My Blog - Connecting the Dots

The big picture revealed by 2016 results of the Am Law 100 – as explained in our American Lawyer article

Posted by Jack Bostelman on May 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

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This is a joint post by David Barnard & Mark Shapiro of Blaqwell and Jack Bostelman of KM/JD Consulting

Blaqwell is a pre-eminent consultancy that advises top law firms on high-level issues, such as strategy, mergers & acquisitions, compensation systems, performance measurement and lateral hiring strategies.

KM/JD Consulting advises leaders of Am Law 200 firms how to improve practice group productivity and achieve real follow-through from lawyers on internal initiatives.

Our joint posts form a series

1. The top 5 issues for law firm leaders – Questions law firm leaders should consider in order to assess the firm's current competitive situation and identify areas for change.

2. The 5 considerations in determining whether your firm can change – How to determine whether the firm is ready for change, and how to prepare it for change.

3. What is a strategy? And why you need one – The right way to create a roadmap for successful change.

4. How to choose a strategy - and why it must include growth (Pt. 2 of strategy series) - The two strategic paths available to law firms today.

5. How to build a strategy to focus and excel at a handful of businesses (Pt. 3 of strategy series) – How to flesh out a directional decision to grow deep into a detailed strategy.

Trends revealed by the 2016 results

Our article analyzing trends revealed by the 2016 results of the Am Law 100 firms was published recently in the American Lawyer. Our article updates the findings of our recent blog post describing trends based on the prior year's data. (Click here if you prefer a downloadable PDF of our article rather than linking to the American Lawyer web site.) Our American Lawyer article addresses the following:

  • Is a small group of firms continuing to grow its already outsize share of Am Law 100 profits?
  • Does this stratification matter to firms outside the group? Why?
  • What competitive tiers are emerging? Which firms are in which tiers? What factors contribute to success as the industry stratifies? What are the competitive implications of being in a particular tier?
  • What is the most important metric for predicting a firm's long-term success?
  • Is absolute size important to a firm's long-term success? Why?
  • What paths to success are available to firms not in the leading tier?
  • How fast are the identified trends playing out?
  • What do these trends imply for the merger and lateral markets this year?


There is opportunity for great performance by firms, and rich reward to their partners, in each of the emerging competitive tiers. As firms below the leading tier set their strategies, though, they need to be mindful of the additional and growing competitive risks presented by the trends identified in our article.

[Photo credit: © ALM Media Properties, LLC]

About the Author

Jack Bostelman

Jack Bostelman is the president and principal consultant of KM/JD Consulting LLC. Before founding KM/JD Consulting, Jack practiced law in New York for 30 years as a partner of pre-eminent AmLaw 20 firm Sullivan & Cromwell.


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About Us

KM/JD Consulting LLC renders impartial practice management advice to law firms on improving efficiency, increasing profits and reducing risk, emphasizing knowledge strategy.

Jack Bostelman, President

Before founding KM/JD Consulting LLC, Jack practiced law in New York for 30 years as a partner of pre-eminent AmLaw 20 firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

Visit My Blog - Connecting the Dots

How a practice management technique called knowledge strategy can help law firm leaders achieve strategic goals – ideas from a former AmLaw 20 senior partner.