Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2013 (Revised June 2014)

Collaborating for Growth: Duane Morris in a Turbulent Legal Sector

by Heidi K. Gardner and Annelena Lobb


By the late 2000s, the law firm Duane Morris had transformed itself from a growing U.S. law firm to a significant global player. The firm's uniquely collaborative organizational culture, which featured a transparent, data-driven compensation system, practice-group integration across multiple offices, and rewards for attorneys who shared responsibility, had contributed to the firm's success as it had expanded into new U.S. and international offices. Yet, amid a shaky world economy and an increasingly cutthroat legal profession, Duane Morris attorneys began to wonder—could collaboration survive as a firm value? Would the firm's culture help it continue to grow in the years ahead and bring in more sophisticated legal work, or would its lawyers inevitably start to keep work to themselves as the firm navigated an ever-more competitive environment?

Keywords: professional service firm; Management Practices and Processes; collaboration; performance management; organizational culture; growth and development strategy; Risk and Uncertainty; Competition; Management Practices and Processes; Organizational Structure; Groups and Teams; Organizational Culture; Performance; Cooperation; Globalized Firms and Management; Compensation and Benefits; Volatility; Growth and Development Strategy; Legal Services Industry; United States;


Gardner, Heidi K., and Annelena Lobb. "Collaborating for Growth: Duane Morris in a Turbulent Legal Sector." Harvard Business School Case 414-022, July 2013. (Revised June 2014.)