(Illustration by Bill Rieser)
The life of a global managing partner is a varied one. “There’s no typical day,” says one firm chair. “That’s what I like about it.” Much of the time, he or she visits clients and partners in remote offices, handling issues via email from planes, cabs and airport lounges or via late-night or early-morning phone calls across time zones. Here’s what life is like in the office, courtesy of Robert Dell, the outgoing leader of Latham & Watkins, who shared his schedule with us. He lives in Marin County, California.
6 a.m. Wake up, read and respond to 30-100 emails before I even have coffee.
7:30 a.m. Hit the home Exercycle and free weights.
9 a.m. Drive 35 minutes to work, avoiding rush hour.
9:40 a.m. Check with secretary; make any urgent calls. Make a daily to-do list.
10 a.m. Call vice chairs to catch up on pending issues; call the COO on finance and administrative issues.
11 a.m. Answer a call from a partner who wants my thoughts on whether we should represent a client, given our existing clients in that industry. Visit with partners on another floor to see how they’re doing.
11:30 Call several partners to discuss a client intake decision involving a potential business conflict.
12 p.m. Lunch. (Half a sandwich and an apple.)
12:30 p.m. Plan the timing and location of visits next week to European offices. Touch base via conference call with other executive committee members on a project I’ve asked them to handle.
1:30 p.m. Return a legal reporter’s call.
2 p.m. Videoconference with practice group leader and potential lateral hire.
2:45 p.m. Call two clients to discuss the firm’s performance on recent major engagements and call the relationship partners for those clients to discuss the feedback.
3:30 p.m. Call five partners to get their views on an opportunity in an area related to a key practice. Should we move on it?
4:30 p.m. Leave office to attend a late afternoon charitable board meeting. I’m on several nonprofit boards.
7 p.m. Eat dinner with my wife.
7:45 p.m. Work for another 90 minutes on email.
9:15 p.m. Watch a show or two I’ve TiVo’d. Favorites include “The Daily Show,” “Bill Maher” and “Scandal.” Then read. On my bookshelf: a 608-page bio of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.
11:30 p.m. Go to bed.