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The key issues for new managing partners to tackle

By Thomas Berman, Principal, Berman & Associates

4 February 2013

On a recent trip to Los Angeles to visit a client, I sat next to a lawyer who was reading Law.com on his iPad. We got to talking and it turned out that he had just been elected by his executive committee to be the new managing partner of the firm. I identified myself and my work and we agreed to meet that evening at my hotel to talk about his new role.

That evening, I started by asking him how he felt about the firm. Were the revenues adequate and were the principals generally satisfied with things as they stood? His answer was that they were, but the concern was the ability of his firm of 60+ lawyers to continue to compete effectively. We batted some questions and answers back and forth and, in so doing, developed a David Letterman-style list of issues and questions to address in his first few months as managing partner.

Not surprisingly, the list began with finances. Here,...

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