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Publications and Articles, Speaking Engagements, News Mentions

March 2020

The Human Nature of Whistleblowers

Alex Dimitrief writes that three whistleblowers have recently dominated the headlines.  The first was an intelligence specialist who anonymously raised concerns about potentially inappropriate interactions between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine. The second was Mike Fiers, a former pitcher for the Houston Astros, who revealed to reporters that his team had used video cameras to steal signs of opposing pitchers.  The third was Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist who posted a WeChat note last New Year’s Eve about patients at Wuhan Central Hospital who had contracted pneumonia after frequenting a local seafood market and warned about what he suspected was a new and dangerously transmittable coronavirus.  These high-profile cases serve as powerful reminders of the value and importance of whistleblowers to organizations committed to operating with integrity.

Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles | Alex Dimitrief | Ethisphere

August 2020

Where Does ESG Fit in Times of Crisis?

Alex Dimitrief writes that business, legal and governance journals are replete with articles illustrating how crises reveal the true character of companies and their leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest sparked by deadly police brutality against minorities confirm that this adage holds just as true when it comes to a company’s commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles | Alex Dimitrief | Directors & Boards

July 31, 2020

After the PPP, What Does the Future Hold for Midsize Firms?

The Paycheck Protection Program was meant to be a short-term boost to help sustain businesses and workers through the immediate uncertainty of the coronavirus crisis. But the pandemic shows no signs of ending soon, and midsize law firm leaders are seeking to stabilize and plan for what comes next.  Mary K Young observes that revenues for most firms appear to be down 8% to 10% compared with expectations—a substantial drop-off, but not quite as drastic as some of the most distressing projections being tossed about this spring. She suggests that PPP loans should be considered simply as one component of a firm’s annual revenue for 2020. According to Young, building a manageable budget is no easy task with so many open questions swirling around the economy, but the approach is simple: hope for the best, plan for the worst.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Mary K Young | Law.com

July 15, 2020

INSIGHT: Employee Silence Is Not Golden in Corporate America

Recent criminal charges against former eBay employees show how bad things can get when employees are not encouraged to step forward and report unethical behaviors. In this article, Alex Dimitrief says employees are motivated to raise concerns when leaders set positive examples and unequivocally welcome the scrutiny of principled investigations of alleged misconduct at senior levels, the polar opposite of the Trump administration’s firing of inspectors general and unseating of the U.S. Attorney in New York.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles | Alex Dimitrief | Bloomberg Law

July 8, 2020

Legal Work's In-House Shift Shows No Sign Of Slowing

In 2019, 28% of respondents to a survey by the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium said they shifted more work in-house, compared with 20% who outsourced more legal work.  Industry experts predict this trend will continue long after the pandemic crisis wanes because of cost savings and the increasing sophistication of corporate teams.  Alex Dimitrief sees this trend as an opportunity for firm leaders to hone in on specialized work where they can deliver great value to in-house departments in a way that isn't cost ineffective to a company.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Alex Dimitrief | Law 360

June 17, 2020

Law Firms Push to Get Bills Out, See More IOUs During Covid-19

Law firms looking to weather the Covid-19 economic storm are throwing some cash-strapped clients a lifeline while trying to avoid steep discounts and pushing to ensure that bills go out on time. Kent Zimmerman notes the importance of cash to clients in an uncertain economy.  As companies grow more concerned about their earnings, edicts will go out to legal departments to spend less.

Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Kent Zimmermann | Bloomberg Law

June 9, 2020

Kirkland’s Bankruptcy Business Out-Billing Peers in Pandemic

Kirkland & Ellis has brought in nearly $100 million this year representing distressed retailers and other large, public companies in a rash of mostly pandemic-related bankruptcies. The firm represents the debtor in 11 of 24 large, public bankruptcies this year.  Kent Zimmerman observes that there’s a widely held perception that Kirkland has one of the best restructuring practices in the world. The high demand for the firm's bankruptcy practice is another example of how it can really pay off to be among the best in chosen areas of focus.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Kent Zimmermann | Bloomberg Law

June 9, 2020

Caring for Clients During the COVID-19 Crisis

Mary K Young and Alex Dimitrief, via a webinar, will examine what is on the minds of General Counsels and how best to communicate with and serve them in light of the challenges they are facing with COVID-19.  Mary K  and Alex  will hold a conversation that taps into Alex’s unique understanding of what in-house counsel are facing. Alex will draw on his experience helping to guide General Electric through the 2008 global recession among other crises.

The conversation will include a discussion of:

  • What General Counsels are thinking about during this crisis and what their highest priorities are
  • Where relationships with law firms rank on a GC’s list of priorities during a crisis like this and what this means for law firms
  • Things law firms can do to make a good and long-lasting impression on their clients and what law firm relationship partners should avoid doing
  • How marketing and business development staff can help their firms navigate this pandemic
  • Types of communications from law firms that in-house counsel welcome and types to be avoided

June 9, 2020 - 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

To register for the webinar, please visit the LMA Caring for Clients webpage.

Management Consulting, Marketing Planning, Strategic Planning | Speaking Engagements | Alex Dimitrief, Mary K Young | LMA Mid-Atlantic Region

May 11, 2020

America’s Corporate Debt Binge Saving Big Law Jobs in Pandemic

America’s blue chip companies issued record amounts of debt in March and April, powering a renaissance for the often overlooked Big Law practice that helps companies issue bonds, and helping some law firms avoid layoffs and pay cuts.  Kent Zimmerman observes that capital markets groups in many firms are now outperforming private equity, which is a reversal of what many firms saw before the crisis. and that it won't be long before private equity comes back. It’s just a question of when.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | News Mentions | Kent Zimmermann | Bloomberg

April 21, 2020

10 Lessons From GE’s Former GC on How to Step Up and Steer Companies Through Tough Times

Alex Dimitrief discusses ten lessons he learned at General Electric during the financial crisis and other periods of angst about how general counsel and their teams can help their companies navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Management Consulting, Strategic Planning | Publications and Articles | Alex Dimitrief | Law.com