Dickstein Shapiro Closes Its DoorsBy Burkey Belser
February 18, 2016
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported the demise of Dickstein Shapiro, another longtime Washington D.C. legal institution. One consultant noted a possible cause to be too much real estate which is, "a common predicament for firms that wind up failing." But our research of old firms (Why Firms Fail, Why Firms Succeed) proves that surplus real estate is not a cause, but a symptom of imminent failure.
The recent history of defections and poor revenue all point to the lack of leadership.We have kept our 2001 research up-to-date as other law firms have collapsed (e.g. Howrey, Dewey LeBoeuf, etc).What we learned then remains true now: managing a partnership demands a different kind of leadership in 2016 than was required in 1986.
Partners move from firm to firm like football players who "chase the money." The old law firm covenant—we'll take care of you through thick and thin—has long been replaced by the contract -- perform or go. A partnership based on a loose affiliation requires inspirational leaders who plan strategically and manage risk effectively. This means tough decisions must be made about performance, strategic focus and your, well, let's call it your "salary cap."