Last Year's Agenda

January 27, 2021

9:00AM - 9:15AM EST

Opening Remarks:  Conference Chairperson 

Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal

Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC 


9:15AM - 10:00AM EST

KEYNOTE: Rethinking Compensation as a Driver of Change, not a Lagging Indicator

How can law firms leverage compensation as a forcing function to drive positive change and adaptations in partner behavior – aligning incentives with strategic priorities, client needs and financial goals? Comp is too often perceived as the 3rd rail of law firm management because despite the flaws of any one system, we know how it works and any deviation will be hugely disruptive. But comp should come first. We need to know what behaviors will grow the firm, and we need to both drive and reward these behaviors. Without this, we will continue to elicit behaviors that may benefit the individual partner at the expense of the firm.


Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal

Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC 

10:00AM - 10:15AM EST

10:15AM - 11:00AM EST

CASE STUDY: How to Reward Firm Profitability… Particularly in a Non-Hourly Fee Environment

For the majority of law firms these days there is an internal struggle between long-standing cultural norms and an evolving data-focused business environment in which firms must be willing to adapt and accept new ways of analyzing their businesses—which of course includes adapting compensation and resource allocation strategies to meet a rapidly-changing landscape.  Law firm compensation plans haven't kept pace with the evolving legal market. Despite increased client demand for fixed fees and greater efficiencies, comp plans continue to reward yesterday's one-dimensional behaviors.  In this case study, we will hear from Joe Morford, (an Ohio Super Lawyer®, and included on the list of The Best Lawyers in America®) – a true believer in (and frequent commentator on) non-hourly fee arrangements. Joe will elaborate on the firm’s results-driven approach to providing clients with predictability and cost savings—as well as how the firm rewards profitability and approaches compensation by balancing metrics and subjectivity rather than leaning heavily on lagging indicators. 


Joe Morford, Managing Partner

Tucker Ellis LLP  

11:00AM - 11:15AM EST

11:15AM - 12:00PM EST

PANEL: Client Feedback Helping to Inform the “Satisfaction Metric” as it pertains to Compensation

This dynamic panel discussion will focus on incorporating client feedback and quality metrics into the compensation equation within law firms – i.e. what metrics matter most to clients? How are we defining quality? How are firms capturing this? And how does this relate back to compensatioan? Attendees will also learn about:

  • The potential and benefits of aligning client-experience with compensation
    The importance of gathering client feedback and analyzing the data to confirm compensation allocations
  • The concept of compensating or bonusing lawyers based on metrics related to client feedback
  • Taking client feedback into account to help drive strategic initiatives and success
  • A new perspective of success: centering compensation around the client’s needs and expectations
  • How a global pandemic may have shifted what matters most to clients


Connie Brenton, VP, Law, Technology and Operations

NetApp Inc.

Nathaniel Slavin, Partner & Founder

Wicker Park Group

Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal

Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC

12:00PM - 12:30PM EST

12:30PM - 1:15PM EST

Managing Expectations: Associate-to-Partner Pipeline (Bridge to Partnership)

What does it take to become a partner in today's law firms? Should associates simply expect to be groomed for partnership? Advancement hinges on a number of factors—billable hour expectations, mentorship, credentials, leadership qualities—and not least, immersing oneself into the practice in order to meet the needs of the firm’s clients. For those aspiring to partnership, are there clear guideposts and expectations? What does outstanding performance look like? And what other business implications for the firm weigh into the equation? Firm leaders must be clear about what’s expected of associates – and partners.  What are the obligations and how do we measure whether or not these obligations are being met? 


Cristina Carvalho, Firmwide Managing Partner

Arent Fox LLP


Jeffrey Sharp, Managing Partner

Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP


Kathryn E. Szmuszkovicz, Managing Principal

Beveridge & Diamond PC



Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal

Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC

1:15PM - 1:30PM EST

1:30PM - 2:15PM EST

Conducting Pay Equity Gap Analyses to Ensure Fair Compensation Decisions Across all Lawyers

Recent industry reports reveal that a significant pay gap exists between men and women lawyers and other historically underrepresented groups.  Join us for this timely session to learn about the findings, how pay analyses are conducted and the important differences between a pay gap analysis and a pay “equity" gap analysis.  Our panelists will also address two critical questions, including: (1) What are the potential “access to opportunity" gaps (e.g., client visibility, origination credit) that factor into comp decisions; and (2) How does the comp process itself and the factors considered, impact equal pay?  They will also cover the relevant legal issues organizations should consider, such as covering privilege, while conducting and reporting on these analyses.   


Christine Hendrickson, Partner

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Caren Ulrich Stacy, CEO

Diversity Lab


Amber Boydstun, Chief Data Scientist

Diversity Lab

2:15PM - 2:30PM EST

2:30PM - 3:15PM EST

The Underproductive Lawyer: Addressing Performance Issues 

This session will address some of the structural issues that firms need to improve upon or develop in order to best deal with performance issues going forward (i.e. setting expectations, defining roles, developing a performance management framework, and methods of assessment, etc.). Our co-presenters will also discuss some of the more human, leadership aspects of the challenge - i.e. understanding why lawyers/partners underperform, and how to support them, help them improve and - ultimately - to move them forward professionally. Attendees of this segment will learn: 

  • How to implement a performance measurement framework that aligns reward with performance  
  • About sensitivities involved in changing governance to deal with underperformers  
  • How to define roles and communicate clear and measurable expectations of partnership and the firm’s attorneys  
  • How to assess the most appropriate options available for supporting or dealing with struggling partners/attorneys  


Patrick McKenna

McKenna Associates, Inc 


Nick Jarrett-Kerr, Author, Professor, and Consultant

Edge International


3:15PM - 3:30PM EST

Closing Remarks: Conference Chairperson   

Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal

Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC

January 28, 2021


Compensation Workshop: Modernizing Compensation Criteria, Processes, and Tools 

Many law firm partner compensation plans are outdated. They over-emphasize some contributions while ignoring others. They perpetuate conflicts between what's good for the partner and what's good for the firm. They fail to capture or reward profitability, client satisfaction, or "intangible" contributions that reflect critical responsibilities of owners.  This hands-on workshop (facilitated by Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal, Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC) is designed for compensation committees and management committees to apply the lessons from Day One of the program to their own firm's situations. Teams will work through case studies and exercises to identify gaps between their current plans and modern practices, as follows... 

We invite entire compensation committees and/or management teams responsible for awarding partner compensation, including both lawyers and finance professionals, to attend as a group. The moderator will conduct a pre-workshop discovery session to discuss the essentials of each team's compensation plans and to identify the key learning objectives. Each team will work primarily on incorporating ideas into their own plans during the breakout sessions and will not be asked to reveal confidential information during the wider group discussion. We also invite individuals to attend. Individuals will be grouped with other participants to work on real but anonymized compensation scenarios. 

9:00AM   ET

Introductions:  Workshop Facilitator    

Introductions / Open discussion of Day One takeaways / Objectives for Day Two 

Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal, Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC 

9:45AM – 10:00AM

10:00AM ET

Structure -- Objective, subjective, open, closed, or all of the above?

10:30AM ET

10:45AM ET

Metrics - Quantifying the value of intangible contributions, applying weighting to different contributions.

11:15AM ET

11:30AM ET

Origination -- Rewarding business development while maintaining a collegial culture.

12:00PM ET

12:30AM ET

Management Pay -- When and how to reward management roles. 

1:00PM ET

1:15PM ET

Tools -- Data and systems for capturing and disseminating performance data.

2:30PM ET

2:45PM ET

Process -- Reducing the annual burden of shareholder distribution. 

3:15PM ET

Closing Discussion/Q&A   

Timothy B. Corcoran, Principal, Corcoran Consulting Group, LLC