A Law Firm with a Purpose, Other than Making Money

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the Harvard Business School professor, argues that “great companies” are more than “money-generating machines.” She posits that along with earning revenues, “they are also vehicles for accomplishing societal purposes and for providing meaningful livelihoods for those who work in them.”

And in the American Lawyer article that brought Kanter’s work to our attention, ALM’s editor in chief Aric Press argues that, “Kanter’s message is as applicable to the lawyers as the clients.” Press suggests that if a law firm aspired to a purpose greater than making money, providing excellent client service and providing a venue in which high-end law can be practiced–if the goal were even loftier–then “it might change the way lawyers think of themselves and the way others think of them.” We couldn’t agree more.

Press puts forth a few examples of what such a lofty purpose might be–spreading the rule of law; encouraging the peaceful resolution of disputes; building a more certain economy. These are certainly worthwhile purposes indeed. Are there others you would add to the list? What is your firm’s greater purpose?