Is there such a thing as Law Firms of Endearment? The authors of Firm of Endearment define a firm of endearment as a firm that is reorganizing and optimizing in response to the new age we live in, the Age of Transcendence.1 An example of a non-legal Firm of Endearment would be Whole Foods.
Age of Transcendence
In essence, the Age of Transcendence emerged around 1990 as the adult majority started getting over 40 years old and the internet started making information readily accessible to the masses. With the shifting maturity of the population, views about business started shifting away from materialism and toward meaning. One manifestation of this shift is a consumer who is now motivated more by experience than materialism.2
Law Firms of Endearment
A Firm of Endearment “…strives through their words and deeds to endear themselves to all their primary stakeholders.”3 For law firms, primary stakeholders are clients, benches, bars, clients, employees, suppliers, communities, and partners. “By aligning the interests of all in such a way that no stakeholder group gains at the expense of other stakeholder groups … they all prosper together.”4
Do They Exist?
The answer is, we don’t know yet. Converging market trends seem to indicate that law firms of endearment must emerge for the legal profession, as we know it, to survive. Today, however, no qualitative or quantitative standards have been established to qualify law firms as law firms of endearment. Who will step up and establish these standards? Will it be regulatory agencies like state bars? Trade associations? A consortium of law firms and organizations? More importantly, what role will you play?