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Home / Podcast  / 047: The Importance and Impact of Leadership on Law Firms with Glenn Gutek and Keith Donovan

Have you ever wondered what it takes to lead a successful law firm? 

On this week’s Great Practice, Great Life®, this week’s guest host, Glenn Gutek, chats with Keith Donovan, the managing partner of Morris James, as he shares his remarkable career trajectory from an insurance defense litigator to the leader of a prominent law firm. With a “people first” approach, Keith delves into a leader’s capacity, revealing his leadership style that values fairness, understands the strengths and weaknesses of his team, and cultivates an environment that fosters growth, all inspired by his passion for sports and coaching.

Glenn and Keith’s conversation takes a turn as they talk about the intricate balance between financial success and maintaining a firm’s culture. Keith gives us an inside look into his strategies for ensuring his partners don’t feel the need to apologize for wanting to make more money. He provides insight into the complex interplay between trust, culture, and financial success in law firms and his experience helping his partners earn more while preserving the firm’s cultural integrity.

True to his “people first” philosophy, Keith emphasizes the importance of understanding the firm’s compensation model and how decisions can impact people’s actions. He encourages having conversations with a diverse group of people to keep yourself sharp and innovative as a leader.

Tune in to hear more about leadership, compensation, and the unique challenges of running a law firm straight from an industry expert!

In this episode, you will hear:

  • Keith Donovan’s transition from insurance defense litigator to the head of a full-service law firm and his thoughts on leadership
  • Taking a “people first” approach to leadership, treating everyone fairly, recognizing individual strengths and weaknesses, and fostering an environment conducive to growth and success
  • How sports helped shape Keith’s leadership style
  • The balance between financial success and firm culture
  • His strategy to foster a culture where partners are unapologetic about financial aspirations while maintaining the firm’s core values
  • Why you must understand the law firm’s compensation model and its impact on behavior
  • Challenges in leadership roles, particularly in building trust, maintaining culture while increasing financial success, and dealing with criticism and resistance
  • The value of engagement in maintaining effective leadership and ensuring the overall success of the firm

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Supporting Resources:

Glenn Gutek: Certified Practice Advisor

Tailored Coaching

Practice Growth Program®

Dominate Your Market®

Double Your Revenue® Workshop

Morris James LLP

Keith Donovan: Managing Partner

Steve Riley

Certified Practice Advisor & Attorney

Steve Riley has coached attorneys for more than 20 years. His one-on-one coaching focuses on a limited number of top producing attorneys committed to taking their practices to new levels of excellence, profit, and personal success. He also presents at group coaching workshops around the country for individual law firms, state bar associations, and other legal organizations.

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