Managing Director

David advises law firm leaders and COOs on how best to align the practice of law and business of law to best push forward a firm’s culture, vision and strategy. Well-versed in law firm partnership structures and practice management frameworks, David is a strong and effective advocate for introducing and implementing proven business strategies and best practices from outside the legal industry.

Before joining Calibrate, David was a trusted advisor to law firms and corporations alike and served as co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of a specialty lender in the green finance sector for more than five years. Prior to this, David spent more than 20 years as a partner at an Am Law 100 firm, where he served as Deputy Chairman, Managing Partner and Chair of the Corporate Department.

Law Firm Management Expertise

David has served as the architect and driving force behind law firm strategy having served on law firm Strategic Planning, Allocations, Partner Compensation and Lateral Partner Recruiting Committees. He has also developed and implemented a law firm Practice Management structure including process management functions and developing partner and associate compensation models, alternative pricing models and client-feedback programs. David is well-known by those he has worked with – both attorneys and business professionals – to be a solid advisor and confidant.

COO Experience

As COO, David was responsible for developing and implementing business alliances, product expansion, and policies and procedures, creating and overseeing outsourcing relationships, and overseeing various operations, including legal.

Legal Background and Recognitions

As an attorney, David concentrated his practice in the financial services industry, IP-centric industries (such as media and entertainment) and private clients/family offices. His M&A, joint venture and financing transactions have been recognized as some of the most complex and significant transactions of their kind by industry trade organizations and business publications.

Selected Recognitions:

  • Winner for Technology, Media, Telecom Deal of the Year Award ($1B+), The M&A Advisor (2012)
  • Winner for Middle-Market Deal of the Year Award (>$250MM), The M&A Advisor (2012)
  • Finalist for Dealmaker of the Year Award, ACG New York Champion’s Awards (2012)
  • Named “Leading Lawyer” in The Legal 500 US in M&A: Middle Market, published by Legalese Limited and John Pritchard (2007, 2008, 2012-2014 editions)
  • Named in Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in New York Corporate/M&A (2013-2014 editions)
  • Named in Chambers Global, The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business in United States of America Corporate/M&A (2014 edition)

David is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the New York University School of Law, and splits his time between Boynton Beach, Florida, and Stamford, Connecticut.

Leadership Advisory Insights

Partner Compensation: Put It In Writing

| Firm Leadership/Governance | No Comments
Make sure your law firm's partner compensation policies have been captured in writing and are in sync with your strategy,…

Strategic Planning Guidelines to Drive Strategic Alignment

| Firm Leadership/Governance, Media Features/Quotes | No Comments
In a recent edition of Law Practice Today, David Schaefer provides strategic planning guidelines to aid law firm leaders in…

Effective Practice Group Management Structures

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Too often, law firms create practice group plans without thinking through the fundamentals of structure, leadership and accountability. The result:…

2023 COO & CFO Forum: Strategic Planning Session

| Firm Leadership/Governance, Media Features/Quotes | No Comments
Panelists agree that law firm strategic plans should be actionable and data-driven. At the 22nd Annual Law Firm COO &…