Michael DeCosta is Managing Partner of Caldwell’s Professional Services Practice, and a member of the Legal Practice and Stamford office. With over twenty years of experience in executive search, Michael focuses on recruiting senior-level executives for law, consulting, and accounting firms.
Michael joined the firm from Korn/Ferry International, where he was a senior client partner in both the Legal Specialty Practice and Services Sector. Previously, he served as senior recruiting manager for Deloitte, where he helped launch a highly successful senior-level recruiting group focused on attracting partners and principals into the firm’s global leadership team.
Michael is frequently asked to speak at professional services and legal industry conferences, including events organized by the Legal Marketing Association, GroPro, NYU Stern School of Business, American Legal Media, and the New York City Bar Association. He has also written and contributed to numerous white papers and professional services publications including Consulting Magazine and American Lawyer Daily, and is a frequent contributor to a career column for the newsletter Marketing The Law Firm.
Michael earned his master’s degree in American studies with a concentration in labor history from Fairfield University, graduating summa cum laude, and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Marist College.
“Mike and Rodes were perfect partners for us. The candidates that they put forth were quality individuals and Mike and Rodes were able to help us determine the best for our firm. They were always available when we needed and it was appreciated that we met every week for updates.” -Cathy Benton, Chief Human Resources Officer
“Working with Mike and Eric was a positive and wonderful experience. They listened to our needs and wants in the new CFO role. However, what I thought most helpful was they didn’t just listen…they executed on those needs. They were diligent to ensure what we asked for in a candidate was what we received. They also were diligent to have regular conversations around those needs to ensure those needs had not changed.” -Chief Operating Officer, award-winning litigation law firm
“Caldwell has now filled three senior positions with me. You have found extraordinary talent that fit our unique culture. Unlike other firms, you self-edit. Multiple times you have found an apparent solution who you have voluntarily withdrawn as a result of your due diligence. This suggests you are more interested in getting it filled right rather than quickly.” -Chief Strategy Officer, litigation-focused law firm
“I think Mike is the best in the business” -Deputy Executive Director and Director of Client Relations, NY-based commercial and litigation law firm
The Role of Marketing in Professional Services Firms. When skills, knowledge, and expertise are already expected by clients, how can professional services firms differentiate themselves? We (virtually) sat with Michael DeCosta and Carlos Cata recently to talk about marketing and branding in professional services. Both have 25 years’ experience in executive search and marketing, making this a perfect pairing. Learn from experts on how to market your professional services firm, how to attract top marketing talent and more in this recent conversation. -read more-
The New Standard: How business chiefs in law and consulting firms are satisfying shifting client expectations. Gone are the days when experience and expertise is what won the day for law and consulting firms. Those qualifications are table stakes now, and clients expect way more from their professional services partners. In order to satisfy these shifting client expectations, firms are increasingly hiring top level talent to executive management positions. A firm’s management of its people, processes and technology today can have as much impact on business development potential as its professional capabilities. -read more-
Do Law Firm Executives Matter? Damn right, they do! I just read an article in the New York Law Journal titled Flurry of CMO Moves Shakes Up Law Firm Marketing Departments that referenced several CMOs – two of whom were our firm’s placements – departing after relatively short stays at their respective law firms. The author used the dreaded term “revolving door” – and even added in an illustration to drive it home – to describe the situation besetting the industry. I then picked up the July edition of The American Lawyer and read an article about legal marketing authored by yet another former placement, Joe Calve, in which he referred to himself as a “serial CMO.” It was a little deflating. -read more-
TBT: Transitioning from Consulting to Industry Is Easier Said Than Done. While this article—published in Consultant News in 2005—discusses consultants making career changes, no doubt lawyers, accountants, or many other professionals are interchangeable here and all still seems relevant today. Many young executives have the express intention to leverage their consulting experience and newly minted MBAs into senior roles in the corporate sector. While many consultants are successful in this endeavor, others find themselves overlooked for corporate roles for which they feel eminently qualified. -read more-
BD Is Not Just for Lawyers and Legal Marketers Anymore. Marketing and business development in law firms is no longer the exclusive domain of marketing and business development executives. Many more executives are pursuing revenue in one form or another, and those dedicated to the function should welcome this development rather than feel threatened by it. While lawyers themselves have undoubtedly gotten better at it, so too have executives of all stripes. COOs and executive directors, CFOs and pricing directors, project managers, CHROs, CIOs and directors of recruiting have all moved their own mandates toward revenue production, and the result has transformed the administrative landscape. -read more-
Behavioral-based Interviewing: A look at behavioral-based interviewing techniques and how they work. As marketing leaders, many of this publication’s readership has some familiarity with behavioral-based interviewing techniques. As you have built out your respective teams, perhaps this interviewing style has helped you discern which candidates possess the right leadership attributes to think critically ‘ and extemporaneously ‘ in order to meet the demands of working in a fast-paced environment where quick turnarounds and exacting standards are expected at every juncture. By and large, however, most of you as candidates have probably yet to experience this level of scrutiny in an interview. -read more-