What good is a brilliant strategy without exemplary execution? Lawyers know it all too well: The greatest of minds can come up with a fool-proof plan, built on extensive research with regional nuance, but if it isn’t expertly implemented – it’s a bad plan.

Nick Pournader, co-founder and CEO of management consulting firm P&C Global, built his company to fill the gap that he perceived in consultancies that service the legal sector and in particular, law firms. From his experience, too often they offer a plan without follow-through and their economic objectives are not aligned with their clients’. And he is all about the follow-through and aligned objectives.

Pournader’s CV boasts an eclectic mix of expertise – high tech, real estate and financial services, to name a few. He began working with law firms early in his professional career, and referrals from law firm leaders helped develop his efforts into a thriving division within the firm.

His background in high tech gives him a distinct advantage across all sectors – including a strong foundational understanding of modern AI technologies. Pournader and his partners have been early adopters of AI systems within their firm and their client’s firms, and they have been excited by the results. 

While clearly revolutionary, Pournader still believes that even the smartest AI is only as strong as the very human hands it rests in. Implementation is everything. “We recognize that technology alone is not enough, our people are our greatest asset,” says Pournader. “It's this combination of cutting-edge technology and continuous professional development that keeps us ahead in delivering innovative, effective solutions to our clients.”

P&C has over 7,500 employees globally and Pournader will tell you the connective tissue is passion for client outcomes and humor. While big numbers and satisfied clients are paramount, Pournader – a member of the Lawdragon 100 Global Leaders in Legal Strategy & Consulting for three years running – is most proud of the culture that he’s cultivated.

Lawdragon: What inspired you to found P&C Global?

Nick Pournader: I was driven by my vision to create a consultancy that transcends the traditional model. I saw a gap in the market where most management consultancies were delivering strategy without execution, often culminating in extensive presentations but lacking in practical implementation. This approach raised questions about the real value and accountability of consulting services.

I envisioned a firm where strategy and execution go hand in hand, where clients receive not just advice but tangible, actionable outcomes. At P&C Global, we've established a model of mutual accountability with our clients, ensuring that we're not just strategists but partners in implementation. This commitment to delivering real, lasting benefits is at the heart of why I founded P&C Global – to make a meaningful difference in our clients' success.

LD: The firm serves an impressively diverse range of sectors. How and when did law firms come into the mix, and what do you enjoy about working with law firms specifically?

NP: My initial exposure to the legal sector began with my role at Munsch, Hardt, Kopf & Harr in Dallas – fresh out of graduate school at the age of 18. This experience, along with my later work at SunGard, gave me a unique perspective on the consulting landscape for law firms. I observed that many consultancies in this space, even today, are essentially product resellers masquerading as full-service consultants. They often focus on core technology solutions, driven by incentives to sell specific products from other companies, which can lead to a conflict of interest and a lack of genuine, broad-spectrum consulting expertise.

In 2016, we made a transformative decision to invest heavily in AI, a move that has significantly enhanced the quality and consistency of our client service delivery and internal operations.

This realization highlighted a significant gap in the market. At P&C Global, we saw an opportunity to offer law firms something different – a consultancy with deep expertise across strategy, innovation, operations, technology, risk management, human capital and more, free from the bias of being a reseller. Our entry into serving law firms was driven by demand from my contacts in the industry, who were seeking comprehensive, unbiased consulting services. Our growth in this sector has been organic, driven by executive-to-executive referrals, underscoring our commitment to providing real value and transformative outcomes. Even to this day, we have zero marketing effort or spend in the law firm industry and our growth in the sector is purely based on client referral-driven demand.

Working with law firms is particularly rewarding because it allows us to apply our extensive expertise to an industry that is often at a crossroads of tradition and innovation. We help these firms navigate complex challenges, offering solutions that are not limited to technology but encompass a full range of strategic consulting services.

LD: Tell me about the firm’s expansion.

NP: Our global expansion has been a strategic journey, driven by the goal of serving our clients in their key markets and leveraging local expertise. The decision to establish each of our offices has been a careful balance of strategic importance, client needs and the unique opportunities each region presents.

A standout example of this strategy in action is our Asian hub in Tokyo. Sandra Matasuki, who was originally based in our Toronto office, played a crucial role in this expansion. Living in Toronto with her Canadian husband, Sandra had a unique perspective on global business dynamics. Recognizing the potential in Tokyo, she presented a compelling business case for establishing our presence there. Her clear roadmap to leverage our growing client and employee base in Tokyo was instrumental in elevating this location to our Asian hub.

Under Sandra's leadership, the Tokyo office has become a cornerstone of our operations in Asia. Her foresight and strategic planning not only facilitated our successful expansion into the Asian market but also reinforced our commitment to being where our clients need us the most. Sandra's journey from Toronto to Tokyo exemplifies our ethos at P&C Global – empowering our people to take initiative and lead growth.

As we look to the future, our expansion strategy remains dynamic and responsive to the evolving needs of our clients and the global market. We are excited about the opportunities that new markets and talents like Sandra will continue to bring to our firm and our clients.

LD: Innovation is an underpinning of all the work at the firm. How do you and the team continue to stay on the cutting-edge of corporate innovation across sectors?

NP: Our approach to staying at the forefront of innovation at P&C Global is twofold: strategic technological investment and a strong commitment to professional education. In 2016, we made a transformative decision to invest heavily in AI, a move that has significantly enhanced the quality and consistency of our client service delivery and internal operations. This investment in AI has led to groundbreaking solutions for our clients and innovative technologies that power our firm, including our Proactive Pay Equity process, Uniform Engagement Approach, and 4D Engagement Methodologies. These AI-driven tools have become the standard behind our transformative client outcomes across all industries, including law.

Simultaneously, we recognize that technology alone is not enough. Our people are our greatest asset, and we invest over $65M annually in professional education to ensure our team members stay at the top of their respective fields. This investment in ongoing education, in partnership with top-tier global universities, ensures that our team not only understands the latest trends and technologies but also how to apply them effectively in real-world scenarios. It's this combination of cutting-edge technology and continuous professional development that keeps us ahead in delivering innovative, effective solutions to our clients.

Adaptability and embracing change are at the core of our advice to law firms, regardless of their size.

Our journey with AI and our focus on professional education exemplify our ethos of continuous improvement and adaptation. It's about combining technological advancements with human expertise to create a culture of innovation that drives success for our clients and our firm.

LD: The law firms and corporations that P&C Global works with are major players in their respective industries. What advice do you find yourself and the team giving law firms that can apply to firms of all sizes?

NP: Adaptability and embracing change are at the core of our advice to law firms, regardless of their size. This is best exemplified by our work with a mid-sized law firm, which faced challenges in growth and competition.

When the firm approached us, they were grappling with stagnating growth and increasing market pressure. Our team conducted a comprehensive analysis of their operations, market positioning and client engagement strategies. We identified a critical need for digital transformation, not just in their operational tools but in their overall approach to client engagement.

We guided the firm in implementing a sophisticated client portal, offering personalized legal services and automated client interactions. This innovation led to a 25 percent increase in client satisfaction and a 15 percent uptick in client retention within the first year. Additionally, by restructuring their internal processes for greater agility, the firm achieved a 20 percent improvement in operational efficiency, translating to annual cost savings of $7.5M USD.

The most impressive outcome was the financial turnaround. Within a year of implementing our strategies, the firm reported a 30 percent increase in profitability, driven by enhanced client acquisition and operational cost reductions. This real-world example demonstrates the impact of our strategic advice, tailored to the unique needs of each firm, and underscores the potential for significant savings and growth through adaptability and strategic change.

LD: Are there any misconceptions law firms have about working with consultants?

NP: A significant misconception in the legal industry is the belief that all consulting firms, especially those claiming to implement solutions, are equipped to provide comprehensive, unbiased advice. In reality, many of these firms, particularly those focused on technology, are often resellers with financial incentives tied to specific software and hardware companies. This creates a conflict of interest, as their recommendations may be more about selling products than addressing the unique needs of the law firm.

For instance, we encountered a situation where a law firm had engaged a 'full-service' consultancy that was, in essence, a technology reseller. The firm was advised to implement a suite of expensive software solutions. However, these recommendations were not aligned with the law firm's actual operational needs and strategic goals. When P&C Global was brought in, we conducted an unbiased assessment and found that the proposed technology was not only unnecessary but would have been counterproductive.

Our approach was to develop a strategy based on the law firm's specific requirements, using our own proven frameworks that are free from such conflicts of interest. We focused on practical, actionable solutions that led to measurable improvements in the firm's efficiency and client service delivery, without the burden of unnecessary technology implementations. This example highlights the importance of choosing a consulting partner like P&C Global, which operates with integrity and expertise, ensuring that recommendations are solely in the best interest of the client, not driven by external financial incentives.

Humor is a powerful tool that breaks down barriers and fosters a sense of unity and creativity.

LD: What does your day-to-day look like in managing such an expansive firm? Do you find the breadth challenging, rewarding, or both?

NP: Each day at P&C Global is a unique blend of strategic decision-making, team collaboration, and client interactions. Since I make it a point of leading two to three client engagements at all times, it's like being in a high-stakes game of chess where every move counts, but thankfully, I've always been good at chess. I enjoy being close to our clients and our teams, so I really love being on client teams and serving our teams and clients first-hand. 

The breadth of managing such a diverse firm is certainly challenging – it keeps my coffee consumption high and my problem-solving skills sharp. But more than that, it's incredibly rewarding. Seeing our strategies make a real impact across different industries and geographies is as satisfying as solving a complex puzzle.

I end each day being genuinely thankful for the opportunity to work with an exceptionally bright and committed team and for our loyal and truly incredible clients who trust us with their most vital initiatives. 

LD: You wrote a piece on humor in the workplace. Can you tell us a bit about why that’s so important to the firm’s culture?

NP: Humor at P&C Global is like the universal language among our 7,500+ employees spanning 73 nationalities. It's not just about cracking jokes; it's about creating a bond across this vast and diverse team. Our culture, with its impressive scale and diversity, thrives on kindness and collaboration. Humor plays a pivotal role in this, ensuring that despite our differences, everyone can share a laugh and feel part of the P&C Global family. It's a powerful tool that breaks down barriers and fosters a sense of unity and creativity.

Imagine the challenge of keeping a 7,500-strong, globally diverse team connected and engaged. Humor is our secret ingredient, ensuring that our workplace is not just a hub of innovation and excellence but also a place where each day is enjoyable. Seriousness about our work coexists with the joy of working together, where we value the power of a good laugh as much as we respect each other's insights and expertise.

LD: What are you proudest of in the firm’s growth?

NP: I am proudest of the culture we have built and the team we have assembled. Our growth is not just in numbers but in the depth of expertise and the positive impact we have made on our clients and communities. At the end of the day, the hundreds of client success videos and testimonials from the leaders of the world’s most respected brands is something we can all be proud of and deeply humbled by our clients’ trust. 

LD: What do you enjoy most about the team you’ve built?

NP: The diversity of thought, the passion for excellence, and the unwavering commitment to our values are what I enjoy most about our team at P&C Global. They are not just colleagues; they are a family committed to driving change and achieving greatness. Each member brings a unique perspective, enriching our collective wisdom and driving innovation.

What truly stands out for me is the way our team members embrace challenges with enthusiasm. It's like they see every complex problem as a Rubik's Cube – something to be solved with both intellect and creativity. This attitude is infectious and elevates our entire work environment.

Plus, some of them have a wicked sense of humor! It's not uncommon to hear laughter echoing through our corridors, a testament to the camaraderie and light-hearted spirit that coexists with our serious commitment to our work. This blend of professionalism with a touch of humor makes our team not just highly effective but also a joy to work with.

Their dedication is reflected in the extraordinary results we achieve for our clients. It's incredibly rewarding to witness their growth and to see how their contributions make a real difference in the world. I am constantly inspired by their drive, their integrity, and their ability to turn visions into reality. This is the team that makes P&C Global not just a successful consulting firm, but a place where innovation, excellence and enjoyment go hand in hand.