Lessons for Managing Partners

How does a managing partner learn to be a great managing partner? How does he or she even know what makes a managing partner good at what they do? Is there a road map or book of directions to follow? Most importantly, where do you find inspiration to up your game?

If you are a managing partner of a large firm of 50, 75, or 100 or more lawyers, there are a couple of annual conferences you can attend to find out. These conferences are hosted by well-known international and national consulting firms. The quality of any one of these conferences is consistently high. The cost is exceptionally high. But where the future success of the firm is concerned, the price is no meaningful obstacle.

The only problem is that the solutions presented at these conferences may not be useful for your firm if it is not “BigFirm.” Such was the sage advice of Michael W. King, Esquire, the long-term managing partner of Stock and Leader in York, PA. Following his attendance at the inaugural What You Didn’t Learn in Law School Conference, he wrote, “My administrator and I enjoyed and learned from the conference. It was particularly helpful to be surrounded by other firms of roughly our size. Many of the programs I’ve attended are dominated by the 100+ lawyer firms, and while the issues are the same, the solutions are usually not.

There’s an old saying that success is one part perspiration, and one part inspiration. Where does a managing partner go to find that inspiration? Following her attendance at the inaugural What You Didn’t Learn in Law School Conference, Joni Berner, Esquire, the managing partner of Berner & Klaw in Philadelphia, PA, wrote, “I started writing this email in my head when I was driving home Saturday afternoon. The conference was fabulous. The content was interesting, well-paced, organized and informative. More than that, however, something about the process set loose my imagination about the present and future course of my firm, and I am exhilarated. I finally feel like I know what I’m supposed to be doing — and, it’s not just stamping out today’s fire or announcing great ideas ‘we should do’ with little or no follow up.

I founded the Managing Partner Development Institute to provide educational and other resources to managing partners of small and mid-sized firms. Tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of the silent majority of firms which have been ignored for too long. Our second conference is fast approaching. It will be held at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center on January 11th and 12th. If you’re from a small or mid-size firm, don’t miss it! My partners and I promise that it will provide an invaluable road map to success in your role as managing partner, and for your firm, all with a heavy dose of inspiration.


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