Tuesday Shorts 1/29/08 (for new partners, retention, recession)

Letter to a new partner: Blawg Review #142 featured letters to new lawyers.  What about new partners?

While some tasks and concerns certainly continue even after a lawyer makes partner, the elevation brings with it a host of new duties and issues.  (In fact, new partners comprise one of the largest groups of lawyers who contact me for coaching.)  And now, Brian H. Corcoran, a partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman, has written a Letter to a New Partner.  His tips include listening to less senior lawyers, being a great mentor, remembering that you’re a professional and not “just” a business person, and having fun.  Although there’s a lot more that goes into making the transition, this letter is a nice transition marker.

Does associate retention matter if we’re in a recession?  Carolyn Elefant recently posed this question:

I wonder whether we’ll see much of these kinder, gentler law firm policies designed to keep associates around.  Many of these programs are an added expense to firms, either in the form of additional implementation costs or at the least, foregone billable hours.  When firms are laying off associates to stay afloat (or, for the more cynical, to preserve profits per partner), will they still care about associate happiness — or be grateful to see associates leave voluntarily to spare themselves the negative publicity of announcing mass terminations?

It’s an interesting question, and the answer will depend largely on what sort of associate retention policy is at issue.  As Carolyn notes, retention programs often do add to firms’ expenses, and it may be difficult to see which add to the bottom line over time, though those are the kinds of programs likely to succeed and to ensure that, recession or no, the right associates stay.

And speaking of “recession”… I appreciated a post on Robert Middleton’s The More Clients Blog (not a lawyer-focused blog), which suggests that recession-talk can be a self-fulfilling prophecy but that each professional has an opportunity to apply tested marketing techniques to attract business.  This is true for lawyers.  What’s your plan?

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