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Chicago-based Jenner & Block’s first-ever hiring of a marketing director is the latest in a series of moves to join the increasing number of national law firms that have adopted a “market-driven” business model. Meet, well, sort of, Teresa Jaffe, 52, Katten Muchin & Zavis’ chief marketing officer, who has agreed to join Jenner in mid-November with the same title. Jaffe was said to be consumed with winding down her work for Katten Muchin and could not immediately be reached for comment. But her credentials reveal substantial marketing experience at the management level. Besides her current law firm post, Jaffe is the former head of marketing operations in Chicago for Arthur Andersen. Before that, she held an executive-level position with KPMG. Although salary terms were not revealed, Jenner co-chairman Jerold S. Solovy said Jaffe will be “well paid, at the market rate.” Her duties, Solovy added, will be extensive and include nothing short of “integrating marketing and business planning into our core practices.” Jenner sells itself as a full-service law firm with a large transactional practice involving corporate, tax, securities, environmental, technology, and telecommunications matters. Much of its claim to fame rests in its class action and products liability defense practices. And its appellate practice is a big money-maker, too. Like most big law firms in recent years, however, Jenner has struggled with its sheer size as well as increasingly frequent client demands that its transactional and litigation divisions work more closely together in serving their interests. “We’ve needed someone who could identify these kinds of trends and have the expertise ready to roll whenever one of our clients has a problem,” Solovy said. Helping the firm to take stabs at opening entirely new markets will also be included in Jaffe’s job description, he added. Jaffe’s hiring is only the latest in a series of surprisingly forward looking moves made by the law firm once renowned for its old style approach to the practice of law. “The hiring of our first market director is a reflection of the [many] reforms we’ve been making in the fundamental way we do business,” acknowledged Robert L. Graham, Jaffe’s managing partner. In fact, Graham, 52, the head of the firm’s environmental law practice, was asked to handle most day-to-day operations formerly overseen by firm co-chairs Solovy and Theodore R. Tetzlaff just this May. One of Graham’s early assignments has been to help John Mathias’ hiring committee recruit more legal talent to the firm. In recent weeks, three McKenna & Cuneo government contracts lawyers, including David Churchill, left the Washington, D.C.-based firm to join Jenner as partners. Another recent noteworthy addition was the hiring of Milton Marquis, a former top assistant to Joel Klein in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. In yet another atypical move for Jaffe earlier this year, the firm expanded its executive committee to give partners with transactional practices a greater sense of sharing in important governance matters. CHANGING WITH THE TIMES, DESPITE RECORD PROFITS Solovy and Graham said that no one should really be all that surprised by these changes — or by other reforms that are likely to emerge when the firm’s still-evolving strategic plan is released later this year. Indeed, they emphasized, Jaffe’s hiring was keyed to the recognition that Jenner’s leadership needed more help in planning the firm’s future moves in today’s rapidly volatile legal services marketplace. In an earlier interview, Solovy also went to some length to counter the perception in some circles that his firm is struggling with internal dissension, despite record-breaking profits, and that any organizational changes being implemented or considered were in response to it. Some rumors, strongly denied by Solovy, have gone so far as to suggest the 300-member firm has begun to hemorrhage transactional partners because of real or imagined differences of opinion. To be sure, according to American Lawyer Magazine‘s most recent “AmLaw 100″ surveys, Jenner & Block has seen its 52nd national ranking in 1998 drop to 70th this year due to a slow but sure decline in the total number of lawyers it employs. Bruce G. Wilson, for instance, was one rainmaker who left last year to join Jaffe’s Katten Muchin. Most recently, four litigation partners, including executive committee member, Thomas R. Mulroy Jr., announced they were leaving Jenner at the end of the year to start their own boutique. But, Solovy said most such defections were amicable and, in total, within the normal range of attrition for a large law firm. And, besides, he said, the admitted dip in total firm partners is a reflection of the firm’s conscious drive to ease down the number of partners it has in comparison to the number of associates it employs — so as to improve its lagging profits-to-partner ratio. That strategic shift seems to be working. Data included in AmLaw‘s 1999 survey revealed Jaffe’s gross revenues were $167,000,000; revenue per lawyer was $465,000; and profits per partner were $415,000. In the AmLaw 100′s 2000 edition, the firm’s gross revenues increased to $182,000,000; revenue per lawyer increased to $485,000; and profits per partner increased to $435,000. NO CHANGING OF THE GUARD IN FORESEEABLE FUTURE Solovy, 70, also denied that Jenner’s emerging reinvention as a “with it” 21st Century law firm — or Graham’s elevation to managing partner — are the first steps to transitioning him out of his leadership role. He also dismissed the notion that he’d even consider retiring from his active law practice anytime soon. “We don’t do things in a totalitarian way around here,” Solovy quipped. “Although I know that many big law firms have a mandatory retirement rule in effect, I think it’s foolish to turn out” veteran rainmakers who can service big clients and generate large fees for years to come. Solovy said that, in his case, the year 2000 has been “my best year ever.” Last week, for instance, Solovy won the release of $53 million that had been escrowed by the Kennedy family in connection with the 1998 sale of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Last month, he won a $133 million breach of contract suit on behalf of GE Capital in a Connecticut federal courtroom. And later this year, Solovy will likely argue a case before the Illinois Supreme Court that could decide whether new parameters will be set on local governments’ so-called “quick take” powers under the state’s eminent domain laws. Meanwhile, many of the firm’s business growth aspirations are clearly being placed in Jaffe’s experienced hands. Restructuring a big law firm so as to be “market-driven” is the “wave of the future,” concluded Graham.

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