Duane Morris Case Analyses
1. What factors have led to Duane Morris's success? What prompted their late-1990s growth spurt? 2. How should Duane Morris plan to integrate their new acquisition? 3. What are the biggest risks faced by the firm in the next 5-10 years? Duane Morris strategy evolved over time while leveraging its history. The strategy was shaped by its environment, resources and leadership. The degree of congruence between the people, the tasks, the informal and formal organization was relatively high, which led to a successful growth and profitability. * Duane Morris compensation structure is one factor that was well aligned with the company’s strategy from formal organization perspective and led to its success. The process was transparent, flexible and rewarded teamwork. The firm used quantitative analysis combined with qualitative aspects to be able to reward employees for contributing to the overall functioning of the firm supports. This flexibility empowered employees to utilize their time in the most effective way for the firm instead of struggling to perform functions that they are not as strong at as their colleagues. In addition, “attorneys who did work for other attorneys’ clients received substantial credit for this work.” This reinforced teamwork and as a result promoted the firm’s business strategy of cross-selling, as evident by 20% of revenues originating from interoffice business. Lastly, Duane Morris chose to underpay its leadership and keep low spread. This supported their value of teamwork and collegial work environment by preventing tension and politics among the partners. * Promotion is another factor. The ratio of partners to associates was law relative to other firms. This was a differentiating aspect that enables to firm to provide experienced service to its client and ultimately stay competitive in generating business, retaining clients, and charging higher fees. Additionally, the firm treated equity and non-equity partners practically equal in all aspects. This aligned everyone’s motivation with the firm’s interests, removed tensions and increased collegiality. Such collegiality reduced employee turnover and improved cohesive teamwork, which translated into better service for the client. * The firm’s culture (informal organization) supported active listening and consensus-based decision making. The process allowed for all questions and concerns to be heard and ideally lead to a better decision. Though this process could be slow and lead to groupthink, it did reinforce teamwork, collegial relationships and trust in the leadership. * Duane Morris’ business approach to their management was unique and another factor in their success. The firm spent significant time on strategic planning, developing 5-year plans and coordinating across their offices. This aligned the entire firm to fight in the same direction and since everyone was doing it together, it supported the collaborative teamwork culture. In addition, using analytics and data to make “strategic decisions based on something other than intuition” allowed the firm to dedicate their efforts and resources to the most profitable practices. This reliance on information and trends to assess profitability, risk and opportunity provided for a understanding of future needs and greater confidence in its growth strategy. These “strong underlying [business] fundamentals are what gave [the firm] the ability to sustain its growth” and successful compete in the marketplace.
* Lifting out experiencing team vs. hiring associates. After 4 months they turned profitable. This allows for a quicker growth, supporting their growth strategy. On the same time most time the lift outs were small-scale because it allows to smooth integration into to firm’s culture. Pg. 17 – “start-up cost and profitable within 4 months” did not subsidize offices – lifting out experienced ppl allows to grow quickly and profitability bc they can hit...
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