With more than 2200 lawyers around the world, Jones Day ranks among the largest, most geographically diverse law firms. The Firm represents more than half of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as a wide variety of other entities, including privately held companies, financial institutions, investment firms, health care providers, retail chains, foundations, educational institutions, and individuals.
We are a long-term institution. Unlike many firms, we do not manage to short-term metrics-- as our decision not to fire associates and staff during the recent difficult economic environment illustrates. We march to our own drumbeat and do not feel compelled to respond to other firms' or analysts' perceptions of the legal "marketplace." We do not accept that financial metrics like profits per partner or revenues per lawyer - which are often the subject of rankings and commentary in the legal press - are the most useful measure of law firm success. Instead, we believe they are an inadequate and shallow basis for judging the financial success of a law firm, let alone its professional accomplishment. Several distinguished law firms have, in fact, collapsed in recent years precisely because of their focus on short-term financial returns, often bolstered by debt borrowings. Jones Day has no debt and its finances are conservatively managed. Our priorities are client service and institutional stability. We measure our success by the satisfaction of our clients and the growing demand for our services.
We believe that the long-run success of the institution, not any individual or group, must be the governing principle for all decisions. We believe that we have collective obligations – not only to clients, but to all of those (probably in the aggregate 20,000 or more people) who depend on the continued success of Jones Day as an institution – that outweigh any individual or group desires. We also believe that most talented lawyers want to provide truly effective service to clients, and that the Firm should be operated to enhance their ability to do so. We recognize that the words in which these principles are expressed are not unique to Jones Day. What is unusual is the fact that the Firm is actually managed through the active application of these principles.
There are many rewards, economic and other, to members of a great professional institution. But in the end, they all derive from the willingness of clients to continue to seek help and advice from that institution, to expand their initial use of that institution to other disciplines and other locations, and to communicate to their peers their satisfaction with the professional service they receive – all of which will inevitably be reflected in the continued success of that institution over time. Continuous growth in the amount and kind of legal services that a law firm is asked to undertake for its clients will serve to attract talented lawyers to want to become part of that firm, and will be a strong force in retaining the firm's talented lawyers against the solicitations they will inevitably receive from others. All of this is self-reinforcing; each aspect strengthens the other. But they all flow from consistently satisfying clients.
There is obviously a significant business component that underlies our professional efforts; we understand we have an obligation to our clients and to all our lawyers, our staff, and their dependents to operate effectively and efficiently. Our view is that is best accomplished by maintaining an intense focus on the values and principles on which Jones Day was built over the years, including most significantly client service. It is the execution of that approach over more than a century that has produced what we believe is a unique global legal institution.