David Maister Retires

News that author & professional services consultant David Maister is retiring likely doesn’t shock many of us here at Slaw. It seems, however, that this is a moment for reflection.

David’s writing has influenced so many in this industry, including the group of bloggers here at Slaw. The fact that we’ve referenced his name 26 times over our short life certainly says something. I also know few managing partners that haven’t invested their time to read David’s body of work.

For myself, I distinctly remember reading David’s Managing the Professional Service Firm soon after I started working for law firms in the mid ’90s. It became one of the first legal business books to really capture me; though to this day The Trusted Advisor remains my favourite.

David is also embedded within one of my favourite blogging experiences, which I detailed in October 2005 here on Slaw. My questions on law firm KM programs and the impact on realization rates were kindly answered by David, along with his blessing to re-publish this response. Being taken seriously by David, led to responses from industry heavyweights Gerry Riskin, Stuart Kay and Bruce MacEwan.

Simon Chester probably summed up my experience better than anyone could, saying: “You couldn’t pay for the advice you’ve received.” To this day, I believe that.

So happy retirement from all of us here at Slaw, David. You deserve it!


  1. >>>“You couldn’t pay for the advice you’ve received.“

    Quite so. That’s a remarkable recommendation. [g]

    Sorry, Simon.

    For more of that,

    The Lexicon of Intentionally Ambiguous Recommendations by Robert J. Thornton – Google Books preview http://tinyurl.com/yewlfrc

    and at

    http://www.amazon.ca/Lexicon-Intentionally-Ambiguous-Recommendations-L-I/dp/1402201397, amonst other places.

  2. Excellent post and timely observations, Steve — just added my own thoughts on David’s retirement as well.

  3. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Steve. I had the pleasure of seeing David Maister speak in person twice. His wit and wisdom are always evident (he’s even better in person than in writing). I’m sorry to hear I likely won’t get to hear him speak again! I wish him the best.

  4. Steve, I share your experience…when I entered the public accounting sector, David was the first consultant I saw and read who really represented and addressed the \realities\ of in-house life, perspective, and driving factors. He will remain, for a long time, one of the most highly regarded for his frank, thoughtful views on service and quality of life in firms.

    As I look to my left, I see many of his books and a collection of articles he shared at a AAA conference in Phoenix a few years back…the last time I saw him speak.

    I’ve had the pleasure of meeting David a couple times and really getting to know him during his time as one of the premier blogging minds. Sure hope that site stays up for as long as possible!!

    David, if you read this, I wish you a wonderful, enjoyable and inspiring retirement. You deserve it! Thank you for all you’ve done for and \given to\ our profession.

  5. I am a David Maister groupie. When I relate that fact during my presentations to CPA management audiences, they always seem rather surprised, then smile and then nod with understanding.

    His influence on my quest for knowledge and understanding of how to effectively manage a professional service firm has been monumental. What I have learned from David’s presentations and writings will continue to be passed on as I touch those who are charged with profitability managing CPA firms.

    Although I have all his books, some of them personally signed, Managing the Professional Service Firm, the first book I ever read by him (unsigned), has been my most valuable resource for over 15 years. It is dog-eared, high-lighted and the pages are marked with scores of stickie notes. If you have read it, it bet yours looks the same.

    My sincere best wishes to David for a fulfilling next step in life.