• A New York Legal Search And Placement Boutique


    Partner Management


True North Partner Management is a New York-based and -focused lateral search and placement boutique. Through our experience, books, media columns, industry thought leadership and speaking engagements, we've built an international brand, reputation and network that we leverage to help select law firm partners and groups explore the legal market and navigate from one firm to another.


OUR KNOWLEDGE: Through the combination of decades of recruitment experience, ALM and Forbes columns that focus on current industry leadership and business-of-law trends, quarterly leadership and industry surveys, six published books regarding the employment and business aspects of law (ABA and Ark Group publishing), international speaking engagements and industry thought leadership vis-a-vis his thinktank and American Lawyer fellowship, our founder - David J. Parnell - is considered one of the top luminaries in the business-of-law and legal recruitment markets. His knowledge base is the foundation upon which True North is built.

OUR NETWORK: We have built a vast network with law firm leadership and other decision-makers at most of the major law firms in the market. And while we understand that our competitors say this, too, you can verify the level of relationships Mr. Parnell's has built over the years by viewing his Forbes column.

OUR REPUTATION: Through the combination of all of the above, we've built comprehensive recognition across, and a reputation in, the major legal markets, giving us direct access at the leadership levels of the NLJ 250 and major boutiques. This means that if we don't personally know the targeted leadership or management, it is likely that they know us and we access them at peer level. To be direct, there is but a handful of other search and placement professionals that have achieved this reach and positioning in the market.

About Our Founder

With 20 years in executive search and placement, six published books and two major media columns, David J. Parnell is one of the most seasoned and respected professionals in the business.

Search & Placement: Mr. Parnell has experience representing attorneys from, and/or representing attorneys to, the vast majority of the "major firms" market, bringing him into the cultural, economic, and business folds of each. His understanding of the intricacies of the legal landscape affords him an effective skill set from which to evaluate and vet both firms and partners.

Author: Mr. Parnell's books represent a thorough and structured understanding of the business and employment sides of the legal market. This structure informs and guides the decisions True North makes for its clients in a predictable way, on a daily basis. As a recruitment boutique, True North doesn't shoot from the hip; its members consider the right angles, through the right lenses, and as a result, provide effective leadership for its clients. To learn more, please see the book descriptions listed below.

Columnist: Mr. Parnell’s Forbes interviews bring him up close and personal with the most important people in BigLaw, providing him unparalleled access and an unparalleled view into the business aspects, and future, of the industry. To learn more, please see the media information listed below.

Speaker: Mr. Parnell's speaking engagements include keynotes for the likes of The Global Legal Post's and International New York Times's The Future of Law Summit (London), The World Services Group's North American Conference (Utah), and Wilmington PLC's Law Firm Chief Strategy Officer Summit (New York) and The Law Firm Innovation Summit (Boston).

Thought Leader: Mr. Parnell is a co-founder of The Legal Institute for Forward Thinking, an international legal think tank and advisory board comprising some of the legal industry's most prominent luminaries, further entrench him as one of a very limited breed of thought-leaders in the legal search and placement industry. He is also an American Lawyer Fellow.

" Who are the Fellows? ALM Intelligence Fellows come from a broad range of backgrounds including: academic institutions, consulting firms, corporate counsel offices, and law firm leadership teams. While individual backgrounds vary, Fellows share two essential qualities: significant experience in the legal industry and ability to produce high quality, data-driven market intelligence on the business of law."

Between True North's recruitment experience and Mr. Parnell's publications, speaking and journalism, he and his firm have built up a network that is unparalleled in firm-to-firm placement, earning them access to the most important people in the industry.

In The Media

You can find Mr. Parnell's work referenced in the likes of Inc., The American Lawyer, Huffington Post, Venture Capital Post, Fox News Magazine, Lawyerist, Thompson Reuter's Legal Executive Institute, Australasian Lawyer, NBC News, The National Law Journal, Law360, Bloomberg, Legal Business World, The Global Legal Post, Business Insider, NZ Lawyer, ABA Journal, The Bleacher Report, and Monster.com, among others.

His Twitter account - which maintains a following of ~20K users - keeps abreast of the most impactful news in the legal market and global economy.

He also writes a business of law column for Forbes, which is integral to the widespread notoriety and recognition of True North as a leader in our space. The column focuses on interviewing some of the most important and iconic professionals in the industry, including the likes of Joe Shenker of Sullivan & Cromwell, Dan Neff of Wachtell, Elliott Portnoy of Dentons, Brad Karp of Paul, Weiss, Larry Sonsini of Wilson Sonsini, Eric Friedman of Skadden, Bob Dell and Bill Voge of Latham & Watkins, and many more.


Emerging Approaches to Law Firm Profitability

Managing and growing a firm’s profitability should not just be an exercise for difficult economic periods, but instead must be a priority at all times. Rather than being perceived as an irksome bolt-on, it is necessary to see it as a great opportunity in these times of increased business. Existing and persistent cultural norms amongst lawyers, however, means that the reform of current business practices does not always come naturally. Nor is it necessarily easy to find the right practical advice that can carry a firm through the transition.

Emerging Approaches to Law Firm Profitability aims to be the ideal tool to assist with implementation, providing essential guidance for those seeking new means of maximizing their firm’s capacity. Featuring advice and reflections from a wide variety of contributors, ranging from business and finance professionals to thought leaders and consultants, this book offers in-depth, intensive  insight into the challenges generated by today’s dynamic and hypercompetitive legal landscape. 

Most importantly, Emerging Approaches to Law Firm Profitability moves past the identification of these obstacles and supplies original, innovative ways of tackling them. Expert guidance is complemented by compelling case studies and effective real-world examples, supplying principles that can be applied to firms of any size or capacity. This book can be purchased (for $195) through Ark Group.

Managing legal Change Initiatives

Successfully managing a change initiative is no simple feat, regardless of the size of the firm – distilling the process of change into a workforce takes careful planning and support. Change is stressful and difficult for people to process and accept, as we often cling to what we know. This is especially true of lawyers, who are notoriously averse to change.

However, the legal sector has begun to rapidly transform – and the firms that don’t change with it are going to struggle to stay relevant. In these turbulent times for firms, change initiatives must be properly managed to ensure the whole firm can successfully shift to the new norm and stick to it. Without the proper support and management, a firm runs the risks of alienating their workforce – who will not take well to sudden and imposed change.

Managing Legal Change Initiatives looks to illustrate the best methods of introducing and managing change in a sector that is known for being adverse to it. The book highlights the critical obstacles and pitfalls that law firms will face during transitional periods, and outlines some of the best methods of approaching organizational change; from building a change framework to follow, to encouraging a shift in partner behavior through the compensation strategy. This new book also explores why change is so difficult for individuals – with discussion of the neuroscience behind change, and the role of emotional intelligence in leaders to help garner a transformation. 

With the disruptions to legal services predicted to continue for some time, it will be those firms who adapt, put into place, and act upon a change management strategy that will be the ones capitalize on changes to come. This book can be purchased (for $196.31) through Ark Group

Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms

In a flat market where organic growth is increasingly difficult to achieve, firms continue to bank on the (considerable) benefits that can accrue from lateral hiring. However, there are still considerable risks.

The newcomer may fail to perform as expected or even make an expensive exit shortly after arriving, their book of business is not as profitable (or as portable) as it first appeared to be, their arrival could upset the cultural apple cart, or that they could be the cause of unforeseen client conflicts.

But the potential payoff when firms do make the right hire make up for all the failed attempts. 

Ark Group's new book Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms is designed to help all firms reassess and strengthen their lateral strategy and processes in line with best practices. 

Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms considers the main issues arising from a strategy of growth through lateral recruitment and shares practical steps that firms should be taking both pre- and post-hire, and on an ongoing basis, that can help them to sidestep common pitfalls and maximize the contributions of their laterals.

With contributions from a range of legal recruiters, consultants, academics, and law firm HR and marketing/BD professionals Smarter Lateral Hiring for Law Firms shows there are steps all firms can take to ensure they approach lateral recruitment in a more structured way, make better decisions and improve their lateral batting average. This book can be purchased (for $245) through Ark Group.

The Mechanics of Law Firm Profitability

Many law firms today are far too focused on increasing market share; they should be paying attention to what makes them a more profitable business. Market share doesn’t matter much if you’re not profitable, and firms cannot simply grow their way to prosperity by undercutting the competition. Instead, firms must focus on value creation and increasing clients’ willingness to pay for their services. The question should be: “What can your firm do better, or more efficiently, and more profitably than anyone else?”

The Mechanics of Law Firm Profitability: People, Process, and Technology examines why a focus on profitability and metrics is reshaping law firm operations and matter management; how to define the bottom line and to distinguish between “good” revenue and “bad”; and how to change the dialogue from “hours and revenue” to “revenue and profit”, while changing the mindset from increasing market share to simply running a profitable business.

The Mechanics of Law Firm Profitability covers topics including: The “every dollar is a good dollar” fallacy: The difference between good and bad revenue; Increasing profitability by improving client intake; Using KM to increase firm profitability; Pricing, profitability, and compensation; Measuring different practice groups, differently; Creating a profitable lateral strategy; Four challenges in managing law firm profitability; Strategy and culture driving effective use of people, process, and technology;  Profitability and the Concept of ‘Managing on the Edge’ – Why It Is Important to Regional Law Firms. This book can be purchased (for $245) through Amazon.

The Failing Law Firm: Symptoms And Remedies

This book was initially written with the purpose of simply illuminating the symptoms of a struggling firm. But after some research and contemplation, Mr. Parnell came to understand that by the time most symptoms revealed themselves, it is often too late for the attorney, management, or leadership to do something about them.

So he dug deeper, seeking not only to more effectively define and articulate the various major components of a firm’s embodiment, but, to also understand the ways in which they interact at a deeper, more fundamental level to induce stability or vulnerability. This deeper understanding can provide readers with a tool that is geared more toward predicting destabilization, rather than just defining it once it is happening.

The other side of this coin is a blueprint that attorneys, management, and leadership can use in analyzing, or planning for, the robustness, cohesiveness, and strength of a firm’s infrastructure and embodiment. Importantly, and perhaps for the first time in a single volume, the themes and deeper phenomena that underlie the various components of a firm and how they interact in a matrix fashion — constructively or destructively — are discussed. This book can be purchased (for $50.27) through Amazon.

In-House: A Lawyer’s Guide to Getting a Corporate Legal Position

This is the “must-have” career book for those seeking to find, secure, and thrive in the fiercely competitive in-house legal market. Author David J. Parnell takes the in-house-bound attorney by the hand, leading him or her through the maze of potential job-hunting strategies, dispelling the myths about corporate life, and offering the reader an arsenal of tips, skills, and methods for creating a successful corporate career. Sometimes irreverent, always poignant, Parnell’s In-House is the first step on your way to corporate legal employment.

One of the more surprising attributes of the book is Parnell’s candor. For the first time, a legal recruiter is giving you an unfettered view of how things are done – or at least how they should be done. No hype, no silver bullets, no BS. For the practicing attorney who is frustrated by their current job search, this offers them a pragmatic, systematic approach that affords them more control over their professional destiny. For the recent graduate or those considering law school, this book offers a neck-breakingly raw explanation of what it takes, point by point, to land one of these positions. This book can be purchased (for $66.06) through Amazon.

Contact Us

  • 260 Madison Ave. New York, NY, 10006
  • 212.390.8087