Every firm eventually finds itself in need of a new leader, which means the executive committee or board must seek to replace the incumbent.
Concerns over leadership succession and loss of expertise are among the biggest fears cited by current law firm leaders. But surveys show that many firms are doing little more than talk about the problem. Even where firms do have a succession plan in place, this is often found to be based on assumptions with strategic gaps and no realistic contingency plans. The result is that when law firm leaders leave abruptly, firms are thrown into chaos.
The Changing of the Guard is a highly practical step-by-step guide to the various phases that law firms need to work through in a firm leadership selection process, from choosing a nominating committee and setting a timeline, through to analysing candidates' strengths, and transition processes.
- Patrick McKenna is an expert on law firm management and strategy issues and is internationally recognised and acclaimed for his work.
- This report contains a complete framework for law firms to use when developing an effective and coherent process for succession planning.
- Read valuable insight from newly appointed law firm leaders on the succession process within their firm, which highlights the challenges these leaders faced and includes advice for firms about to embark on a similar process.
- Gain contextual knowledge from research and surveys conducted by Patrick McKenna with law firms over the past couple of years.
"Patrick J. McKenna’s latest book, The Changing of the Guard: Selecting Your Next Firm Leader, may be the most comprehensive text on law firm succession ever written, covering every priority from choosing a nominating committee to defining leadership criteria."
"It's worth highlighting some points that McKenna makes in his thorough and informative guidebook. And that's really what it is; a succession bible. He really covers all the bases from selecting a nominating committee with the right composition and setting selection criteria for the next leader, to developing and implementing a transition and integration plan to usher out the former chair or managing partner gracefully and usher in the new one. And, he offers guidance on all of the many steps in between."
"The biggest value of The Changing of the Guard is the way it helps show how best to pass the leadership baton. To use another metaphor, it serves as a beacon to navigating through the rocky waters of succession planning."
Stephen T. Taylor
Senior Editor of Counsel
The Legal Practice Management Report (Vol 34. No.6. June 2015)
Introduction: The leadership succession process
Appendix A: When a firm leader suddenly departs
Part One: Making ready
Chapter 1: Choosing a nominating committee
Chapter 2: Developing your timeline
Chapter 3: Identifying the challenges your next leader will face
Appendix B: When term limits might be considered
Chapter 4: Develop/refine the job description
Chapter 5: Identify your selection criteria
Chapter 6: Identifying specific performance requirements
Chapter 7: Develop a formal written application form and process
Appendix C: When you understand what it takes to be a firm leader
Part Three: Calling for nominations
Chapter 8: Invite your partners to nominate candidates
Chapter 9: Host candidate town hall meet and greets
Chapter 10: Invite confidential input
Chapter 11: Design and structure a formal interview process for candidates
Chapter 12: Analyzing a candidate’s strengths
Appendix D: When firm leaders over-use their strengths
Part Four: Making the decision
Chapter 13: Reporting on results of interviews and confidential commentary
Chapter 14: After selecting your new firm leader
Appendix E: When you select co-managing partners
Part Five: Managing the role of the outgoing leader
Chapter 15: Creating a transition/integration plan
Appendix F: When firm leaders transition
Appendix G: When a firm leader has to let go
Part Six: Talking with Firm LeadersKey contents