As a former general counsel and chief executive officer, Kent counsels the leaders of Am Law 100, 200, Global 100 and leading specialty firms on the challenges and opportunities they face, in an increasingly competitive industry, as a result of the globalization, consolidation, specialization, and segmentation of the market for legal services.

He specializes in strategic growth planning (at the firm-wide, practice, industry sector, and office levels), law firm mergers and other combinations (particularly as a vehicle to accelerate the achievement of a firm’s strategic plan), and client service interviews (to identify, develop, and strengthen key client relationships). As part of this work, he routinely conducts one-on-one, in-person interviews with chief legal officers, managing directors and business unit heads of Fortune 500 and global companies.

He is a contributor to The National Law Journal and regularly appears as a legal analyst on national television, including on CNN’s HLN, Fox News Channel, FOX Business News Channel, and The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live.

He also appears in a diverse range of print and online media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg BNA, CNBC.com, The American Lawyer Magazine, Am Law Daily, Law360 and Reuters.

He is a sought-after speaker at law firm retreats and in law firm leadership meetings.

Recent examples of Kent’s work include:

  • Firm-wide strategic planning for a Global 15 firm;
  • Firm-wide strategic planning for an Am Law 50 firm;
  • Firm-wide strategic planning for an Am Law 100 firm;
  • Exclusive collaboration with a preeminent professor at Harvard Business School on research about best practices of high-performing law firms;
  • Advising the leadership of an independent Chicago firm on its successful combination with a larger firm;
  • Advising the leadership of an Am Law 100 firm on its successful combination with a smaller Houston firm;
  • Advising the leadership of a leading UK firm on its interest in combining with a US firm; and
  • Development and launch of client service interview programs for three of the Global 15 firms.

His clients have commented:

  • “You have been a great help to us in reflecting on our strengths and challenges and your presentation today was another example of the value of our relationship.” – Chair of the Executive Committee of a Global 15 firm
  • “To say you were well received and highly regarded would be understatements.” – Executive Committee member of a nationally preeminent specialty firm.
  • "You bring a tremendous amount of credibility to the process and we appreciate your efforts and advice. You make us look good.” – Vice Chair of an Am Law 200 firm
  • “It shows some smarts to do this.  And they hired you to do it, which shows they are brilliant.” –General Counsel of a Fortune 10 Company
  • “You are a great listener.” – Chair of the Management Committee of an Am Law 25 firm
  • “You are the definition of value. I relish opportunities to work with you!” – CMO, Am Law 100 firm
  • “We could not have done it without you.” – Managing Partner of a leading specialty firm, reflecting on the successful combination of his firm with another firm

Kent is known for having a sophisticated understanding of the evolving legal market and an inside view of the strategies and best practices of high-performing law firms.  He is also known for successfully guiding his clients toward achievement of their aspirations.  He anticipates and plans ahead for what might be needed as issues evolve. Clients appreciate his positive energy, can-do approach, responsiveness, innovative thinking, and calm demeanor as he develops differentiated strategies.  His reputation as a trusted advisor has attracted a loyal and far-reaching audience for his work and insights.

Before joining Zeughauser Group, Kent developed and sold two technology companies. He was one of three equity partners who transformed a small start-up, Hubbard One, into one of the fastest-growing private companies in North America, according to Inc. Magazine and Deloitte & Touche. On behalf of his partners, he successfully negotiated and led the sale of the business to a public company, now known as Thomson Reuters. Subsequently he was appointed Chief Executive and led the turnaround of New York-based West Legalworks, which became a unit of Thomson Reuters.

Kent is originally from Connecticut.  He graduated with honors from Washington University in St. Louis and earned his J.D. from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law.  He lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood with his wife and their family.

Areas of Expertise

Strategic planning and implementation

  • Conducts firm-wide, practice, industry sector team and office strategic planning, often involving partner interviews, client interviews, strategic planning working sessions and partner retreats;
  • Develops written strategic plans;
  • Participates in and leads strategic review sessions at the senior leadership team level to confirm or update strategic growth priorities;
  • Undertakes strategic research, including benchmarking of peer and aspirational peer firms on compensation, governance, expense management and other topics relevant to strategy; and
  • Analyzes data about firms, peer firms and aspirational peer firms to identify opportunities to improve financial and operational performance.

Mergers and acquisitions

  • Collaborates with firm leadership to develop and build consensus around expansion strategies to accelerate achievement of the firm’s vision;
  • Conducts market analysis and builds consensus among key partners around criteria that a candidate firm would have to meet;
  • Develops a list of relevant candidate firms, advises on prioritizing that list, and facilitates meetings with leaders of candidate firms;
  • Prepares law firm leaders for meetings with candidate firms by supplying relevant data and assisting in identifying and articulating the value proposition of the potential combined firm;
  • Formally or informally facilitates merger discussions, manages the due diligence process, analyzes data that is exchanged, advises on and develops solutions to bridge performance and other gaps between the firms, and advises on internal and external communications to achieve the firm’s objectives; and
  • Advises on realizing the benefits of the combination through client interviews and leveraging cross-servicing and cross-selling opportunities in the combined firm.

Retreats and ongoing guidance

  • Designs, speaks at and facilitates meetings and retreats for partners, practice groups, industry sector teams, and leadership teams;
  • Benchmarks against peers and aspirational peers the performance of the firm from a financial and client perspective;
  • Provides periodic formal and informal consultations on management issues;
  • Reviews and provides an assessment of data from time to time about the firm’s performance and the performance of other firms;
  • Assists with identifying growth opportunities as the competitive landscape for talent and clients evolves;
  • Shares and provides analysis of market data and best practices relevant to strategic decisions;
  • Acts as a sounding board for and coaches chairs, managing partners and other firm leaders to help them achieve their objectives; and
  • Serves as an extension of the firm’s leadership and strategy team.

 

 

Kent Zimmermann

t: 312.810.8008
3500 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657 US