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Heidi Gardner

  • What To Do When the Fighting Over Comp Starts

    November 2, 2017

    An op-ed by Hugh Simons and Heidi Gardner. We know it’s coming. While Big Law on average may eke out growth in profitability this year, about half of firms will see a decline. For many, this will be the second down year in a row. For even more firms, momentum in profitability growth has been lost and increases in profit per equity partner (PPP) are not keeping pace with inflation. When we close the books for 2017, we know what to expect: partners will start to complain bitterly about inequities they perceive in the compensation system.

  • Law Firms Must Transition To An Industry Sector Approach

    October 19, 2017

    In this article, author Heidi Gardner, distinguished fellow at the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession, is interviewed by Anusia Gillespie on the necessity of a law firm's transition to an industry sector approach, and the steps to get there.

  • Why Collaboration in Law and Business Matters (audio)

    October 18, 2017

    An interview with Heidi Gardner. Whether you’re a business executive or a lawyer in a law firm, an in-house counsel or a sole practitioner, you have probably wondered whether collaboration matters to your business and how it can help. Heidi Gardner initially explored these questions during her tenure at McKinsey & Co. She continued that exploration later in the course of obtaining a doctorate on the subject of group collaboration. In her research, spanning what is now a period of 20 years, Dr. Gardner found that teams that fully leverage their members’ talents earn higher margins, inspire greater client loyalty and attract and retain the best talent. Much of that research culminated in her recent book, Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos.

  • Internal Collaboration At Firms Is Key In Complex Market

    October 3, 2017

    As the needs of clients become increasingly complex and professional expertise gets more specialized, collaboration within law firms will be more important than ever, according to a Monday presentation by a Harvard Law School researcher. There is a “significant correlation” between the number of internal connections a professional services provider has and its business outcomes, Heidi Gardner, a distinguished fellow at Harvard Law School, said Monday during her presentation for edTalks, a webinar series put on by Exterro and Georgetown Law Continuing Legal Education. “By collaborating, highly specialized experts can integrate their knowledge to tackle more complex, sophisticated issues than any of them could tackle alone,” Gardner said.

  • The overcommitted organization: Managing the challenges and benefits of multiteaming

    September 21, 2017

    An essay by Mark Mortensen and Heidi K. Gardner...Across the world, senior managers and team leaders are increasingly frustrated by conflicts arising from what we refer to as “multiteaming”—having their people assigned to multiple projects simultaneously. But given the significant benefits of multiteaming, it has become a way of organizational life. It allows groups to share individuals’ time and brainpower across functional and departmental lines. It also increases efficiency and provides pathways for knowledge transfer. As clear as these advantages are, the costs are substantial and need to be managed.

  • Collaboration: Necessary, Not Evil

    July 11, 2017

    An op-ed by Heidi Gardner. Collaboration can be painful. Most people have had a bad team experience. Perhaps someone needed to work overtime to compensate for a free-riding colleague, or sat in a meeting convinced they could be doing a better, speedier job on their own. Others hesitate to even start a collaborative project, worried that teammates might make mistakes, fail to deliver on time or steal credit for the project’s success. Is all that trouble really necessary and worthwhile? In short, yes; at least it is when we’re trying to tackle today’s most complex and multidisciplinary issues.

  • The Surprising Myths and Realities of Law Firm Rainmakers with Dr. Heidi Gardner (audio)

    April 11, 2017

    In this podcast, John McDougall of McDougall Interactive and the blog speaks with Dr. Heidi Gardner of the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession about law firm rainmakers and collaboration following her keynote address at the Thomson Reuters Marketing Partner Forum.

  • Book review: Smart Collaboration by Heidi Gardner

    January 30, 2017

    In the age of revolution, wrote Gary Hamel, the management expert, “it is not knowledge that produces new wealth but insight — insight into opportunities for discontinuous innovation.” We all know businesses must innovate to attract customers with services and products and to update brands. Yet it is too often the big-bang disrupters and inventors that get the attention — the likes of Uber, Airbnb and Facebook. They are dramatic, after all. Yet Heidi Gardner, a former McKinsey consultant and Harvard Business School professor, now at Harvard Law School, argues that subtle innovations and insights from teams of consultants are just as important. Key to achieving these, writes Gardner, is “smart collaboration,” which is also the title of her book. There are two reasons for this, she argues: “Expertise specialisation and the increasing complexity of today’s problems.”

  • What It Takes to Make It Rain: Rainmakers Now, and Rainmakers of the Future

    January 17, 2017

    In the rapidly changing legal industry, it is no surprise that broad conceptions of what it means to be a rainmaker are also evolving. Dr. Heidi Gardner, Lecturer and Distinguished Fellow at the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School, has been conducting research over the past decade on collaboration in law firms. Her findings have also revealed insights into rainmakers: what makes them successful, how their roles changed over time, and how the next generation of rainmakers can be primed to succeed...Based on her decades long research, Dr. Gardner’s answer to whether rainmakers are born is a resounding no. What makes someone a successful rainmaker is their ability to exhibit other sides of their personality, or other strengths and traits, depending on their audience.

  • Law Firm Profits Driven by ‘Smart’ Collaboration

    December 8, 2016

    Lawyers will make more money if they work together — but only if they do it the right way. That’s the premise of Heidi Gardner’s forthcoming book, “Smart Collaboration,” which is set to be released Jan. 3. Gardner, a former McKinsey consultant, has spent more than a year analyzing data from time sheets and personnel records of several law firms to dig into that hypothesis. She came to the conclusion: “Collaboration doesn’t just increase revenues, but profits, too.”...Gardner, who studies the legal profession and lectures at Harvard Law School, caught up with Big Law Business for an interview. She spoke about what “smart collaboration” means for big law firms, the research that went into her new book and what she learned from some of the country’s top lawyers along the way.

  • Law Firm Collaboration: A Way Forward

    September 30, 2015

    Times have been changing for law firms for a while now. They must contend with shrinking revenue streams, due to sophisticated clients with increasingly complicated problems...Dr. Heidi K. Gardner, a Lecturer on Law and Distinguished Fellow at the Center on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School studies law firms and how collaboration works in law firms...Her research analyzes and demonstrates the value of collaboration to the modern law firm, and how effectively collaborating--or getting specialists to work together across the boundaries of their expertise-- can help law firms provide more client-focused service and increase their revenue streams in the process.

  • Harvard Study Lays Out Keys to Collaboration Among Lawyers

    June 29, 2015

    An op-ed by Heidi Gardner: True rainmakers don’t need to be convinced to collaborate: referring work to colleagues and developing a loyal team capable of extraordinary…

  • Harvard Study Part II: Collaboration Strategies for Rainmakers

    June 1, 2015

    An article by Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Scholar, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession. True rainmakers don’t need to be convinced to collaborate: referring work to colleagues and developing a loyal team capable of extraordinary client service is the only way they can build an enormous portfolio. But for many of today’s law firm partners, the link between collaboration and professional success is ambiguous. Is collaboration the source of success, or is it a mere byproduct of rainmakers’ triumphs? When faced with definite rewards for boosting their own billables, does it make sense to hand off work to others? Why should they risk precious control over a client by getting more partners involved?

  • Sound Bites From a Legal Marketing and BD Conference

    May 22, 2015

    Law firm marketers and business development leaders congregated this week at the University Club of New York to discuss how to land new business by mapping out and executing firm strategy, maintaining a digital media presence and working collaboratively with practicing lawyers...Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow and Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School: “The word I hate is ‘cross-selling.’ Clients hate to be cross-sold. If I’m a tax partner and I talk to a client and say, ‘Hey, can I bring my real estate partner along?’ Clients tell me that they think it’s demeaning and condescending. They say, ‘What, do you think I’m stupid and don’t have someone looking over my real estate contracts for me?’ Cross selling is the equivalent of, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ Loyalty is another word I don’t like…. Clients say, ‘Like it or not, I’m kind of stuck with my firm that gives me this cross-disciplinary services, because no other firm is going to match that.’ It’s grudging loyalty.

  • Law firms get closer to boardroom budgets as complexity of issues grows

    March 4, 2015

    Heidi Gardner, a law lecturer at Harvard, has studied six global firms (including three law firms) and the way that their partners and others collaborate. She concluded that 'the more disciplines that are involved in a client engagement, the greater the annual average revenue the client generates'.

  • Law Schools Are (Finally) Teaching ‘The Biz’ Of Lawyering (registration)

    January 13, 2015

    While a student at Harvard Law School, Eva Hibnick took business and marketing electives at Harvard Business School and MIT. However, it wasn’t until a couple of years later, when she left a big law firm to join a startup, that she realized how important personal branding, networking and marketing were...[Silverstein] says she and her friend Heidi Gardner, (an assistant professor who just shifted over from Harvard Business School to Harvard Law School and teaches law firm economics, strategy, marketing and collaboration), are co-authoring the first textbook on law firm business management because “Heidi and I are convinced (these classes) will be part of every law school program in the near future.”...n addition to transitioning Gardner over to the law school, Harvard Law has made other advancements in this area recently and has made “a giant leap from where Harvard Law School was 20 years ago,” says Scott Westfahl, a professor of practice who joined Harvard Law just over a year ago.