Reconciling The Practice With The Business of Law

The US legal industry enjoyed double digit growth for five decades until the Great Recession of 2008, when demand for services dropped by 5% and outside counsel spending declined by 11%. It was a serious crisis that led firms to forego annual hourly billable rates...

Learning from Adversity: One Obstacle at a Time

Adversity happens. Our instinct in the workplace when adversity does arrive is to deny its importance, attribute it to a person or event outside of our control, or, even better, to ignore it. Frustration and failure are unavoidable, so the question for us is what can...

The Indispensability Syndrome

Making plans for summer vacation? You’re probably wondering whether you’re too busy to take a week off from work. Maybe you’re thinking that you can, but only if the resort has WiFi. Likely the prospect of being away from the office makes you a bit jittery....

Balance of Business and Law

The following was authored by Julia Zemnick Gill, Winner of the 2015 GWSB Student Leadership Essay Competition   Law firms have experienced excruciating growing pains over the past decade. The legal industry is one of the largest and most profitable industries in...

Pathfinding the Future of Business Schools

By James Bailey (This is the text of a speech delivered to the Conference of Management and Executive Development Programs) It’s a shame that the famed American writer, James Fenimore Cooper, was born about 200 years too early. In his famous Leatherstocking series,...

Why the Heroes?

Heroes have been held out as the best of us throughout recorded history. All cultures commit to profiling and proclaiming them. Their stories are our past, present, and future, told through the protagonist’s lens. We research, record, and relate them for a reason....

The Stress, the Switch, and the Sources of Renewal

Imagine the eighteen months of General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s life. In her short tenure, GM will have recalled more than 30 million automobiles worldwide. Her firm is besieged by allegations of a caustic culture of carelessness, dysfunctional bureaucracy, warped...

The Leadership Vector

The world tends toward continuums.  Hot and cold have warm and cool along the way.  Big and small have all manner of magnitude in the middle.  Even black and white have hues between.  Winter, spring, summer, and fall represent varying points along a gradual scale...

Great Leaders & Their Environments

Is leadership the product of the person or the place? One camp says it’s the force of the individual. Through a combination of genetics and experience, some are leaders. And leaders act upon circumstances, make the market, revolutionize the industry, jump the trend....

Leading the Business of Law Firms

More jokes have been told about lawyers than any other professionals. But the business of law firms is no joke. $250 billion a year in the US, and Washington gets more than its fair share of the bounty. For the last 50 years law firms have done astonishingly well....

Finding the Next Generation of Leaders

Economics tells us that supply swiftly follows demand. If we need something, free enterprise ramps up to provide it. The operation of markets is a wonderful thing to behold. Efficient and effective, the system fills voids in a true and timely matter. Markets work...

The Law Firm Crisis: Changing Business Models

Law firms are big business, nationally and locally. In the United States, more than $250 billion a year is spent on legal services, and the Washington, D.C. region gets more than its fair share of that amount. The D.C. Bar has almost 50,000 active members, and around...

The New Normal

The market for legal services will never be the same. The ongoing recession decreases demand for services and general counsel spending and increases price pressures from competition and clients. The munificence of yesterday is gone. Layoffs, hiring and promotion...

A State of Organizational Grace

To be in a state of grace is to be absolved of sin. To repent is to be exonerated, and to atone is to be pardoned. To err is human, and to forgive is divine. It is the most revered sacrament because it encourages us to look forward, not backward. Odd start for a...

Gimme Shelter: Soaked by Organizational Change

A spring morning in Washington. Walking home from dropping my son at preschool—just two blocks from home—and it started to storm. Scattered clouds and high winds conspired to violently burst into rain and thunder. Waterfall-like sheets poured and shuddering booms...