Forum spoke with Jami Wintz McKeon, chair of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, about what clients want, breaking the glass ceiling and keeping focused while moving ahead.
After 34 years with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Jami Wintz McKeon now has a new perspective on the challenges facing today’s legal environment—from behind the chair’s desk. McKeon was elected firm chair by the partnership in October 2013 and began a year-long transition from the 15-year leadership of Francis M. Milone. Prior to that, McKeon served multiple terms on the firm’s Advisory Board and Compensation Committee while chairing and expanding its Litigation Practice, the firm’s largest group.
“Clients expect us to respond quickly, be continually connected and more mobile. So, you have to make sure you are using technology as a tool, rather than something to which you are completely tethered.”
Now, less than six months into her five-year tenure, McKeon, like many law firm leaders, is grappling with the evolutionary change roiling the legal industry and corporate world, from new technology to clients’ more complex needs. “Clients are changing their views and expectations of value,” McKeon says. “They are very sophisticated, and they want us to understand their value proposition.”
McKeon also wants to ensure that her firm approaches the use of technology in an innovative and creative way. “It’s vital to find a way to use technology to deliver excellent client service, but not let technology take over everything we do,” McKeon says. While the technological changes in the legal environment have been revolutionary, allowing for easier communication with clients, increasing the speed lawyers can process and respond to information, and vastly enhancing their mobility, they have also heightened client expectations. “Clients expect us to respond quickly, be continually connected and more mobile,” McKeon says. “So, you have to make sure you are using technology as a tool, rather than something to which you are completely tethered.”
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