Nearly 40 Percent of Law Firms Waste C-Suite Talent

By Roy Strom,

Are you a law firm executive? Do you feel underutilized by the partnership you serve? You’re not alone.

A survey released Wednesday by ALM Intelligence found 39 percent of the growing law firm executive ranks did not feel they played a pivotal role affecting the future of their firms.

But there were other signs that these executives are making progress. For instance, 65 percent of respondents said they attend executive committee meetings—13 percent said they cast a vote; likely reflecting the number of respondents who were also partners.

There is no doubt law firm management roles for nonlawyer professionals have blossomed over the past decade. But the survey shows that some firms still struggle with empowering those professionals to manage increasingly complex businesses. Giving C-suite executives greater influence is the last and perhaps most difficult step in the industry’s long slog away from being managed solely by lawyers.

“A lot of these executives do feel underutilized still, and they are underutilized still, in many respects in some firms,” said Amanda Brady, global practice leader of recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa’s law firm management practice. “Certainly their voice carries a lot farther than it used to. And it’s still changing, but firms and management committees are still struggling to frankly let these people do everything they could do with their skill set.”

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