Pre-Conference Program | Monday, April 9

CMO Summit
Succession Management: The CMO's Role in Planning for Smooth Transitions With Clients, Senior Partners and Their Own BD Teams
8:00 – 5:00 pm

By 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that eight adults per minute will turn 65 This trend is reflected in law firms where over 60 percent of equity partners are in their late 50s or 60s and often control a quarter or even a half of their firms’ revenue. The best and longest client relationships are personal, built over time and based on trust, reliability and judgment. Even with the advent of procurement officers and RFPs, many clients still hire lawyers, not law firms. The loss of revenue from even a few key clients could be devastating to a firm.

Most law firms are led by aging managing partners with unique skills and expertise not replicated in the next generation and who serve in community and civic leadership positions not easily filled by other lawyers in the firm. CMOs can play a vital role in helping their firms implement effective succession management strategies that ensure stability, continuity and sustainability as clients and partners retire. Taking a more structured approach to long-term talent management will also help CMOs better manage their own teams and departments.

Summit Overview and Benefits

This full-day and highly interactive program will immerse you in the issues and challenges firms are facing with aging partners and inadequate policies and processes to support effective succession transitions. In guided small-group discussions, you’ll focus on strategies and solutions to these common challenges. Then, you’ll gather as a large group to review each small group’s ideas. You’ll rotate throughout the day to ensure you hear different perspectives. By the end of the day, you’ll better understand the many facets of succession planning and management. You’ll be equipped with a tool-box of solutions to help you engage with firm management and partners in the design and implementation of long-term approaches to smooth client, senior partner, successor and leadership transitions. And, you’ll return to your firm with an elevated role and value. Takeaways include tips, tools and frameworks. Plus, you’ll be sent a summary of the breakout group strategies.

Program Content:

This program segments the roles CMOs play in succession management into the following topics:

  1. Client Relationship Management and Revenue Protection:
    1. Client assessments: top clients, revenue, relationship history and mapping, service history, client satisfaction, clients’ own succession plans
    2. Client successors: selection, mentoring, lateral hire, client approval, diversity and bias considerations
    3. Senior partner and successor transition: partner plans, coaching, monitoring
    4. Incentivizing partners to transition
  2. Individual Partner Succession Plans and Support:
    1. Senior partner (age 55+) plans and coaching
    2. Successor plans and training of next gen rainmakers/client successors
    3. Gap analysis: skills/expertise, knowledge, cultural fabric and other assets of senior partners
    4. External community and leadership roles
    5. Next career options and support: alternative roles internally and externally, titles, compensation
  3. Leadership Transitions — A Sound Communications Plan
  4. Succession Management Framework for CMOs Team/Department and the Firm:
    1. Nine-box method
    2. Understanding needs, roles, gaps
    3. Hiring, training, retooling

Summit Presented by:

Susan-Saltonstall-Duncan.pngSusan Saltonstall Duncan
RainMaking Oasis LLC

Susan Saltonstall Duncan has been working with and consulting to law firms since 1980. Her in-house roles have included lawyer recruiting, being one of the first directors of professional development in 1982, among the first six in-house marketing directors in 1984 and chief strategy and development officer in 2011. Susan began her management and business development consulting practice in 1987. Her recent focus on succession planning and management has evolved over the last decade from interactions with managing partners, practice group leaders, senior partners, designated future successors and clients — all of whom struggle with how to talk about the topic of retirement and implement strategies that protect important client revenue and relationships and incentivize and accomplish smooth transitions. Susan has been a frequent speaker and author of articles for numerous national and regional organizations and write a blog entitled InFocus — Insights on Legal Practice, Leadership and Talent. A founder of LMA, Susan is a Hall of Fame member and a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management.


PLEASE NOTE: Attendance is open to qualified applicants, including in-house invited to attend this reception.
CMOs and first chair marketing and business development directors. For a collegial and interactive setting, the CMO Summit is limited to 60 participants. To ensure a broad experience base, only one participant per firm may register. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Program Schedule:

8:00 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast
8:45 a.m.
Co-chairs’ Opening Remarks

Despina-Kartson.pngDespina Kartson
Global Director, Business Development and Communications
Jones Day

Dawn-Gertz-Longfield.pngDawn Longfield
Chief Marketing Officer
Davis & Gilbert LLP

9:00 a.m.
An Overview:
  • What’s the problem? What are the risks?
  • The Five Pillars of Partner Succession Management

9:30 a.m.
Deep Dive Topic One Overview: Clients
9:45 a.m.
Facilitated Small–Group Breakouts on Topic One
10:30 a.m.
Networking and Refreshment Break
10:45 a.m.
Deep Dive Topic Two Overview: Individual Senior Partner Transitions
11:15 a.m.
Facilitated Small-Group Breakouts on Topic Two
11:45 a.m.
Large Group Report Backs on Topics One and Two
12:30 p.m.
Networking Lunch
1:45 p.m.
Topic Three Open Discussion: Leadership Transitions — A Sound Communications Plan
2:15 p.m.
Deep Dive Topic Four Overview: Succession Planning as Part of Talent Management/How to Plan for Succession with the CMO Team
2:45 p.m.
Facilitated Small–Group Breakouts on Topic Four
3:15 p.m.
Networking and Refreshment Break
3:30 p.m.
Large Group Report Backs on Topic Four
4:00 p.m.
Large Group Wrap-up Discussion:
  • Key takeaways and best practices learned
  • Each CMO reports on one thing they will do immediately
5:00 p.m.
Program Conclusion
5:00 p.m.
CMO SIG Reception

CMO Summit participants and members of LMA’s CMO Shared Interest Group (SIG) are invited to attend this reception.

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