COO

Title COO
Categories Management/Law Firm
Salary based on exp
Job ID 2676
Location New York
Job Information

The Chief Operating Officer will work with the Managing Partner to develop and implement the Firm’s business strategy, and lead and manage all operational functions of the Firm, excluding finance. The COO is responsible for leadership and oversight of all of the Firm’s business affairs and operations, and will ensure that the administrative team effectively and proactively meets all client and office needs, thus enabling the Firm to pursue its short and long term strategic objectives and business goals. Their primary activities include annual and long-range strategic planning, growth and development, and the oversight and supervision of key professional directors and managers. This professional will serve as the key administrative business partner to the Managing Partner and the Chief Financial Officer, and represent the organization externally, as necessary.

REPORTING RELATIONSHIPS:
The Chief Operating Officer will report to the Managing Partner and will work closely with the Chief Financial Officer. They will also work closely with, and be responsive to practice leaders, as well as to the partnership as a whole.

DIRECT REPORTS:
The Chief Operating Officer’s direct reports will include department heads in administration, human resources, information technology, business strategy and marketing, document services, practice support (secretaries) and office services, and potentially knowledge management.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
•Strategic Business Advisor: First and foremost, function as a strategic business advisor working closely with the Managing Partner to develop and implement the firm’s business strategy, to provide strategic counsel and support the practice leaders, and to ensure the alignment of the firm’s day-to-day operations with the business strategy. Attend and present at Firm’s partner meetings, and meet regularly with Managing Partner and Chief Financial Officer.

•Office Management: Provide strategic direction, analysis and operational oversight of the Firm working with the Managing Partner. This includes management of office business functions (in conjunction with the CFO) budget preparation and financial management (including billing/collections), profitability, policies & procedures, staff management (including recruiting, compensation, performance management and employee relations), and onboarding/integration of attorneys. Establish relationships with and managing Firm vendors and negotiate and maintain knowledge of associated contracts.

•Practice Management: Provide strategic organization and leadership of the business and legal operations for the practice group leaders and teams. This includes development and management of business plans and alignment with the practice’s business strategy, identification and analysis of performance trends (including overall profitability of work, staff ratios and competitive landscape) and management of practice personnel (including partner and attorney review and compensation, lateral integration, professional staff recruiting, review and compensation).

•Business Operations: Provide strategic organization and leadership of the business operations of the firm – human resources, technology and information, marketing and business development, facilities and procurement, professional responsibility and compliance, and research and information services. Regularly evaluate all administrative and support functions and revise processes and procedures as necessary to guarantee efficient and cost effective operations and improve overall expense management, directing upgrades and capital expenditures as appropriate. This also includes ensuring that each group’s operations support the overall business strategy of the firm; keeping current and knowledgeable with the business environment, competitive landscape and business processes; identifying opportunities for efficiency and streamlining operations through the use of technology, outsourcing and shared services; and selecting and developing leadership for the professional business groups.

•Finance and Accounting: In conjunction with the Chief Financial Officer, ensure the integrity of all aspects of the firm’s financial operations, processes, policies and systems. This includes, among others, capital requirements, cash management, budgeting, compliance, internal controls, billing and collections, audit, risk management and financial/business planning.

•Human Resources: In conjunction with the Director of Human Resources, ensure that the firm maintains an integrated talent management organization that supports the attraction, development and retention of the highest caliber legal and administrative talent for the firm. This includes the strategies, policies and systems for legal and staff recruiting retention, professional development and evaluations, compensation and benefits, employee relations, HR systems and payroll for the firm.

•Technology and Information: In conjunction with the Director of Information Technology, ensure that the firm effectively leverages technology to enhance both internal and external client service and business growth initiatives to meet the full range of practice and administrative needs. Also ensuring that all Firm IT systems are in compliance with best practices, and attending to system security issues both proactively and reactively.

•Marketing and Business Development: In conjunction with the Director of Business Strategy, ensure that the firm’s marketing, communications and business development operations and initiatives (including its current branding project) support the firm’s attorneys, practice group and industry teams in a manner that is consistent with the firm’s business strategy and promote a business development-oriented culture.
•Planning and Analysis: In conjunction with the Chief Financial Officer, ensure that the firm conducts the appropriate analysis of the firm’s ongoing operations and profitability (including for lateral hiring, client matters and work profitability by practice group and partner) and provides the necessary analysis to enable leadership to make informed financial decisions regarding the firm’s growth, profitability and strategic direction. Assist the Managing Partner in evaluating compensation structure and billing rates.

•Facilities and Procurement: In conjunction with the Director of Administration, ensure that the firm prudently manages the firm’s real estate interests (including long range planning, lease negotiation, awareness of market trends, expansion/contraction scenarios, construction management and space design/planning), acquisition costs for equipment, supplies and services and vendor contracts.

•Loss Prevention: In conjunction with the Managing Partner, ensure that the firm maintains in compliance with risk-management policies and work on professional liability, general liability and partner life/disability insurance programs, to eventually oversee process. Review health insurance and related benefits programs to determine optimum arrangements. Also oversee information governance (including electronic records management and records retention and disposition), and conflict management and system.

•Research and Information Services: In conjunction with the Office Manager and Knowledge Management specialists, ensure that the firm has the ability to collect, analyze, organize, validate and disseminate information necessary for the firm’s strategic business planning activities, competitive intelligence, benchmarking and analysis of clients, industries, law firms and legal markets.

•Special Projects: Lead such special projects or initiatives as may be requested from time to time by the Managing Partner or practice group leaders, such as the evaluation and due diligence of a potential merger with another firm or strategic lateral hiring of entire practice areas/departments from other firm.

•Firm Culture: Facilitate evolutionary change throughout the firm and in targeted areas while maintaining the collegiality and cohesiveness of the firm’s culture. This includes the ability to make the business case and gain acceptance for innovations and improvements, to plan and oversee the execution of structured transition processes, and to clearly communicate the transition goals and strategies. Participate in fostering the Firm’s collegial, collaborative, team- oriented culture that establishes and sustains a camaraderie among the administrative team and with the Firm’s attorneys.

EXPERIENCE & QUALIFICATIONS:

•An advanced degree (MBA or JD) is strongly preferred.
•A minimum of 15 years of operations and leadership experience in a complex organization, with preferably 8-10 years of experience in a highly regarded law firm, professional services or other client relationship-based environment.

•A track record of working effectively in a fast-paced, multi-authority environment, including managing groups of multi-disciplined employees both directly and indirectly in various departments such as HR, marketing, administration and IT.

•A polished, professional presence that engenders trust and confidence from all members of the organization. Proactive, personable and diligent.

•Exceptional diplomatic skills and ability to work with a true partnership in a professional services environment.

•Demonstrated experience identifying organizational needs and driving change in a positive manner that ensures consistently polished client service, even during changes in process or procedure.
•Excellent writing, presentation and leadership skills.
•Proven business and analytical skills, including the ability to synthesize data, identify trends, and make thoughtful and creative recommendations to address immediate or potential issues.
•Must have a good understanding of financial management and analysis and be proficient with Excel.

MANAGEMENT & LEADERSHIP SKILLS:

•Demonstrated ability to exercise sound judgment in matters regarding personnel and business operations, making decisions and acting on them when appropriate, as well as knowing when to instead ask and consult with others.

•The ability to be creative and holistic in evaluating and advising on Firm operational initiatives.

•A track record building and leading high performance teams that work collaboratively to meet established organizational goals and ensures that all initiatives and solutions positively support the firm’s strategy, client service delivery, operations, and other firm objectives.

•Solid interpersonal skills and the ability to manage others through influence and gain buy-in and support for ideas or initiatives without employing a forceful, controlling style. Communicate his/her/their point of view in a clear, compelling manner, yet demonstrate a willingness and flexibility to appreciate other perspectives.

•The ability to establish credibility quickly and building one-on-one relationships with senior leadership, seeking to understand their issues and goals, and working with them individually to gain their support for strategic, operations, financial, infrastructure and technology related issues.

•Excellent time management and project management skills, combined with the ability to manage competing priorities in a calm, collected manner.

•The ability to embrace organizational goals established by firm leadership and promote those ideas and any changes with enthusiasm and compelling arguments.

•Develop a perception among senior firm leadership as a dynamic leader who brings vision, strategy and business acumen.

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS:

•Ethical and trustworthy; demonstrates good judgment.
•Collegial and consensus-building, with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
•Well organized and sufficiently methodical, such that others can easily follow.
•Analytical and intellectually curious, and motivated to seek out answers and solutions.
•Proactive, independently motivated and self-directed.
•The ability to lead initiatives alone or in collaboration with others.

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