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October 07 Businessexcellence 39 culture. We have a premier group of clients, some of whom have been with us for decades, with highly specialized needs. We want to keep our niche market.” Even with annual revenues approaching $140 million, there are still as many opportunities for growth in the intellectual property business as there were in the days of the emerging electrical industry. “Our strategy for growth is to look at industry trends, new industries and client needs,” says Bey, and some of the new industries now offering growth would have amazed William Houston Kenyon. “Fashion and apparel are major expansion areas,” Bey explains, where there are issues in trademark infringement and marketing of the product. “I also see expansion in our international trade practice. We author the book on ITC (Unfair Competition and the ITC: Actions Before the International Trade Commission Under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930). Most law libraries have a copy of that book. Also emerging is green technology; we’re expanding our university and research related work; and interactive entertainment law is a major area of growth for us.” And then there’s the pharmaceutical sector, a constant source of new business as new medications come onto the market and existing patents expire. “There’s a long list of patent expirations coming up in the next few years,” says Bey. “A number of legal issues arise when generic companies start manufacturing medications before patents expire.” Keeping up with advancing technology and the speed at which new patents proliferate requires expertise of the highest caliber. “There is an enormous depth of knowledge among our lawyers. They all have advanced degrees in their area of specialty including electrical and mechanical engineering, chemistry, microbiology, computer science and so on. Twenty three of our lawyers are PhDs. These are people with highly specialized skills.” As the firm grew to almost 200 lawyers, however, running it also became more complex. While highly specialized skills are a necessity for intellectual property practice, busy lawyers cannot be expected to run a complex business effectively at the same time, so Kenyon & Kenyon has extended its pioneering approach beyond the legal field into business administration. Legend has it that law firms are slow to change, but Gwen Bey’s seven years’ experience at the firm explode that myth. Her position as chief administrative officer is evidence enough of that. Lawyers have traditionally tried to do everything themselves, but law firms are gradually being run more like other businesses, and Kenyon is in the forefront of that trend, allowing Bey a great deal of executive autonomy. To a writer accustomed more to manufacturing than law, it seems only common sense to allow each professional to practice his or her own specialty, and administration has become a specialty in itself, but Bey puts things in perspective by reminding me that the partners still own the business. “It’s sometimes hard for lawyers to let go of responsibility,” she says, “and I think the key thing for a person in my position is to earn the respect of the lawyers and build confidence. If you have those two, it’s much easier to be given more responsibility and to succeed.” Kenyon & Kenyon has two primary governing committees, a management committee and an executive committee, the former focusing on the day to day administration and the latter on strategy and long term planning. There’s nothing ground breaking or unusual in that, but it gives Bey a formal platform for improving business practices and operations. Bey is now responsible for overseeing all non-legal aspects of the firm, including lease negotiations, marketing, finance, HR and information technology. She joined in 2000 as director of administration, and was promoted to chief administrative officer just two weeks before 9/11. The 9/11 attacks on Lower Manhattan obviously thrust Bey and the firm into crisis mode, but it gave Bey a chance to quickly display her leadership skills. She was a key member of the team administering Kenyon’s disaster “I really created the chief administrative officer position at the firm. In the last six years, I have done a lot of reengineering of the administrative organizational structure, the marketing and IT departments” Kenyon&Kenyon