Lawyers enjoy using the prefix “non”. Nonlawyer, nonequity partner; as someone who was not a lawyer once told me, “I don’t like being referred to as a non anything.”

For law firms, making someone a partner is a little like a marriage. It brings legal obligations, creates emotional bonds, and can be hard to escape. Making someone a nonquity partner, on the other hand, is like living with someone. If you don’t like how it’s going, you can just cut your losses and move on. No fuss, no muss.

The concept of the nonequity partner tier has been around for a long time. ). But it has picked up considerable steam in the last decade as firms grappled with large groups of associates becoming eligible for partnership. Perhaps, given the numbers, equity partners were not as familiar with many of the associates who were eligible for partnership as they once were. These were often associates the equity partners were perhaps unsure of but didn’t want to lose (aka let’s hedge our bets). All too often, these were, unfortunately, women and people of color.Continue Reading Swelling Ranks of Nonequity Partners In Law Firms: It’s Not Personal. It’s Just Business

One of my favorite podcasts is Legal Speak, produced by Charles Garner. The topics are always interesting. The guests consistently offer thought-provoking ideas and positions.

Last week’s episode was entitled Why There Will Never Be a One-Size-Fits-All Solution to the Remote Work Conundrum. The podcast consisted of an interview by Patrick Smith with Ira Coleman, chairman of the large law firm McDermott Will & Emery.

It’s important at the outset to recognize and commend Coleman and his firm on the remote work issue. Many of his opinions recognized and were sensitive to the needs of lawyers. Many of his views were nuanced and recognize the needs of associates for flexibility in their work lives. Much more than many law firms, he and his firm demonstrate forward thinking and a recognition of new work realities.

But somewhat contrary to the title, Coleman’s position seemed to be that data supports the idea that lawyers (mainly associates) who work in an office somehow perform better. Better than those associates who work more at home. Continue Reading Remote Work: Lawyers Can’t Handle the Truth

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again. June 1971

Lots of speculation these days about what the new normal for law firms, especially larger ones, will look like. Will law firms continue to allow remote work? Or will they mandate a return to the office? Will they, as one firm has done ” strongly encourage” return (wink, wink, nod, nod)? Will they tell associates they can work at home…but if you want to be on the partner track….Continue Reading Law Firms and the New Normal: Meet the New Boss?

It makes perfect sense for business people to lead practice groups, law firms and even corporate legal departments. But lawyers are held back by hubris and an antiquated business structure.
 
 
Kate Tompkins is the Practice Group Leader of Latrobe GPM’s Intellectual Property Group. And she is not a practicing lawyer; she doesn’t even have a JD.
 
Marlene Gebauer and Greg Lambert recently interviewed Tompkins on their Geek In Review Podcast. If you don’t subscribe to this podcast, I strongly recommend it. It’s always interesting and enlightening.

Continue Reading Can a Non-JD Professional Head a Practice Group? A Law Firm? The (Gasp) GC Office?