Jerome Kowalski is the founder and a principal of Kowalski & Associates, one of the nation’s premier consulting firms serving the legal profession exclusivly. Kowalski & Associates serves many AmLaw 200 firms as well as mid-size firms throughout the nation. The firm has been involved in numerous law firm mergers, acquisitions of practice groups, opening of branch offices for law firms, provides strategic planning for law firms, provides counsel on alternative fee agreements and alternative billing arrangements, as well as keeping close track on various trends affecting the legal profession. Jerry is also a frequent speaker at law firm retreats and is regularly authoritatively quoted in various media regarding matters affecting the legal profession.
Jerry is a 1972 honors graduate of Brooklyn College where he majored in political science and served as the president of the Political Science Society. Upon graduation from college, Mr. Kowalski attended New York Law School, from which he graduated in 1977 with honors. Following graduation from law school, Mr. Kowalski became associated with the Wall Street law firm of Reavis & McGrath, which subsequently merged in to Fulbright & Jaworski, one of the nation’s 100 largest law firms. In 1979, Mr. Kowalski became associated with Finley, Kumble, Wagner, and Heine & Underberg which, by 1983 became the second largest law firm in the world. Mr. Kowalski was elected to the Finley Kumble partnership in 1982, becoming the youngest partner ever elected to that firm’s partnership.
In 1982, Mr. Kowalski was appointed to serve as the Chairman of Finley Kumble’s Hiring Committee. The firm’s hiring committee was then one of only three managerial committees of the firm, the other two being the firm’s Executive Committee and the firm’s Management Committee. In his capacity as Chairman of the Hiring Committee, Mr. Kowalski had supervisory authority over the hiring of over 100 lawyers a year throughout Finley Kumble’s eight offices around the world. Mr. Kowalski served as a member of the advisory committee of the National Association of Legal Placement, an organization consisting of the deans, deans of admission of each ABA accredited law school and the hiring partners of each of the nation’s major law firms. Mr. Kowalski chaired various panels of NALP and spoke at various symposia of NALP.
In 1984, Mr. Kowalski was appointed to serve as a counsel to the Governor’s Committee on Judicial Selection. In 1985, Mr. Kowalski was appointed to serve as a member of the Global Board of Overseers of Bar Ilan University, the largest university in Israel and served on the committee which created that university’s law school, the first post baccalaureate law school in Israel.
In 1987, Mr. Kowalski joined the firm of Parker, Chapin, Flattau & Klimpl, a 150 lawyer New York based law firm, which subsequently merged with Troutman & Sanders, one of the nation’s 50 largest law firms.
Mr. Kowalski, while in the active practice of law was a member of the American Bar Association (Sections of Litigation and Law Firm Management), the New York State Bar Association and The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he served on the Committee on Lawyer Discipline.
Mr. Kowalski served as counsel for the Government of Israel’s Departments of Defense, Department of Finance, the Bank of Israel (Israel’s central bank), the Government of Israel’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, El Al Israel Airlines, Clal, the second largest corporation in Israel, and served as an adviser to Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin and Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Minister of Finance Ya’acov Ne’eman. Mr. Kowalski has been honored by Bar Ilan University, The Israel Bond Organization, the Lubavitch Youth Organization and various other communal groups.
In 1992, Mr. Kowalski, while continuing to practice law part time, became associated with Alan Roberts & Company, a legal recruiting firm, specializing in the placement of partners and practice groups with the nation’s largest law firms.
In 1995, Mr. Kowalski formed Kowalski & Associates, which provides management consulting merger and acquisition services, advisory services regarding strategic planning, maximization of profitability, maximum utilization of professionals employed at law firms, compensation of associates and distribution of profits among partners and legal recruiting exclusively to law firms. K&A possesses unique in depth knowledge of law firm economics, trends in the legal profession, management, compensation systems for partners and associates, and possesses in depth knowledge of varying cultures at different firms. K&A works with its client in developing business plans and helps identify growth opportunities unique to each of its individual clients. The firm conducts focused searches for prospective merger or acquisition candidates, including branch offices, practice groups and individual candidates. Kowalski & Associates prepares detailed analyses and profiles of prospective candidates, facilitates discussions and negotiations, and works with its clients in developing merger and integration plans. The firm’s guiding principal is to always work collaboratively and in partnership with its clients.
Jerry also delivers detailed proprietary confidential annual reports to the firm’s clients addressing, among other things, emerging trends in the legal profession, economic and industry trends directly affecting the profession, compensation trends, alternative billing systems, emerging growth areas, as well as identifying particular practice areas which are on the decline.
Mr. Kowalski frequently addresses meetings of law firm executive and managing committees and law firm partnership meetings as well as peer group sessions of managing partners.
Mr. Kowalski serves on the executive editorial advisory board of Precision Law, the nation’s second largest publisher of legal periodicals.
Mr. Kowalski has been quoted an average of five times or more each month in various publications as an authority on matters affecting the legal profession. Among others, Mr. Kowalski has been quoted in Law 360 publications, AmLaw publications, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, various legal blogs and syndicated television programs on the areas of his expertise, described at length above.
Jerry Kowalski is the author of Navigating the Perfect Storm: Recruiting, Training and Retaining Lawyers in the Coming Decade (Ark Press, 2010); a major analysis of current market trends in the profession.
Principle focuses addressed of the book are on recruiting lawyers at every level, the training of those lawyers and retaining those in whom firms have invested substantial time and energy. With the market flooded with high quality flooded lawyers who were the victims of recent layoffs and the waves of 45,000 new graduates entering the market each year.
Navigating The Perfect Storm is available through www.ark-group.com and Amazon.
With clients now purchasing legal services through the prism of corporate purchasing agents and price becoming significantly more important factors than prior relationships or name branded law firms, new opportunities for smaller and middle market firms are ballooning. The shifting dynamics of the current revolution within the profession also are creating new opportunities for these firms which should be further explored by these firms. These shifting sands also require a review of associate utilization and compensation methods, as well as increased reliance on outsourcing of legal work and escalating use of temporary staff lawyers. These issues are also addressed.
In addition, Mr. Kowalski has published many articles, including, most recently, Law Firm Reports on Revenues and Profitability: a Radical Proposal; Associate Compensation in the New Era; Associate Utilization in the New Era; Lateral Partner Movement in 2010; Ovehauling The Associate Recruitment System. In addition, Mr. Kowalski regularly delivers detailed proprietary monographs of a confidential nature to individual clients.
Jerry divides his time between Kowalski & Associates’ New York and Washington offices, when he is not traveling around the country meeting with various clients.