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Five Leadership Lessons from a Firm MP

Less than two years after starting as Kelley Drye's DC managing partner, Lew Rose was elected managing partner of the firm. He's the first managing partner outside of New York in the firm's 179 years.


At Kelley Drye after time at the FTC and Arent Fox, Lew was initially chair of the advertising & marketing practice. He took over as firm MP in January from Jim Kirk, who held the lead role for 11 years. We caught up with Lew about his leadership style. It hasn't changed since the early days, he tells us. He has five "mantras":

(1) Inclusion. He's in the midst of meeting with all of the firm's 600 partners, associates and staff.

(2) Transparency. He's very open about strengths and where he'll focus his attention.

(3) Each Person is "All In." Commitment is required from all lawyers and staff. There are tremendous changes in the legal field, and everyone's help is needed in deciding in which directions to go.

(4) Marketing. It's important to create a "culture of marketing." Marketing isn't something you do next Thursday at 2pm, it's something you need to be thinking about and doing all the time.

(5) Increased quality of life. Along with working hard, people should have fun at the office.


On the subject of fun at the office, Lew's record in DC is nigh unbeatable--including an annual office-wide walk around the cherry blossoms (above in 2013 when he started as DC MP), holiday chorus and bring your dog to work day. During Lew's time as DC MP, the office was named one of the top places to work by WaPo and the Washington Business Journal.


Here's Lew last year with NFL tight end Gerell Robinson during a sports client retreat in Vegas. The firm has six offices in the US and no plans to add any or make major mergers, Lew says. "We like our size, we like our national footprint." A few areas in which the firm would like to make strategic investments are the energy practice (which started about a year ago when Mark Robeck joined in DC from Baker Botts), government contracts and the corporate practice group.

Related Topics: Kelley Drye, Lew Rose