Member Spotlight | Rob de Jong

Managing Partner, Rose/deJong

ACG WI Member Since: 2011

ACG WI Involvement: Board Member (since 2020), Membership Committee

Rob de Jong

Why did you join ACG?
ACG is the best place in Milwaukee for M&A professionals to network and learn.

How has ACG WI helped you in your career?
I’ve learned a ton and I’ve met so many people of high character and insight. Oh, I almost forgot, the referrals. Joking aside, we are a small law firm and (relatively) young law firm and ACG allows us to have meaningful, consistent access to the top M&A professionals and executives in Wisconsin. It’s been invaluable.

What lessons have you learned during the pandemic that you think you will carry over in the long term?
Flexibility rules the day. Before the pandemic, my laptop never left my office. Within days, we realized that we could operate remotely and still provide quality services. We have always provided M&A services on a team basis and by operating remotely we realized we needed to increase our meetings from weekly to daily to ensure everyone is on the same page. We quickly realized that we were actually working much more efficiently and effectively with a daily 30-minute touch-base meeting. We will keep that practice in place once we all get back to the office.

What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years, and what actions is your business taking to position it for success in the future? 
The biggest challenge, and opportunity, for law firms, in my view, is cultural.  In my experience, most law firms spend little to no time on culture. And by culture, I mean getting the right people who work for the right reasons. We strive to provide a team-based positive environment, but one that challenges all lawyers to develop at all phases of their careers. Hiring new lawyers just based upon class rankings and academic accolades is not enough; they also need to fit-in culturally and it takes a lot of effort to sort that out. Our view is that a young lawyer should not be hired unless we, as a firm, believe that that person will spend their entire career at our firm. We don’t hire just for need. And, once hired, there needs to be a firm-wide commitment to finding that lawyer’s strengths and weaknesses and putting them in the best place to succeed. And you will notice, that I haven’t once mentioned clients or changes in technology, things one normally hears when we talk about challenges to our industry. And that is because I believe if you have the right people in place and provide the right support for them, they will be able to meet all of these challenges in stride.

What do you do for fun?
Cooking, smoking cigars, skiing, NYT’s crossword puzzles.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Work less but bill more.

What is the best book you have read this past year?
Anything by Elmore Leonard.


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