Stepping into the complex world of ‘magic circle’ law firms, Dan Binstock from Garrison, a DC-based attorney search firm, joins forces with Gary Miles, President and CEO of Miles Partner Placement. They’re back on the podcast to shed light on the strategic growth challenges and opportunities for these elite law firms. They tackle the critical need for firms to differentiate themselves in a competitive market, cautioning against unnecessary changes. The conversation also covers the recent Allen & Overy and Shearman & Sterling merger, illustrating the struggles magic circle firms face when trying to expand beyond New York.

The episode takes an intriguing turn with a discussion on the closure of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan after nearly 150 years. Dan shares an insightful story that might have signaled early signs of trouble for the firm. Gary points out that ups and downs are part of a firm’s life cycle, highlighting the importance of strong leadership and strategic planning.

Throughout the discussion, the respect these industry experts have for each other is clear. Tune in to gain valuable insights into what lies ahead for corporate law firms.

“I think some of the magic circle firms may not have anticipated some of the challenges in getting US partners to buy into the global platform. I think there are benefits to certain practice areas, but as a whole, it’s not always the easiest sell, despite having a lot of positive elements.” (4:00 | Dan Binstock)
“There’s one theme that usually runs through most firms: crashes. We’re talking big and even small, and one thing that you can always look to is, ‘Does the firm have a succession plan for leadership? Does the firm have leadership, that is, the old terms of where they want to take the firm and grow it from the base of where it is, or is the firm leadership reacting to situations that the firm is constantly faced with in a competitive market?” (11:12 | Gary Miles)
“I think the lesson learned is that firms shouldn’t wait until things on a scale of one to 10 are at an eight and till they’re being reactive, like Gary’s saying, when things get to like a five or six in any situation is when the rumbling starts, you almost have to be a little bit more paranoid about the rumbling to be proactive.” (13:57 | Dan Binstock) “I think firms that want to be strategic and impactful in their growth really do need to figure out how they are distinguishing themselves from the herd in the marketplace. What is it about them, their infrastructure, their culture, their platform, how they internally do things that makes them different from firms XYZ?” (21:52 | Gary Miles)
Audiogram “You never know what slogan or statement or principle that gets pulled out. If it’s emphasized the right way, in the right story context, by a talented, experienced recruiter, you can never measure the impact of that.” (26:17 | Gary Miles)