Clause 8

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

U.S. Const. Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 8

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Clause 8, Episode 20: Bruce MacEwen – Adam Smith, Esq.

  August 4, 2020

On the latest episode of the Clause 8 podcast, Eli interviews Bruce MacEwen – the founder and president of Adam Smith, Esq. Bruce is recognized as the world’s leading expert on the economics of law firms, has written thousands of articles on the subject, and provides advice to select firms about how to succeed in the changing legal landscape.

The Great Recession spurred lots of talk about innovation, technology, alternative fee arrangements, new compensation structures, and countless of other ways that law firms need to change. However, the economic boom that followed has allowed “Big Law” firms to continue to thrive without making any substantial changes. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused painful flashbacks for many law firm leaders who previously led their firms through the Great Recession. At the same time, the continued uncertainty and uneven impact on the economy, has made it much more difficult for law firms to decide what steps need to be taken. For example, in the IP field, there was an initial slowdown of litigation work while patent prosecution work remained relatively stable.

Eli reached out to Bruce to get his thoughts about how law firms have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, what law firm leaders should be thinking about while navigating this moment in time, and the business of law in general.

On this episode, Eli and Bruce discuss:

  • Why Bruce thought there was something off about law firms by Thanksgiving of his first year as an associate
  • How companies select & manage outside counsel
  • Tension of building in-house law departments v. relying on outside counsel
  • Why law firms refuse to do recession scenario planning
  • Surprising nimbleness of law firms
  • Law firms being much more thoughtful and humane in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic than they were during the “Great Financial Reset of 2008”
  • Why successful law firm partners can be dynamite for law firms
  • Rethinking real estate needs of law firms
  • Different law firm models – “Best-in-breed” law firms v. full-service law firms
  • Boutiques and benefits of a lawyer’s practice being at the core of what a firm does
  • Using Net Promoter Score (NPS) to evaluate law firms
  • Law firms deciding whether to invest in a practice area
  • Vision and hunger being the key to starting a successful boutique law
  • Difference between lawyers who succeed v. fail
  • much more!

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