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Bigger. Better. Both?

  • 13 May, 2016

    Has the juice been squeezed from BigLaw’s business model?

    . Law

    Central to the profitability of the ‘BigLaw’ business model is how rainmaking equity partners, i.e. the owners, win work for the firm and enlist other fee-earners to do the bulk of this work. Since the 1950s, this model has been hugely successful, both in serving clients and making a great deal of money for owners. However, […]

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  • 29 April, 2016

    More NewLaw M&A: Elevate acquires Legal OnRamp

    . Disruption. Law. Mergers & Acquisitions

    ‘Tis the season for NewLaw M&A as Elevate acquires Legal OnRamp. The union means Elevate, a leading legal services provider, will expand even more rapidly now that it has combined with the innovative legal technology of OnRamp.

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  • 19 April, 2016

    Now it’s Norton Rose Fulbright and LawPath

    . Digitisation. Disruption. Law

    Norton Rose Fulbright and LawPath today joined Cognition, Axiom, Conduit, Deloitte, LOD and DLA Piper in picking up the pace of corporate activity in the BigLaw–NewLaw space. 

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  • 16 April, 2016

    Are today’s young lawyers opting out of the Hunger Games?

    . Law

    Compared to 1991 it seems today’s young lawyers opting out of the Hunger Games. In that year Marc Galanter and Thomas Palay wrote Tournament of Lawyers positing that the success of the BigLaw business model depended in part on an incentivised ‘tournament’ for promotion. No more it seems.

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  • 11 April, 2016

    DLA Piper–LOD alliance in Australia will boost NewLaw

    . Other professional services

    No sooner had the the LOD–AdventBalance merger, described as “pointing to further NewLaw industry consolidation” been announced in February, than DLA Piper and LOD made major move in Australia to add to their UK operations.

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  • 6 April, 2016

    Tales from a sell-side mandate

    . beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy

    I never thought I’d be quoting Carl Jung in describing a sell-side mandate. But I will. Selling a firm is all about synchronicity, which Jung described as “meaningful coincidences”. Three years ago I wrote a post entitled “How hunger and hygiene drive valuations”, what I should have addressed is how do you create synchronicity in a […]

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  • 29 March, 2016

    Tales from a buy-side mandate

    . Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy

    It never ceases to amaze me when sell-side targets fail to respond to buy-side approaches. Yes, it can be a distraction, but if the leadership of a sell-side target has time and curiosity they can learn much.

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  • 28 March, 2016

    Artificial Intelligence in Law: The State of Play 2016

    Michael Mills' deep insights add to the digitisation themes Beaton is sharing with our readers, for example 'Digital disruption in professional services delivery' and 'What law firms and taxis have in common'. Michael is Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Neota Logic Inc, a leading global provider of intelligent software and provider to many leading law firms and a world authority on artificial intelligence in law.

    . Digitisation. Disruption. Law. Technology

    With Michael’s permission, beaton is delighted to re-publish ‘Artificial Intelligence in Law: The State of Play 2016’ by Michael Mills, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Neota Logic Inc.

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  • 15 March, 2016

    The third major NewLaw announcement in three months: Clients win

    . Law. Strategy

    Over night from Toronto comes the news of a joint venture between Deloitte and Conduit Law. This is the third major NewLaw announcement in three months of strategic global significance.

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  • 24 February, 2016

    Further NewLaw industry consolidation

    . Law. Strategy

    Today’s news of the Lawyers On Demand–AdventBalance merger  points to further NewLaw industry consolidation. This follows fast on the heels of the Cognition–Axiom deal in January I reported here.

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  • 21 February, 2016

    Remaking Law Firms is now available from the ABA online shop

    . Law

    We are very pleased to advise Remaking Law Firms is now available from the ABA online shop. 

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  • 16 February, 2016

    Reading between the lines: 2016 International Accounting Rankings

    . Accounting. beatonlive. Strategy

    Beaton is delighted to publish ‘Reading between the lines: 2016 International Accounting Rankings’, the first post from Tony Schiffmann on our blog. Since 1999 Tony has been a leader in BDO, rising from Queensland to the world. Our readers and Beaton are privileged to have access to Tony’s insightful interpretation of the global accounting industry, including the role of scale […]

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  • 15 February, 2016

    The engineering profession is poorer for its social media silence

    . Consulting engineering. Engineering

    It’s easier not to open your ‘electronic mouth’, but the engineering profession is poorer for its social media silence. ‘Digital disruption’, ‘digital revolution’ or the ‘kaleidoscope’ as George Beaton recently dubbed the constant change and unpredictable movement we all face in the current business world. Call it what you will, it’s evident change is upon us […]

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  • 21 January, 2016

    What does the pace of law firm mergers mean?

    . Law. Mergers & Acquisitions

    According to a recent ABA Journal article, Law Firm Mergers Continue at Record Pace, the first nine months of 2015 saw the highest number of law firm mergers (in the US) since Altman Weil began tracking them, and all were acquisitions of firms with fewer than 35 lawyers. In late December, Law360 reported that 2015 set a […]

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  • 15 January, 2016

    NewLaw industry is showing signs of consolidation

    . beatonlive. Law. Strategy

    It was breaking news about the NewLaw industry showing signs of consolidation. Here are some interesting aspects of the story so far.

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  • 1 January, 2016

    What law firms and taxis have in common

    . Disruption. Law. Strategy

    ‘What law firms and taxis have in common’ is my rhetorical way of capturing the relevance to BigLaw firms of a truly insightful article titled What is Disruptive Innovation? by Clayton Christensen and colleagues in Harvard Business Review, December 2015.

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  • 12 December, 2015

    Digital disruption in professional services delivery

    . Professional services. Technology

    A new book, 21 years of regulatory innovation through professional standards, marking the 21st anniversary of professional standards legislation in Australia has just been released by the Professional Standards Councils. I am honoured to have contributed the chapter on Digital disruption in professional services delivery.

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  • 6 December, 2015

    Resolving the prioritisation crisis in BigLaw firms

    . beatonlive. Law. Strategy

    In some ways I wish I had read Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption, Geoffrey Moore’s most recent book (2015) while researching the content for Remaking Law Firms (1).  On the other hand it’s pleasing to have come to much the same conclusions as Moore about the urgency in resolving the prioritisation crisis, in my case the […]

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  • 4 December, 2015

    Thinking of selling your firm in 2016? Here are 12 lessons from 2015

    . Accounting. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy

    The end of the calendar year is typically a time to contemplate the future, so if you are thinking of selling your firm in 2016, here are 12 lessons from 2015. For many owners this is the time of year when they contemplate their exit.

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  • 30 November, 2015

    BigLaw can emulate Private Equity to achieve greater growth

    . Law. Strategy

    The current destinies of the private equity and BigLaw industries have several similarities that are useful provide useful insights for the leadership of BigLaw firms in their efforts to find new areas of growth.

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  • 25 November, 2015

    Growth won’t solve your firm’s problems

    . Law. Strategy

    ‘Growth won’t solve your firm’s problems’ is a powerful article in The Am Law Daily on which  Ed Reeser has written an equally compelling commentary. We are pleased to publish extracts of Ed’s comments on Growth won’t solve your firm’s problems because of their deep implications and insights for BigLaw business model law firms everywhere.   

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  • 17 November, 2015

    Why digitisation is a net opportunity for professional services

    . Digitisation. Disruption. Professional services

    The rapidly rising tide of evidence and debate shows why digitisation is a net opportunity for professional services. This post collates examples to add to Beaton’s contribution to helping our clients recognise and seize the opportunity, and to draw readers’ attention to Thriving in the New Digital Landscape, a beatonlive conference on 9 March 2016.   

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  • 12 November, 2015

    Ecosystems – get wise to the new language of business strategy

    . Accounting. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Disruption. Engineering. Law. Management consulting. Other professional services. Strategy

    Those of us brought up on value chain business models need to open our minds to major change. Value chain analysis was identified as core to formulating business strategy by Michael Porter in the 1980s. Now ecosystems thinking is replacing value chain doctrine. 

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  • 11 November, 2015

    Case study: How professional salespeople succeed in law firms

    . Law. Professional services. Strategy

    DLA Piper – whose revenue grew 14.6% in 2011 as the firm rose to become the second highest grossing law firm in America – maintains a dedicated sales division – and so can yours. Formed in 2005 by a merger between three firms: San Diego-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP, Chicago-based Piper Rudnick LLP and London-based DLA […]

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  • 4 November, 2015

    For professions only the brave with a voice will be heard

    . Disruption. Professional services

    Today’s Forum organised by Professions Australia started with a challenge: “For professions only the brave with a voice will be heard”. So spoke Alex Malley, CEO of CPA Australia in an inspiring opening address. The Future of the Professions in a Digitising World was a rich and stimulating event. Here are 10 of my take-outs.

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  • 29 October, 2015

    One year on has Spruson & Ferguson left the others for dead?

    . Brands. IP & Patents. Law. Mergers & Acquisitions. Professional services

    When Spruson & Ferguson, a traditional Australian IP firm, listed on the ASX in November 2014 it was a quiet, understated affair. But in one year its share price has more than trebled and its market cap is over $1.2b.  Not bad for a bunch of 20 or so patent attorneys and IP principals. 

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  • 19 October, 2015

    Generational change is slow in law firms

    . Law. Strategy

    A recent study reveals the dangers of being slow to in making generational changes in law firms. Leadership in AmLaw100 firms is concentrated in the hands of older baby-boomers and members of the Silent Generation, born before the end of World War II. But while there is clear evidence of generational change occurring in the […]

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  • 15 October, 2015

    BigLaw’s perfect storm

    . Law. Strategy

    Being a Managing Partner has been a difficult task since the subprime mortgage crisis and global recession of 2008, some say it’s BigLaw’s perfect storm.

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  • 13 October, 2015

    Profit, delusion and the BigLaw obsession

    . Law. Strategy

    His K&L Gates provenance and the way our guest contributor began his recent article in Legal Business caught my eye. Tony Griffiths’ piece was titled “…on profit, delusion and how Big Law became obsessed with the wrong things”. With his permission, we quote Tony and reinvigorate debate on the dangerous obsession with law firm league tables.

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  • 11 October, 2015

    New Susskind book: The Future of the Professions

    . Professional services. Strategy

    The Future of the Professions is a much-anticipated new book from Richard Susskind and his son Daniel Susskind. It is now available from Oxford University Press. On first reading it lives up to my highest expectations; I warmly commend The Future of the Professions to all who practise and value and benefit from professional life.

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  • 8 October, 2015

    An industrial revolution is coming to law

    . beatonlive. Law. Technology

    This post explains one way an industrial revolution is coming to law. Expert systems are changing many aspects of how law is practised. Michael Mills, a leading authority, explains how.

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  • 16 September, 2015

    M&A in consulting engineering remains hot, but is it burning shareholder value?

    . Architecture. Beaton Indices. Consulting engineering. Engineering. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy

    Currently, there is one M&A transaction a day in the consulting engineering, environmental and ‘built’ consultancy sector. Since two Canadian pension funds bought out private equity firm Charterhouse Capital’s 55% stake in ERM in June this year, there have been some 90 transactions globally.

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  • 30 August, 2015

    Ides of Maturity reflected in State of Legal Market Report

    . Law. Pricing and Procurement. Strategy

    In March 2014 my colleague George Beaton posted The Ides of Maturity for professional services firms marks a modern-day turning point, an article based on his keynote address to the 2014 Client Choice Awards. George’s view of the future has recently been reinforced by a report on the state of the Australian legal market. This […]

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  • 28 August, 2015

    We must involve the community in infrastructure decision-making

    . Consulting. Engineering

    In this post David Singleton expands on his comment as Chairman of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia: ‘Australia’s infrastructure decision making has often led to inefficiency and community distrust’. This is of vital public interest and a challenge to all professions that serve the public interest in infrastructure.

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  • 22 August, 2015

    Legal Innovation Index Awards address by Dr George Beaton

    . Disruption. Law

    This post is a précis of an address at the Legal Innovation Index Awards by Dr George Beaton. Courtesy of the hospitality of LexisNexis® Pacific and Janders Dean, I spoke at the Legal Innovation Index Awards in Sydney on August 20, 2015. Over 100 people gathered to celebrate the winners from a very high quality, hotly contested field […]

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  • 20 August, 2015

    Lessons in client complaint handling for every professional services firm

    . Beaton Benchmarks. Law. Professional services

    Beaton is delighted to re-publish ‘Loyalty moments and online dispute resolution – a lesson about complaints?’, the first post from Professor Richard Moorhead on our blog. We are all privileged to have this access to Richard’s insights into many facets of the legal and other professions contributed in an incisive and inimitable style. You are invited to welcome Richard and join […]

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  • 15 August, 2015

    10 reasons BigLaw managing partners are not sleeping very well

    . beatonlive. Brands. Disruption. Law. Strategy

    We have heard at least 10 reasons why BigLaw managing partners are not sleeping very well in recent one-on-one conversations and our beatonlive conferences. Some are deeply worried. Others are truly excited. Here’s a summary of why this dichotomy exists. 

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  • 20 July, 2015

    Pavlovian Pricing & Meritocracy Structures

    . beatonlive. Law. Pricing and Procurement

    Most of us are familiar with Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiments. It is therefore obvious to most that the best way to get the behaviour you want is to provide rewards for doing so, or at least refrain from punishing people for doing them. The flip side is that you have to make sure you’re not […]

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  • 13 July, 2015

    Why clients of BigLaw firms value cost consciousness

    . Beaton Benchmarks. beatonlive. Law. Pricing and Procurement

    Research by Beaton continues to show why clients of BigLaw firms value cost consciousness. If you understand what cost conscious really means to clients, this may not surprise you. But, did you also know that being well rated on cost consciousness by clients allows a firm to exercise price-setting discretion? In other words, you can raise your price – […]

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  • 8 July, 2015

    When is a partner not a partner?

    . Law. Strategy

    ‘When is a partner not a partner?’ is an apt question with which to introduce this post from Ed Reeser and Patrick McKenna, two leading north American experts and commentators on law firm compensation. These U.S. trends and their consequences are increasingly apparent in Australia. Every law firm partner should be fully informed and take their own […]

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  • 7 July, 2015

    Pricing and analytics: Houston, we have a problem!

    . Law. Pricing and Procurement. Strategy

    The refrain; “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”, is essentially a paraphrase of an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Unfortunately, there are some strong parallels between Alice’s aimless wanderings and the approach that many firms apply to the pricing function. […]

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  • 16 June, 2015

    So, you want to list your law firm on the stock market?

    . Law. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy

    The headlines sound marvellous to hard-pressed law firm partners (don’t all weep tears of sympathy into your beer): “Gateley partners to share £25m”. Wow. An exit route and, what’s more, a means of realising a goodwill value for your practice, as well as the return of your capital. What law firm partner could want more? […]

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  • 3 June, 2015

    Four reasons why pricing legal services is not black or white

    . beatonlive. Law. Pricing and Procurement. Strategy

    There at least four reasons why pricing legal services is not black or white. Like brewing coffee, there’s art and science involved in pricing legal services. Richard Burcher, the world’s leading authority on pricing legal services, will be in Australia to lead beatonlive‘s conference The Last Frontier: Profitable Pricing for Law Firms on 6 August 2015 in Sydney.

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  • 1 June, 2015

    State of the MBB, Next Four and Big Four strategy consulting empires

    . Consulting. Management consulting. Mergers & Acquisitions. Strategy

    “Some theories of the business are so powerful that they last for a long time. But eventually every one becomes obsolete” Peter Drucker, The Theory of the Business, September 1994 In October 2013 Clayton Christensen, Dina Wang and Derek van Bever wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review in which they posited consulting is […]

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  • 11 May, 2015

    Will we see a $10 billion BigLaw firm?

    . Law. Strategy

    Will we see a $10 billion BigLaw firm? Is a $10 billion (yes, ten billion) BigLaw firm unthinkable. Is the very thought far-fetched? Perhaps not, as the following analysis suggests.

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  • 11 May, 2015

    Pricing v Billing: Just Semantics?

    . beatonlive. Law. Pricing and Procurement

    I still recall the (somewhat tongue in cheek) advice I had from the senior partner of the firm I was with in the early 80s…  “When you send out a big bill, I mean an eye-watering bill, send it out on a Friday and don’t come to work on Monday – let someone else take […]

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  • 4 May, 2015

    Why every firm needs a Managing Partner, Clients

    . Accounting. Consulting. Consulting engineering. Governance. Law. Management consulting

    If you look around law and other professional service firms, it is clear that after a period of decline, the Managing Partner, Clients role is back in vogue – in Australia at Clayton Utz, King & Wood Mallesons, Herbert Smith Freehills, Ashurst and others – and with good reason. Here’s why.

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  • 28 April, 2015

    Why BigLaw firms go down the money hole

    . Law

    Edwin B. Reeser, returns to Bigger. Better Both? in inimitable style with ‘Why BigLaw firms go down the money hole’ (‘BigLaw’ has been added to Ed’s original headline to emphasise the applicability of his admonitions to firms of the BigLaw business model variety).

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  • 21 April, 2015

    Listed law firms – any lessons for future wannabes?

    . Architecture. beatonlive. Consulting engineering. Engineering. IP & Patents. Law. Mergers & Acquisitions. Other professional services. Strategy

    The announcement on 12 March 2015 that publicly listed law firm Slater + Gordon was to make a AUS$1.2billion acquisition in the UK has debunked the myth that law firms can’t be successfully listed – or has it?

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  • 20 April, 2015

    Why NewLaw in Asia should seek to define itself

    . Asia. Disruption. Law. Strategy

    NewLaw in Asia is an emerging phenomenon and one to watch closely. This post by John Grimley first appeared on Asia Law Portal and is re-published with John’s kind permission. In April of 2013, Richard Granat (@rgranat) asked: Is Axiom Law a Law Firm? in a blogpost which appeared on his widely-read eLawering Blog.  And Granat is well qualified […]

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We hope the conversations that take place on Bigger. Better. Both? blog will be energetic, constructive and thought-provoking. To ensure the quality of the discussion, our moderating team will review all comments and may edit them for clarity, length, and relevance. Comments that are overly promotional, mean-spirited, or off-topic may be deleted per the moderators' judgment.
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