Mid-Market Firms: Challenges and Opportunities

May 30, 2019
The HSBC Conference Center
452 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York
R. Max Crane
Sandpiper Partners

This breakfast briefing will bring together a panel of chairmen, managing partners, chief operating officers and chief financial officers of several mid-market law firms, including Sills Cummis & Gross, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, Schulte Roth & Zabel, Pryor Cashman, Herrick Feinstein, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, Outten & Golden, and Selendy & Gay.


A.     State of the Market

  1. Surviving and thriving by being pro-active, innovative, seizing new opportunities, developing niche and specialty practices
  2. Lower rates and alternative fees
  3. Strategic plan critical to the future
  4. Importance of culture; Work/life balance
  5. Embracing technology and leaner staffing
  6. Collaboration with clients
  7. Value-added propositions
  8. Geographic considerations
  9. Referrals to/from larger, smaller firms

B.     Specialization as an Advantage

  1. Realigning practice groups and changing how you market your services
  2. Focused practices
  • Examples of niches—fintech, university technology transfers, craft beer, bicycle manufacturing
  • “Boutique” approach—one or two practices
  • Geographic concentration
  • Crisis management and investigations
  • Targeting industries best suited for mid-sized firms to serve

C.     Business Considerations

  1. Accounting issues and practices
  2. Process improvement and legal excellence
  3. Using data analytics in decision making and governance of the firm
  4. Banking services including escrow, technology and improvements

D.     Technology as an Enabler and Equalizer

  1. Change management—continuous improvement programs
  2. Digital transformation
  3. Invest in current systems upgrades or new tech platforms?
  4. Utilizing third party vendors—evaluation and their role
  5. Examples of most helpful software systems and process

E.      Talent, Laterals and Mergers/Acquisitions

  1. Money vs. culture—differentiators
  2. Retaining talent
  3. Laterals—assessing candidates and their “fit”; the new “science of talent”
  4. Mergers & acquisitions 
  • Why consider?
  • Due diligence
  • Market assessment