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Patrick J. McKenna    

Author, Lecturer, Strategist & Advisor

An internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist, and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier professional firms, Patrick has had the honor of working with at least one of the largest firms in over a dozen different countries.

The Financial Post labeled McKenna “a professional firm management and marketing guru, with a client base stretching from Britain to the United States.” Jim Kouzes, Chairman Emeritus, tompeters! company described him as “a highly seasoned and extraordinarily credible professional.” And his consulting expertise was acknowledged when he was identified through independent research compiled and published by Lawdragon as “one of the most trusted names in legal consulting" and by American Lawyer magazine as “a long-time succession consultant and coach to new firm leaders.”

Patrick authored a pioneering text on law firm marketing, Practice Development: countries. This publication culminated in Patrick being asked to conduct a oneday masterclass for new firm leaders, usually held at the University of Chicago. Over 80 leaders from AmLaw 100, AmLaw 200, accounting and consulting firms, hailing from four countries graduated from the program. According to Hugh Verrier, Chairman of White & Case: "I was struck by the synthesis of the issues you presented. It was amazingly clear and comprehensive, given the breadth of the topic and the short time available. I was delighted to attend the event and I learned a lot from it."

The book Management Skills (John Wiley) named Patrick among the “leading thinkers in the field” together with Warren Bennis; and in 2008, In The Company of Leaders included his work amongst other notable luminaries like Dr. Marshall Goldsmith. His two newest e-books, The Art of Leadership Succession and Strategy Innovation: Getting To The Future First (Legal Business World Publishing)) were released in 2019.

McKenna’s published articles have appeared in over 50 leading professional journals, newsletters, and online sources; and his work has been featured in Fast Company, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Business Week, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, Investor’s Business Daily and The Financial Times. He currently serves as Contributing Editor to Of Counsel: The Legal Practice and Management Report (New York).

Patrick has lectured on professional service management and strategy for the Canadian, American and International Creating a Marketing Mindset (Butterworths, 1989) recognized by an international journal as being “among the top ten books that any professional services marketer should have.” His subsequent works included Herding Cats: A Handbook for Managing Partners and Practice Leaders (IBMP, 1995); and Beyond Knowing: 16 CageRattling Questions To Jump-Start Your Practice Team (IBMP, 2000).

A prolific writer on the challenges of firm leadership, his book (co-authored with David Maister), First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals, (The Free Press, 2002) topped business bestseller lists in the US, Canada and Australia; translated into nine languages; is currently in its seventh printing; and received a best business books of 2002 award. Leaders across various professions like Kenneth LeStrange, Chairman of Aon Risk Services; Douglas McCracken, CEO of Deloitte Consulting; Claudio Fernandez Araoz, Executive with Egon Zehnder Partners; and Allan Koltin, President of the Practice Development Institute described the book as ‘the essential guide to practice leadership.’

Obsessed with innovation, Patrick was instrumental in introducing the first global (InnovAction) awards initiative in 2003, in conjunction with the College of Law Practice Management, to identify and celebrate global law firm innovation.

In 2006, McKenna’s e-book First 100 Days: Transitioning A New Managing Partner (NXTBook) earned glowing reviews being read by leaders in 63 Bar Associations; the Canadian Tax Foundation, the International Union of Lawyers, the Institute For Law Firm Management, The Institute For International Research, the Society for Marketing Professional Services, The Managing Partner’s Forum, Centaur Conferences Europe and the Financial Times Of London. He is a frequently requested speaker, having appeared in London, Geneva, Vienna, Munich, Marrakech, Istanbul, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Toronto for professional conferences and seminars.

Patrick did his MBA graduate work at the Canadian School of Management and is among the first alumni from Harvard’s Leadership in Professional Service Firms program (1995).

McKenna’s decades of experience led to his being the subject of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: Innovations In Legal Consulting (2011). He was the first “expert” in professional service firms admitted to the Association of Corporate Executive Coaches; was the recipient of an Honorary Fellowship from Leaders Excellence of Harvard Square (2015); and voted by the readers of Legal Business World Magazine as one of only a handful of International Thought Leaders (2017 - 2019).

McKenna serves on several corporate boards including Intraspexion Inc. (AI legal tech); LBW Broadcasting (international media); True Balanace Longevity Institute (health care); and is a BrainTrust Member of Quantumrun, a global research and futurists group. He was acknowledged in 2020 as one of the Top 20 Global Thought Leaders on Business Strategy (Thinkers360).

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