Call it Heresy, But Law Firms Require an Outside Perspective

, The Am Law Daily


Dewey & LeBoeuf's collapse is just the latest example of why law firm leaders need to look beyond their firms' inner circles and bring in outside directors.

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What's being said

  • not available

    "To the authors’ knowledge, no firm has added outside members to its governing body." British law firms Addleshaw Goddard, SJ Berwin and Irwin Mitchell all have external non-executive directors on their boards. The June 2012 edition of UK journal 'Managing Partner' contains an article on the topic of non-executive directors in law firms. It can be found here (subscription required): Rob Millard

  • Patrick McKenna

    Interestingly, a number of large European (NautaDutilh) and Australian law firms have had outside, non-lawyer directors for years (the Australian firm I'm thinking of has a director who is a McKinsey partner). So, perhaps there are already examples worthy of being replicated. That said, there are countless business case studies wherein corporations have been accused of placing "yes" men on their boards such that just having an outsider may not do much if these people don't ask the tough questions. I think the point about concentration of decision-making among just a few partners combined with an apparent lack of transparency is more central to the issue of why these firms have imploded.

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