Chief Operating Officer
Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell was established in 1998, and currently numbers more than 100 lawyers. The firm represents sophisticated clients in high-stakes civil trials, appeals and related litigation ranging from complex commercial to class actions to multidistrict litigations. Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell lawyers have taken more than 1,300 trials, arbitrations and appeals to verdict, award, or opinion in 45 states and Washington D.C., with exceptional results for our clients.
The Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) will be a critical member of Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP’s (“WTO” or “Firm”) leadership team, reporting to the Firm’s Managing Partner and working closely with the Firm’s Management Committee. With a spirit of innovation and collaboration, combined with integrity, judgment, strategic vision, business acumen, and demonstrated leadership, this executive will direct administrative operations across the Firm and play a key role in furthering the Firm’s commitment to excellence and positioning the Firm for continued success in the competitive, national legal marketplace.
- Holds highest non-attorney position in the Firm and will be a critical member of the Firm’s leadership team.
- Responsible for the direction of all operational and administrative functions and will lead and manage the directors and managers responsible for finance and accounting; marketing and business development; conflicts and loss prevention; information services and technology; human resources; staff and attorney recruiting; professional development; office operations; and facilities and real estate.
- Must operate comfortably across this broad spectrum of responsibilities, providing full support for the Firm’s strategic goals and ensuring that competitive financial results are achieved.
- Must be equally comfortable executing and promoting decisions of the Managing Partner and Management Committee, and formulating, proposing, and leading substantial Firm-wide initiatives.
- Lead, direct, and transform all administrative operations of the Firm in furtherance of the Firm’s collaborative culture of integrity and excellence, as well as its goal of delivering market-leading client services (litigation, trials, and appeals).
Operations, Strategic Planning, and Growth
- Serve as a strategic business partner and trusted advisor to the Firm’s Managing Partner and Management Committee, providing regular analyses and evaluations regarding operational issues, industry trends, and competitive conditions.
- Develop and execute WTO’s strategic plan to address current and future or predicted market and competitive conditions.
- Lead and direct all business operations through a team of directors and managers, ensuring smooth operations across the Firm that facilitate advancement and execution of the Firm’s strategic objectives.
- Develop a strong understanding of the Firm’s clients and the levers of support and profitability for each.
- Evaluate administrative and support functions and revise processes to facilitate efficient and cost-effective operations and client service.
- Work in concert with Firm leadership to continually and proactively assess areas of organizational risk and act to mitigate when necessary.
- Participate in professional and industry groups to stay informed of trends and changes in the legal industry.
Core Values and Culture
- Maintain and strengthen the Firm’s culture and core values: practicing to the highest professional and ethical standards; integrity; collegiality; meritocracy; kindness; respect; generosity; loyalty; diversity (of thought and personal backgrounds); inclusion; empathy; compassion; community service; citizenship; multigenerational success; transparency; and entrepreneurship.
- Instill a culture of service and purpose that extends beyond simple revenue generation to the Firm’s founding sense of mission serving our clients and the national, state, and local communities in ways that accrue to the benefit of the greater public good.
- Balance and address competing priorities and demands with fairness while promoting a “one Firm” culture.
- Value and respect the contributions made by all employees, and encourage personal and professional development at all levels of the Firm.
People Management and Development
- Serve as an integral part of the Firm’s leadership team that interacts regularly, productively, and collaboratively with the Firm’s staff and ensure appropriate administrative support to the leadership team and Partners.
- Align all staff functions and initiatives with the Firm’s business objectives and encourage and facilitate cross-functional staff initiatives as necessary to support the accomplishment of those objectives.
- Help ensure that the Human Resources function aligns the Firm’s talent needs, for both attorneys and staff, with the Firm’s overarching strategic goals.
- Participate in fostering the Firm’s collegial, collaborative, and inclusive culture that establishes and sustains camaraderie among the administrative team and with the Firm’s attorneys.
- Provide support for Firm initiatives and programs related to diversity, inclusion, and promotion of individuals of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Management, Leadership, and Communication Skills
- Motivational leader who can engage his or her team in the pursuit of the highest level of work and productivity.
- Communicates courteously, professionally, and persuasively using excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Demonstrates a high level of service delivery to ensure internal and external client satisfaction.
- Demonstrates ability to exercise sound judgment in matters regarding personnel and business operations.
- Credible and professional presence that engenders trust and confidence from all members of an organization.
- A track record building and leading high performance teams that work collaboratively to meet established organizational goals.
- Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to manage and persuade others through consensus and collaboration.
- Excellent time management and project management skills.
- Honest, ethical, generous, reliable, loyal, team-oriented, empathetic, collegial, respectful, consensus-building, energetic, proactive, self-directed, passionate about the Firm’s mission, and decisive with a high degree of emotional intelligence.
- Demonstrates resilience and solidarity after debate.
- Well-organized and sufficiently methodical such that others can easily follow.
- Analytical, intellectually curious, pragmatic, and creative problem-solver who is motivated to seek out answers and solutions.
- Personal presence, demeanor, and business judgment that engenders confidence and credibility and easily builds productive interpersonal relationships with all stakeholders.
Required Education and Experience
- A bachelor’s degree, preferably in business administration, finance/accounting, professional/business development, or a related field, is required; an advanced degree is preferred and an MBA is strongly preferred.
- Fifteen or more years of professional experience, including ten or more years in management, ideally in law firms or other professional services firms.
Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.
The team atmosphere is fostered not only by the lawyers, but by all members of the support staff. Our firm’s employees are proud of collaborating to service firm clients. Our commitment to teamwork allows us to tap multiple fields of experience from our range of practice areas, ensuring our ability to meet each client’s individual needs. Our team approach enables us to analyze a situation from several points of view until we uncover the advantage that makes the difference for our client.
Position Type/Expected Hours of Work
This is a full-time, 40+ hour per week position that may require being available evenings and weekends at times. It is an exempt position, and is not entitled to overtime pay. A hybrid remote/in-office schedule may be available.
Travel is limited and primarily local during the business day, although some out-of-area and overnight travel may be needed to attend conferences or other professional functions.
Salary Range: $350,000 - $400,000 annually (i.e. base salary plus merit bonus). The final salary will be commensurate with education and experience. Additionally, the firm provides standard benefits including health insurance, 401(k) contribution, and paid time off, with annual bonus potential based on firm performance.
An Equal Opportunity Employer
We are an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE) that values and respects the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce. It is the policy of the firm to recruit, hire, train and promote persons in all job titles without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, sex, age, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a driving force in the success of our firm. It is our intention that all qualified applicants are given equal opportunity and that selection decisions be based on job-related factors.