Tuesday shorts: 11/20/07

Leadership Development for Lawyers  Mark Beese, the “marketing guy” at Holland & Hart, shared a firm’s approach to establishing a leadership development program on his aptly named blog Leadership for Lawyers.  Two points from his post struck me particularly, as follow:

1.  There is not an outcry from lawyers for leadership development.  Many partners already see themselves as either adequate leaders or they don’t care.  Leadership education is best sold as a privilege and a ‘fast track’ to other benefits.   Leadership Development (LD) needs absolute buy-in from the Managing Partner and the Management Committee, including recognition that LD will take time away from admin and billable hour expectancies.

2.  While it is important that the Managing Partner and Managing Committee participate in LD, the real benefit is when front-line leaders like Practice Group and Office Leaders participate. Ideally, a firm should consider levels of LD, including LD for all associates, LD for emerging leaders, LD for front line leaders, LD for top level leaders and LD for staff directors. 

More on leadership  Leaders are made, not born, according to three firms profiled in an article in The Legal Intelligencer titled Leadership Programs Born From Lack of Born Leaders.  Programs instituted by Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, and Reed Smith are profiled.

Leadership in law firms is such an intriguing topic to me, and it’s part of my professional focus in part because I attained a certificate in leadership coaching from Georgetown.  Please keep watching this space for an upcoming announcement of paths for exploration of leadership development specifically for lawyers.

Successful lateral transitions  The American Lawyer has published an article by recruiter Elizabeth Purcell  titled How to Ensure Lateral Loyalty.  The article focuses on retention of lateral partners, but may offer good advice for integrating associates as well.  The key findings?  First, that firms often don’t do a good job on integrating laterals.  Those who do succeed do so by making sure that the fit is good before bringing on the lateral (largely by not buying into hype) and then by introducing the lateral to other partners and to clients and by developing a team that is as respectful of the organic group as it is of the new hire.


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