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John Smock is a Partner with and the co-founder of Smock • Sterling Strategic Management Consultants ( and the leader of our law and professional services firm management consulting practice. He has nearly 41 years of experience as a management consultant with functional specialties in strategic management and planning and overall professional service firm management as well as strong experience and credentials in a wide variety of commercial industries.

Examples of John's experience relevant to professional service firms follows:

  • He has directed and/or participated in over 350 assignments for law firms of all sizes, with a focus on larger firms. Examples of consulting assignments include:

    • Development of firmwide strategic plans for a wide range of national and regional multi-office law firms using Smock • Sterling Strategic Management Consultants' proprietary planning methodology, FOCUS

    • Internal and external analysis of multi-office practices of law firms resulting in management improvement steps, practice-wide strategic plans, and/or marketing programs

    • Review and analysis of firmwide and practice group organizational, managerial, and governance structures and development of specific recommendations to improve effectiveness

    • Evaluation and revision of partner compensation systems and partnership structures.

  • John has also been heavily involved in law firm mergers and combinations merger criteria development, candidate search and evaluation, strategic due diligence, assistance in negotiation and structure (e.g. new firm strategic plan, partner compensation, etc.), and combined firm integration. He, like our firm, does not ask for or expect a success fee for this counsel.

  • John provides short term advisory consulting services to the CEOs, Executive Directors, and firm managements of a wide range of professional service firms he has served over the years.

  • Additionally, he has widely written and spoken on law and professional service firm management topics and has conducted numerous retreats and management planning sessions for firms and other professional groups.

  • He was one of the originators and developers of an internationally and industry-leading methodology for strategic planning and management (FOCUS). It has been proven to be particularly effective in the law and professional service firm partnership environment.

  • As the leader of a number of management consulting practices in Chicago, Florida, Texas, Washington D.C., and in specific industries, John has achieved remarkable results in building practice size and capability and developing the professional staff.

Prior to founding Smock • Sterling, John spent over sixteen years with Arthur Young (ten as a partner) and, prior to that, three years with Cresap, McCormick & Paget. At Arthur Young, he served as Managing Partner of the Arthur Young/Chicago Consulting Group, National Director of General Management Consulting, Managing Partner of the Gulf Coast Consulting Group, National Director of Marketing in the National Office in New York, Director of Management Consulting for the Florida Practice, and National Director of Criminal Justice Services in Washington, DC.

John has a B.S. in Economics from Villanova University and an M.B.A. with a Finance Concentration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He is a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management and a Certified Management Consultant. John also served as a regular commissioned officer in the United States Navy on surface ships and in combat on the rivers of Vietnam.

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