute to and move me along my desired trajectory? What small thing can I do this week that will move me an inch closer to my goal?
For writers, an immediate goal might to write six pages of a script or participate in a weekly writing class. It could also be to start reading a book about a field you’d like to enter. Be realistic. Accomplishing immediate goals should be like taking small baby steps: They contribute to your overall development and growth and set you up to complete intermediate goals.
3. Pick intermediate goals.
Intermediate goals are broader than immediate goals and can have monthly or yearly time frames for their accomplishment.
Perhaps an intermediate goal might be to apply to an apprenticeship or training program. If a desired outcome requires your relocation, more schooling or quitting a job, set a timeline for taking one of these intermediate steps.
Meeting intermediate goals can help propel you forward along your trajectory. Achieving them might push you outside your comfort zone more than completing immediate goals and that’s great. It’s through discomfort that people grow and become who they want to be.
Bounassar, Natalie. “Chart Goals to Create a Road Map to Your Success.” Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur, 8 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Nov. 2014.
If you want to become more successful as an entrepreneur or in your career, you can start by making a habit of talking and thinking more like the people you know or read about who are already successful.
Here are some phrases you’ll never hear a successful person say:
1. “We can’t do that.”
One thing that makes people and companies successful is the ability to make solving their customers’ problems and demands their main priority. If a need arises repeatedly, the most successful people learn how to solve it as quickly as they can.
2. “I don’t know how.”
Instead of automatically shutting down solution-finding, successful people learn what they can in order to succeed in a project or in their career. For example, you would never see a truly successful international business consultant who travels to Italy multiple times per year refusing to learn Italian.
3. “I don’t know what that is.”
Pleading ignorance doesn’t make the problem go away. It just makes the asker find someone who is able to work with them to solve the problem. While’s it’s always good to be honest with those you interact with, finishing this phrase with “but I’ll find out” is a surefire way to become more successful.
4. “I did everything on my own.”
The best people know to surround themselves with others who are smart, savvy and as dedicated as they are. What makes this work is always giving credit where it’s due, as due credit to you will always come back in hand. Recognize those that have helped you or made an impact and you’ll continue to earn success and recognition yourself.
5. “That’s too early.”
You would never hear Benjamin Franklin or someone such as Steve Jobs say, “that is too early for me to be there.” If there is a networking meeting, project launch or interview opportunity at the very beginning of the day, the most successful people do what it takes to be there. Part of being successful is being at the right place at the right time, no matter if you’re a morning bird or night owl.
6. “That’s too late.”
Along the same lines, if you’re asked to a 9 p.m. dinner by a potential business partner, and you can make it, definitely go. You may be tired the next day, but the connections you will make during a small dinner or after-hours meeting can make all the difference when it comes to your career or next project.
7. “It’s too bad we couldn’t work together.”
Truly hitting it off with someone can be a rare occurrence, but if you truly connect with someone and want to work with them, find a way to make it work. Finding people that you really enjoy communicating with don’t come along too often, so whether it’s a case study or a new business, successful people know that working with those who truly align with your personality and interests are the path to true success.
8. “Let’s catch up sometime.”
Many times, this phrase is said as filler, without any true follow up. Successful people know that if they really want to catch up with someone, they follow up to make it happen. This also builds on the idea that the most successful people have worked hard to build genuine connections and relationships within their network, without any hidden agenda. Nurturing your network means being thoughtful of others, while keeping your relationships with them on top of your mind.
9. “I’m sorry, I’m too busy.”
If an opportunity comes their way, successful people do what it takes to make it happen. Sure, this might mean longer hours occasionally, but if you want something to work, that is what it takes. After all, according to Lao-Tzu: “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.’”
10. “That was all my idea.”
Again, as mentioned in number four, the most successful people spread the wealth when it comes to doling out praise from a successful project. No idea is truly one’s own — it’s a sum of their experiences from interacting and building off of collaborative ideas with a team. Doling out praise and encouragement is a crucial part of building a successful company and culture.
11. “I never read books.”
Tom Corley of Rich Habits found that rich people read (and listen to) books at a much higher rate than poor people: “63 percent of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3 percent of poor.” Also, “63 percent of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5 percent of poor people.” Reading non-fiction (as well as fiction) can help reduce stress, enhance creativity and boost your memory.
12. “I’m not good enough.”
Part of being successful is having a high sense of self-worth. Being yourself is one trait that promises success in business and your personal life. Follow your true interests. What you would do in your life if you didn’t need money?
13. “It’s OK.” (over and over)
Successful people know when to walk away and stop taking excuses from others. If there is a bottleneck and something (or someone) is preventing you from completing a project on time, build up your business, or move you forward in your goals, then it’s time to set boundaries and decide to limit your involvement.
14. “If our competitors don’t have it, then we don’t need it.”
Copying competitors is one of the many possible deaths for most companies. True innovation comes from the flip side: figuring out what competitors aren’t doing and fill that niche to answer a need in the industry.
15. “Time off is for suckers.”
True success should be seen as a well-rounded approach, one with vacations, weekends with friends and family and hours of downtime on the weekdays. While workload varies for everyone at times, taking vacation can make you better at your job.
Sometimes to get to where you want to be, the best and easiest thing to do is to simply follow the examples that others set for you.
What phrases are you going to eliminate from your day-to-day conversations and thinking?
GLI is a global legal recruiting network which prides itself in efficiency. When we were approached by a stellar candidate such as James “Jimmie” F. Hendricks, top legal recruiter, Nancy Grimes knew he would be a fast placement due to his tremendous skill set and experience. A very short time following contacting Nancy Grimes, Jimmie, who was previously a partner with Lewis Brisbois, joined forces with Litchfield Cavo in Chicago. His practice includes providing advice and counsel to operations and human resource executives regarding: developing and implementing employment policies and procedures; labor and employment issues involved in mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; personnel transactions; preventive labor and employment strategies and training; wage and hour assessments; and employment litigation analysis and defense. In the course of practicing in labor relations and as a labor and employment lawyer, he has handled hundreds of union organizing campaigns across the country.
Litchfield Cavo LLP is a litigation defense law firm founded in 1998 on one principle — client service comes first. The firm prides itself on being relatable and developing personal relationships with their clients. They blend the vast resources of a nationwide law firm with the responsive service and reasonable billing practices typically found only at small firms.
Their attorneys and staff value client relationships. They encourage communication that is open and honest. Most importantly, integrity and professionalism are visible in every action.
GLI is a Global Recruiting Network dedicated exclusively to the recruitment of attorneys for law firms and companies. GLI recruits and places world-class talent for outstanding law firms of any size, location – partners, practice heads, practice groups, mergers – for over 25 years. At GLI, we conduct an array of searches ranging from top tier Am Law 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, to companies and firms emerging onto the scene and everything in between. With coast-to-coast contacts and a network of highly skilled recruiters, we use our unmatched experience to exceed your expectations every time. Jimmie put our years of experience and expertise to work for him, it may be time you did too.
Troubled Law School to Cease Operations At One of Its Campuses
This summer, Above the Law began reporting on the uphill battle the Thomas M. Cooley Law School faced with regard to its declining revenue and student enrollment. In early July, they were the first to break the news that Cooley Law would stop accepting first-year students at its Ann Arbor campus as part of a “financial management plan.” At the time, James Robb, the law school’s associate dean of external affairs and senior counsel, said there were no plans to close the campus.
Plans apparently changed quickly, because at the end of July, they learned that Cooley Law was considering consolidating the Ann Arbor campus with other Cooley campuses by the end of the fall 2014 semester. Once again, Robb assured the media that no definitive plans had been made yet.
Now that we’re almost halfway through the fall 2014 semester, it seems that Cooley Law has begrudgingly decided to lie in the bed that it has made. This may be the first law school campus closure since the public started learning that legal education wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be…
Late this afternoon, Cooley Law students were greeted with the following message on their web portal:
Notice of Intent to Cease Operations at Ann Arbor Campus
Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School intends to cease operations at its Ann Arbor Campus on December 31, 2014, subject to the approval of teach-out plans submitted to its accrediting agencies, the Higher Learning Commission and American Bar Association – Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. Students are requested to contact their Enrollment and Student Services Coordinator with any questions or need for assistance they may have.
One has to wonder what the American Bar Association’s reaction to this announcement will be. Law schools across the nation are in trouble, and the ABA had an implicit hand in their downfall. By failing to institute measures that would keep law schools from deceiving their students as to their likely employment and salary prospects after graduation until the last minute, the ABA invited disasters like this to occur. Law schools were inevitably going to suffer once prospective students learned that all was not as good as it appeared — and was marketed — to be. Cooley Law School just happens to be one of the schools that has suffered the most, deservedly or not.
As we noted in July, Cooley Law is offering a number of concessions to students in exchange for their enrollment at one of its other campuses in Grand Rapids, Auburn Hills, and Tampa, Florida, including:
- Early registration for the January 2015 term, continuing through graduation;
- Retention of financial aid packages, regardless of campus chosen;
- A $1,500 cash payment for their troubles; and
- A $3,500 bar review stipend to be advanced during the final semester.
Above the Law reporters reached out to Cooley for comment, but have yet to hear back. We will update this post if they do.
Once again, Above the Law asks that students at this beleaguered law school take the time to consider their options wisely. Please think long and hard about your decision, because your financial future depends on it.
As of October 6, 2014, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School has updated the Ann Arbor campus section of its website with its Statement of Intent to Close. A Cooley student contacted Above the Law about the school’s impending campus closure, and was none too thrilled by the news. Here’s what that student had to say:
“I think this was a long time coming. Cooley teachers do provide a good education, but the administration unfortunately makes Cooley a joke. The expansion that they have done was clearly unsustainable and they are paying the price now. Students have been questioning the expansion for years, and the response has been that they did it with a long-term goal and have been dismissive of students concerns. I hope in the future when students express their apprehensiveness, the administration actually listens.”
Zaretsky, Staci. “Troubled Law School To ‘Cease Operations’ At One Of Its Campuses.” Above the Law. Above the Law, 3 Oct. 2014. Web. 08 Oct. 2014.
Nancy Grimes, who has been a highly regarded legal placement specialist for 20+ years, recently partnered with several legal specialists including lawyers, educators, and recruiters to produce a book which guides Chinese individuals in their journey “investing in the USA.” Grimes’ segment of the book discusses the job search and career planning upon graduation from law school. “I’m very thankful to have been given this excellent opportunity to share my knowledge with our readers. I’m also honored to be working with such an elite group of professionals to publish this book,” Grimes said.
“You can expect that the price for each copy of the book in Chinese will be about $10. We are also printing a combined English and Chinese version. We are expecting the book to be released in October or November, and we will be hosting a Book Release Ceremony in China during that time, followed by an additional ceremony in the United States. We will be updating you as to where you can purchase the book in your respective location.” Readers will enjoy reading the knowledge of several industry experts in a variety of fields. The book includes the writings of experts in EB-5 immigration, real estate investment, wealth management, and studying and working abroad in the United States.
Nancy Grimes is an industry leading expert in legal recruiting and placement. Throughout her career, she has sought out and placed candidates of the highest caliber with the most elite firms in the United States and beyond. Most of the individuals she has placed have gone on to become practice leaders, managing partners and more. Grimes is the President and Managing Partner of both GLI/Global Legal Recruiting Network and GRG/Grimes Recruitment Group. While GLI is well-known for the recruitment and placement of top-notch partner and counsel candidates, GRG has a growing reputation as one of the biggest names in associate and temporary staffing.