Current Focus

I am really pleased that the second edition of the IBA/Globe Handbook on Business Development that I edited has recently been published.

It really is a very useful book that examines the theory, tools and skills needed to implement effective business development in a law firm today.  There is a lot of practical advice, but learning from the client interviews with 12 general counsel is reason alone to read this book (or at least that chapter!).  If you read nothing else in the book please look at these interviews – they should reshape your whole approach to business development.

Business Development hardcover book

For those of you who know me, you will know that I am both passionate and thoughtful about law firm relationships. I spent most of my 41 years at Freshfields not only working with law firms all over the world but developing our StrongerTogether relationship programme.  I have some clear views on the value of a law firm properly managing its relationships; in particular that this can lead to, not only more work but better existing client relationships.  I am helping various law firms with their thinking in this regard and have become an advisor to a start-up based in Australia that has developed some interesting tools to help manage relationships –


As a result of a couple of instances that I am talking to people about, I have started to focus on something that has always concerned me – proper due diligence of lateral partner hires. (This prompted me to work out that I have been involved in bringing over 50 lateral partners into Freshfields!).  I start from the premise that it is simply not done either at all or well enough.  I believe there is quite a lot of basic due diligence that can be done without being intrusive and that for significant hires is essential.  Would we advise our clients to make a significant investment without proper due diligence?  See below my basic “Lateral Checklist”.

  1. Basics
    • Degree certs
    • Bar registrations
    • Publications
  2. Legal Skills
  3. Client Relationships
  4. Portability of Relationships and Billings
  5. Law Firm Behaviour
  6. “Skeletons”
    • Personal
    • Professional
  7. Health

Stephen Revell

Stephen worked for Freshfields for over 41 years and was a partner for 33 of them. He has lived on 3 continents – North America, Europe, and Asia and has managed transactions in over 50 countries. Whilst at Freshfields he led the StrongerTogether relationship program involving over 400 law firms around the world. His many years of leadership and myriad discussions with law firm leaders and clients about their challenges have helped shape his thinking about law firm management issues.