Morgan Lewis's chair talks about managing a global law firm and tuning its strengths to meet the needs of clients.
“The firm has grown
from a ‘Philadelphia firm’
to a national presence
to a global legal source.”
- Fran Milone, Chair of the firm
How does the notion of "one firm" play out in day-to-day life at Morgan Lewis?
We've learned to compete externally without competing internally. Office One doesn't compete with Office Two. Practice Group One doesn't compete with Practice Group Two. You solve the client's problems as a seamless team. Our organization rewards people for collaboration, for collegiality and for respect, and the firm is better for it. The fact that Morgan Lewis has so many long-term employees reflects the importance of those values. People won't stay in an organization unless they enjoy it.
What factors distinguish Morgan Lewis in today's market?
Clients today are not just looking for lawyers with degrees from top law schools or lawyers with experience in a given area. Many firms have that. The difference is in the process we have in place to serve our clients' particular needs. Things like responsiveness, efficient work habits, returning phone calls, caring about a client's cost restraints. Communicating is the most important thing that clients want. No surprises.
If credentials and client service are table stakes, what else are clients looking for?
Creativity is what distinguishes good lawyers from mediocre lawyers. It's very simple — we all know the law, we all know the rules, we all know the mechanics of getting things done. The lawyers that can solve problems in the most creative ways are the ones that clients will value — and will come back to.
You sound passionate about your work. Is that a common trait of Morgan Lewis lawyers?
From the first day, we introduce associates to clients. They're immediately involved in solving problems for people they know, either rectifying wrongs or helping people advance and grow their businesses. People trust you. People depend on you. You find yourself becoming friendly with people you've helped. They're blossoming because of what you've done. And that is incredibly rewarding.