Facing and Overcoming Law Firm Business-Development Challenges
Gerry Riskin is a Canadian lawyer and business school graduate with a global reputation as an author, management consultant and pioneer in the field of professional firm economics and marketing. After winning two Queen Elizabeth Scholarships, he practiced law from 1973, in 1979 becoming a partner with one hundred-year-old Emery Jamieson and then in 1984 becoming the Managing Partner of Snyder & Company with offices in Canada and Hong Kong. Gerry was consistently one of the top three rainmakers in his firm and quickly began to develop a reputation which led to a demand for his abilities to teach others to do the same.
In 1983, Gerry co-founded The Edge Group which in January 2001 evolved into Edge International. Over our history we have topped the list in a survey depicting the most popular marketing consultants by major U.S. firms and have been named one of the top three legal consultancies by U.S. Managing Partners.
Gerry has served the Conference Board of Canada, is a Visiting Fellow of The College of Law in London and a Visiting Professor at the University or Pretoria in South Africa and is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management
Gerry co-authored, at Butterworths’ request, a text on the marketing of legal services called Practice Development: Creating the Marketing Mindset, and, for The Institute for Best Practices, two works for those in firms with management responsibilities: Herding Cats and beyond KNOWING, both of which have become management best-sellers (Herding Cats has remained on the “Canadian Management Bestsellers” list for several years).
A popular facilitator, teacher and retreat speaker, Gerry is a widely recognized expert on managing professional service firms, described by The Financial Post as “Canada’s professional firm management and marketing guru, with a client base stretching from Britain to the United States.” Professional marketing pioneer, Bruce Marcus, said of him in Competing for Clients, “Light years ahead of almost everybody else, his clientele is indeed worldwide.” Recently, the head of a national conference said of Gerry’s session, “As far as I’m concerned, that was the best practice-related seminar I’d ever attended!” His highly interactive approach mixed with energy and humour keeps attendees engaged and eager for more.
Gerry has clients which include the most prominent professional service firms in the world, has led numerous workshops, retreats and seminars and has been engaged to assist firms requiring marketing, strategic planning, one-on-one coaching, merging, multi-office management, practice group and industry group management, client relations skills training and management training.
Edge International is truly global with active clients in the USA, the UK, Europe, CIS (formerly Russia), Canada, Australia, the Far East, South Africa and elsewhere, in all, over 30 countries. He has consulted and/or presented for private firms and at the request of, among others, the Canadian Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Law Society of the UK, Institute of Law Firm Management (ILFM), Centaur Conferences, The Financial Times, the National Association of Law Firm Marketing Administrators (NALFMA), and numerous other sponsors and conference providers in places which include Adelaide, Albuquerque, Amsterdam, Atlanta, Auckland, The Bahamas, Bangkok, Bogota, Barcelona, Brighton, Brisbane, British West Indies, Brussels, Cape Town, Chicago, Dublin, Durban, Helsinki, Hilton Head, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jacksonville, Johannesburg, Kiawa Island, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Madison, Melbourne, Memphis, Melbourne, Montevideo, Montreal, Mumbai, New Delhi, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Paris, Portland, St. Maarten, Santiago, Singapore, Sydney, Tampa, Tasmania, Toronto, Vienna, Washington D.C., San Diego, San Francisco, Saskatoon, Seattle, Sydney, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.
Gerry lives in the British West Indies.
Book sections include: The Foundations of Success; Successfully Managing the Client Relationship; Putting Client-Relations Skills to Work; Increasing Your Value; The Business of Law; and Time and Money. Chapter titles include: “Courting Prospective Clients,” “Meeting Prospective Clients,” “Managing Client Expectations,” “Becoming More Valuable,” “Dealing with Difficult People,” “Harnessing Technology,” “Managing Time,” and many others.
Tom Peters, the highly acclaimed writer on business-management practice and author of In Search of Excellence, has described The Successful Lawyer as “Well argued and exceptionally practical.”
The Kindle version is readable on any electronic device, and you can obtain a Kindle app for any device you have. There’s a link to the app on the Amazon page where the book is listed. You can also order The Successful Lawyer from your favourite independent bookseller.
“This work is an arrow to the heart of the leadership matter. In the competitive environment faced by professionals today, classic management styles of the past simply do not work anymore. This incredibly pragmatic work by McKenna and Riskin is not only valuable, but crucial. If there is a more useful or practical view of the situation than you or I might have thought of, you can bet that these two will have found it — and you will find it in this comprehensive spectrum of leadership guidelines for the professional practitioner. Any firm leaders who do not learn what is in this handbook can expect to be surpassed in the marketplace by those who do.”
—Bruce Marcus, author of Competing for Clients
“Herding Cats is both profound and practical. There exists no better guide to influencing and leading professionals. This is must-reading.”
—David Maister, author of Managing the Professional Service Firm, True Professionalism, The Trusted Advisor and Practice What You Preach
“When I first received Herding Cats, I put it aside for vacation reading. When I picked it up again, I read it from cover to cover and said, ‘WOW! What great ideas and thoughts.’ I immediately ordered a copy for each of our department chairs and practice group leaders. For me, the most powerful idea in the publication is ‘Focusing on Innovating — Not Fixing.’ This single idea has changed the way we manage our firm.”
—John S. Oyler, Managing Partner, McNees Wallace & Nurick
“This handbook is just the ticket for busy Management Committee lawyers in the firm — a quick read but far from shallow. More like a fast, cool dip in the deep end — and just as refreshing.
—David Cruickshank, Director of Professional Development, Gowling Strathy & Henderson
“After I finished reading Herding Cats, I did what any good leader would do: I ordered 30 more copies for our practice groups. You will not find as much wisdom and experience about law firm management in any other single place.”
—Joseph V. Walker, President & Chief Executive Officer, Plunkett & Cooney
“You must have been spending considerable time in our office to be aware of so many of the issues that affect us. I ordered multiple copies of Herding Cats to circulate among my partners, which lent the voice of authority to many of the decisions made. For a relatively small volume, there is considerable content and substance.”
—Robert Cohen, Managing Partner, Blaney McMurtry Stapells Friedman
“Herding Cats succinctly presents basic management and leadership principles that are all too often forgotten. It is an easy and quick read and probably should be read a few times a year by anyone who leads a law firm or a practice group within a law firm.”
—Lawrence Gerber, Managing Partner, McDermott Will & Emery
“I certainly enjoyed reading your original publication of Herding Cats and I must confess I have heard it more accurately described recently as more akin to ‘herding tigers.’ I feel that your publication brings together in a clear and concise manner some of the fundamental issues that face those involved in managing professional service firms.”
—John Churchill, Managing Partner, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Australia
“Forget the latest business blockbuster and the management theory-of-the-month club. Herding Catshas more practical, useful information on leading a professional service firm than anything I have come across in years. It is a half-hour reading investment that pays off with a recommitment to innovation, communication and true leadership.”
—William L. Matthews, Managing Partner, Plante & Moran CPA, LLP
“A number of our practice leaders have shared Herding Cats with both their clients and the professional staff in their offices. The book provides many helpful ‘compass’ guidelines that allow leaders to set their courses and navigate their way through critical practice leadership issues. The partners in our group found Herding Cats to be uniquely on point in addressing their needs as leaders in a highly-matrixed, consultative, professional services organization.”
—R. Todd Rossel, National Director of Human Resources, Management Solutions & Services, Deloitte & Touche, LLP
“Herding Cats has been a real hit and an inspiration! Your insights cut across the spectrum of human nature, giving something of value to every reader.”
—Donald J. Figura, Managing Partner, Wolf & Company CPA
“Leadership is a critical issue in today’s professional services company. As firms move to a more corporate environment, the advice and commentary in Herding Cats is not only essential, but helps the firm leader maintain perspective. It is a must-read for every practice leader.”
—Jim Fitzpatrick, Partner, McGladrey & Pullen and Director of the McGladrey Network
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