A heartfelt thank you for the esteemed group of people with brilliant minds, creative ideas and generous hearts who joined an engaging conversation upon which this article is based: Tim Corcoran, Patrick Fuller, Heidi Gardner, Susan Manch, John “The Purple Coach” Mitchell, Kathleen Pearson and James Willer.

In anticipation of the launch of “Who Leads the Am Law 200: An Analysis of America’s Largest Law Firms and Their Leadership,” ALM Intelligence convened an esteemed group of industry thought leaders to discuss leadership and the role of leaders within law firms. The agenda was loose and rather informal, propelled by shared interest and an acknowledgement that the demographics and trends included in the report are just the tip of the iceberg. Our starting premise, surfaced by Heidi Gardner, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession, set the stage exceptionally well: we must acknowledge the report studies formal leaders in name only—it is their title that defines them, not their characteristics, qualities or ability to shepherd change.