For the first time in its 70-year history, Seyfarth Shaw has hired a chief strategy officer to weigh in on its business endeavors and guide the firm’s brand and market strategy.
Joshua Kubicki, who previously served Seyfarth in an advisory capacity with the consulting firm Legal Transformation Institute LLC , announced his start date as July 1 on the firm’s page on the media website Medium .
Kubicki wrote in a letter posted to the site, “In recent decades, firms in the AmLaw200 have become chained to the short-term. They think, plan and make choices with this fiscal year in mind, narrowly focusing on inorganic pathways to growth such as lateral recruitment, acquisitions, and mergers.”
Kubicki wrote that one way Seyfarth has differentiated itself in the last decade is to create a business model that is committed to “doing the right thing for our clients — for the long haul and not just this fiscal year.”
On his personal website, Kubicki markets himself as helping clients “leverage design driven innovation to better access legal markets,” which he breaks down as designing new ways to deliver services, creating intelligent content and taking courageous actions.
Big Law Business caught up with Kubicki, an adjunct professor of law at Michigan State University with knowledge of the legal startup market. He explained that his “mandate and goal is to help Seyfarth further its innovation game.”
“Prior to this, Seyfarth hasn’t needed to do that, but now we are seeing an increase in competition,” said Kubicki, pointing to firms such as Littler Mendelson and alternative service providers such as Axiom, United Lex and Potomac Law Group that are introducing new services models and landing legal market share.
“They are not just embedding lawyers with clients, but landing five-year deals,” he said. "They aren’t necessarily eating into Seyfarth’s business, so to speak, but they have a ravenous appetite. As long as they are knocking at the door, we are going to beat them to the punch and stay in front of them.”
While the chief strategy officer position is new to Seyfarth, it is not a first in the law firm industry. Other established firms have had them, including Kaye Scholer, Blank Rome and Davis Wright Tremaine. Its role is generally to oversee marketing, business development and practice management and help develop go-to-market strategies.
At Seyfarth, Kubicki will serve a level below the managing partner and executive committee, he said.
Jordan Furlong, a law consultant, said that what’s different about Kubicki’s approach is that he plans on creating a strategic plan based on the needs of the market, as opposed to “most law firm strategies,” which “if you look at them closely, are primarily there to serve the firm’s own interests and preferences.”
“Not enough firms have figured out how important that is yet.”