23 — Andrew Finkelstein — Building The Law Firm of the Future

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"The future of law is a consolidation, and I think people ought to prepare for that." - Andrew Finkelstein

  • How do law, business, tech, and consumer advocacy go hand in hand?
  • Can you detect toxic company culture before going into business with a firm?
  • Why are the busiest people oftentimes the worst procrastinators?
  • Are client surveys really still relevant for the law firm of the future?

Andrew Finkelstein and the Business of Law: Four Firms and Counting

In 1991, Andrew Finkelstein joined his father’s firm in Orange County, New York by literally getting himself a seat at the table — he didn't even have his own desk! His career has been characterized by his ability to carve himself a unique niche that sits astride law, business, technology, and consumer advocacy.

Now heading up four law firms, Finkelstein joins us to share his game changing story and vision for where the legal industry is headed.

Technology and the Human Factor: Is This the Future of Law Firms?

Early on, Finkelstein knew that technology was vital to running future-proof firms. Right from the get-go, he viewed the firm as a business — a software company that just happened to practice law. Today, over 70% of his business comes from existing and prior clients.

Finkelstein credits his success to the winning formula of investments in technology, incessant dedication to customer service, and constant self-analysis. He explains why every law firm needs to develop a client-centric approach, and why the future of law firms is consolidation.

When Mergers Go Sideways: Why Company Culture Still Rules

With an MBA and a formidable track record, you'd think that every merger Andrew Finkelstein is involved with is an instant success. He shares with us the story of the one he had to walk away from. This firm ticked all the boxes, from inventory and business opportunity to its ability to withstand a transition period. So what went wrong? Two words: company culture.

Finkelstein explains the cultural conflict and misalignment that was unacceptable to him, how he came to the realization that the merger wasn't viable, and why purported rockstar firms — or employees — sometimes aren't what they seem.

Key takeaways:

  • Compassion first. When dealing with clients, the human factor is what will set you apart from your competitors. If you see law as a service industry, then your competitors should be world class organizations: Amazon, Apple, Netflix.
  • Don't underestimate surveys. Whether it's from your staff or clients, the only way to find out how you're really doing from a human perspective is to collect anonymous feedback. Sometimes it might sting, but knowledge is a superpower that opens the door to real growth.
  • Procrastination is the antithesis of success. Sometimes the busiest people are the biggest procrastinators out there, whether it's conscious or subliminal. Tackle that pile of difficult or uncomfortable work head on, and the rest will be smooth sailing.

Links And Resources

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