Read what others have had to say about Applied Strategies.



The strongest perspective on what we can do for our client comes not from what we say we are about, but what others say about us:

A workshop encounter in 2015 - led to an engagement in 2016

"In October of 2015, I attended a Managing Partner workshop in Chicago. Steve was one of the presenters. I was immediately taken by his straightforward approach and ability to break things down to simple understandable terms. His one liners actually made sense! We hit it off well and I really enjoyed our off the cuff conversations after the regular program sessions. My firm, made up of 32 attorneys in 4 offices in southwestern Michigan, was undergoing a bit of a transformation, having just terminated our number 1 producer. So when we made the decision at the beginning of 2016 to undergo a full-blown strategic planning process - Steve was the first and frankly only resource on my list. While I knew I liked Steve and his straightforward approach I initially had 2 concerns - he wasn't even a lawyer himself but a bean counter, and he was from Canada and most of his experience was with Canadian law firms. After some conversation though, it became apparent neither of those issues were obstacles and maybe even helped as he could provide a perspective different from the box we had been living in.

So in 2016, we brought in Steve to lead us in developing a strategic plan. We started with a task force made up of some attorneys who had never been through the strategic planning process on any level and Steve's pragmatic and practical approach quickly made sense to everyone involved. Steve had a great sense of knowing when to let people say their piece and yet steer them back on topic and keep the process moving forward. In the end, not only did we adopt a Strategic Plan that made us think about who we really are and who we want to be, but he was instrumental in helping us develop an Action Plan which adopted some ideas - like eliminating quota altogether - that we would never have considered without Steve guiding us through the process. He clearly understands the difference between planning and doing and between leadership and management and while the road since hasn't always been smooth, we remain committed to the Plan as we are confident Steve helped set us off in the right direction".

Jim Boerigter, Managing Partner, Kreis Enderle

"I first came across Stephen through a couple of articles he authored which really resonated with me. I was dealing with a couple of operational issues at the time so I decided to call him to see if he would help us out. Stephen was an excellent resource, providing insightful advice on a timely basis and within the budget we agreed to. He continues to provide me with resource materials that hopefully allow us to stay ahead of shifts in the business side of our profession. Slater Vecchio LLP would not hesitate to retain Stephen's services again."

Michael Slater, Q.C., Partner, Slater Vecchio LLP

"Steve possesses that rare ability to bluntly deliver tough and practical business advice, while maintaining his personal warmth and good humour. He provides excellent input, creative ideas and strong value. He is also a delight to work with. He has my highest regard."

Sandra Dawe, Managing Partner, Shibley Righton

Stephen clearly understands the intricacies of how lawyers tend to fall into the same 'traps' in managing their practices, and how this conflicts with achieving the best in client deliverables and profitability. He never fails to impress me in his ability to cut to the core of an issue and propose a range of solutions."

Sam De Caprio, Partner, Miller Thomson

"Steve has been instrumental in the growth and success of Stewart McKelvey. He knows and understands law firms, lawyers and what makes them successful and that, combined with his knowledge of the legal industry, allows him to accurately assess a firm's strengths and weakness and exactly what is required to enhance performance. Steve always pushes the leading edge in terms of new ideas and new ways to carry on business."

Paul Smith, Past Chair, Stewart McKelvey

"Stephen has been invaluable in assisting with and guiding us through our strategic planning process. His broad knowledge and experience, combined with his engaging and inclusive facilitation style, promotes thoughtful and productive discussion among our partners. We look forward to continuing our working relationship with Stephen."

Darren R. Bieganek, Q.C., Managing Partner, Duncan Craig LLP

"Stephen's guidance, patience and network (i.e. partnership counsel/expert) assisted us in successfully completing a partnership agreement in 2013. He took the time to get to understand our culture, our objectives and frankly our various personalities and interests. Stephen played an invaluable role in both the process and ultimately the actual content of the agreement. On a purely cost-benefit analysis, our partnership has profited from our relationship with Stephen. The relationship continues today and we routinely rely on his advice".

Michael Sherrard, Partner, Sherrard Kuzz LLP

"Stephen was invaluable in helping us steer through a difficult time of transition within our firm. Like many firms we were faced with the question of "where do we go from here"? With Stephen's guidance and insight we were able to navigate through the issues, terminate the staff that we needed to terminate and refresh and revitalize the practice in general. We now have a much clearer path to be able to achieve our goals and continue on our road of growth."

John Weir, Managing Director, McCarter Grespan.

"Stephen possesses a keen and analytical mind, enriched with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The result is great wisdom. He is engaging, confident, optimistic and genuine. All of these qualities forge the necessary trust which permits him to provide forthright advice. In my experience, there is no problem for which Stephen does not have a solution and his solutions are invariably right on the money."

Peter Cronyn, Executive Committee, Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP

“Steve is an incredible resource for anyone looking to get clarity on their practice. He has the uncanny ability to deliver meaningful and effective approaches to the business of law, while maintaining a consistently fresh perspective. He has been a guide, a sounding board, and a confidante through my journey in building my practice and without a doubt has made the growth of the business smooth and effective.  In the face of all the challenges that being a business owner brings along, Steve always brings confidence and perspective back to the picture.  As an entrepreneur, the ability to have a resource that brings reliable, knowledgeable and practical advice to the table is invaluable.  I would recommend Steve to anyone looking to boost their practice and focus on a smoother road ahead.”

Emma C. Michael, BA, JD, President, Michael and Associates Professional Corp.

"Stephen came to assist our firm during a time of uncertainty and turmoil. He delivered blunt and practical advice in how to deal with both the issues that we asked him to help with, and the issues that he identified independently as important to our firm. Stephen helped us challenge our long-held assumptions and seek out creative and innovative solutions to problems we had not even identified before. Stephen did this with a sense of humor, but also dealing fairly and respectfully with all of the various personalities in our firm. I recommend Stephen highly".

Chris Rootham, Executive Committee, Nelligan O'Brien Payne LLP

"I had the pleasure of attending a CBA conference in which Stephen facilitated a large section. He intrigued me with his knowledge and presentation style. This led me to contract him to present at our firm's "All Lawyers'" meeting this fall. At our firm's meeting Stephen proved himself to be an expert in the legal industry. His affable manner was balanced with his professionalism. He was extremely helpful in giving us direction on how to structure our day as well as provided us with a very interesting presentation on trends in the legal industry. He captivated a room full of lawyers who provided him with a very strong and resounding "great" in our post meeting survey. We will definitely be using Stephen in the future."

Dawn M. Shive, Chief Operating Officer, Patterson Law

"When an agreement became a necessity to allow for succession planning and the entry of new partners, we asked Stephen to help us work through what to us appeared to be an endless list of intractable issues. He was knowledgeable, efficient, creative, and easy to work with and, with his help, we worked our way through the issues in short order - just what we needed. Both Rob and I highly recommend Stephen."

Jim Titerle, Partner, Miller Titerle + Company LLP



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