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Since 2001, when he was elected Global Managing Partner of 1,700-lawyer Reed Smith, Greg Jordan has had the full-time job of overseeing the firm’s offices throughout the United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. During his tenure, his firm, which counts many of the world’s foremost companies among its clients, has expanded to 24 offices. He is also Chairman of the Senior Management Team and Executive Committee.
Gregory B. Jordan
Global Managing, Partner, Reed Smith LLP
What’s your management style?
My style would be best described as people-oriented and relationship-focused. I think my role is to set a vision, inspire teamwork and applaud the outstanding things our people do. I work to set the overall direction and strategy for the firm while giving members of the team the authority to manage their individual responsibilities.
What’s your management philosophy?
My management philosophy is all about teamwork. Leading a law firm is a team sport and I am fortunate to serve as part of Reed Smith’s outstanding management team. We have to do a number of things well: create and communicate a shared vision; foster trust; develop clear and realistic expectations; resolve conflicts promptly; promote diversity; and set standards for accountability with evident rewards and consequences.
What skill or attribute have you found most critical to being an effective managing partner?
The first thing is to spend a lot of time with and listen to our clients. Second is to push the team’s momentum by encouraging what I call “high-impact mode.” We each need to identify and spend our time on the highest-impact activities we can pursue. So in addition to excellent legal work, that might include recruiting a lateral, making sure the integration of our latest merger is going smoothly, or developing new relationships.
What’s the first thing a new managing partner should do?
It’s essential to take stock of where your firm is, as well as where your partnership wants the firm to be in the future. Once you have a clear idea of where you want to go, you need to assemble the team that can get you there. If you choose smart, balanced people who are strong leaders for those key jobs, you are way ahead of the game. Building partner confidence in the strategic plan is critical and gaining consensus on the short-horizon tactics is an ongoing job.
What’s the biggest challenge facing law firms in the next 10 years?
I’m confident the practice of law will continue to evolve in the next decade in ways that we can barely imagine. Staying ahead of our clients’ changing needs will be our biggest challenge.
What’s the most important advice you have for a new managing partner?
Remember that great teamwork beats great individual effort every time.
What’s the best thing about being managing partner?
Seeing the impact of Reed Smith’s growth in our work for our clients. We are engaged in the most important issues our clients face all over the world.