Ed. note: This is the second installment of The ATL Interrogatories, brought to you by Lateral Link. This recurring feature will give a notable law firm partner an opportunity to share insights and experiences about the legal profession and careers in law, as well as about their firms and themselves.

Theodore Boutrous, Jr. is co-chair of Gibson Dunn‘s appellate and constitutional law groups. He is also a member of the firm’s executive and management committees.

1. What is the greatest challenge to the legal industry over the next five years?

For law firms to maintain strong, lasting bonds with clients and distinctive brands and cultures rather than transforming into large, largely fungible, faceless, bottom-line business enterprises.

2. What has been the biggest positive change to the legal profession since the start of your career?

Technology has revolutionized the legal profession, enhancing productivity, and improving the quality of work, life and client-service capabilities.

3. What has been the biggest negative change to the legal profession since the start of your career?

The demise of law libraries as special sanctuaries for thinking and contemplating and generating ideas.

4. What is the greatest satisfaction of practicing law?

Solving a client’s problem.

5. What is the greatest frustration of practicing law?

Sometimes justice is not done, no matter what you do.

6. What is your firm’s greatest strength?

Our culture, which is built on collegiality, excellence, teamwork, opportunity, openness and inclusiveness.

7. What is the single most important personal characteristic for a successful lawyer in your field?

Always believing you can win the case.

8. What is your favorite legally themed film or television show?

The film The Fortune Cookie (1966), starring Walter Matthau as a crooked ambulance-chasing plaintiff’s lawyer and Jack Lemmon as his injuring-faking client, who in the end won’t go through with the litigation scam.

9. What is your favorite legally themed book (fiction or non-fiction)?

The Federalist Papers.

10. What would you be if you weren’t a lawyer?

A journalist.


Lateral Link‘s recruiters are on pace to place hundreds of attorneys throughout the world this year. We are currently involved in over three dozen active partner searches including opening the office of an AmLaw 50 firm in a new location, the merger of an AmLaw 10 firm with a foreign firm, finding practice chairs for several AmLaw10 firms, and searches for groups of partners in at least ten different cities, including Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Dallas, and Chicago.  We are currently working with partner candidates with $500k to $35M in portable business.  For more information, please call Larry Latourette, Principal at Lateral Link, Head of Partner Practice.