People Steal People.
How do you protect your top lawyers?
Your competitors are always going to come after your best Lawyers.
Law firms overwhelmingly depend on the intellect of their Lawyers.
Firms with outstanding intellectual horsepower dominate the rankings, win and keep clients.
So it makes absolute sense to protect your top talent.
You need to do this by recognising and delivering to their needs a.k.a “making them happy”
Here are 3 things you should be doing to stop your talented lawyers going across the road.
1. Let Lawyers Lawyer
Most of your best lawyers have earned that title because they are brilliant legal minds and tremendous generators of business.
You know who they are.
Though, what they probably are not, are willing and effective managers.
In these circumstances, there is a growing trend to hire mini COO’s or Business Managers.
These would be talented managers who can support these brilliant lawyers by taking all of their managerial and organisational responsibilities away.
These lawyers already have extremely demanding 60 hour weeks. They should be left alone to Lawyer and not have to manage a best in class client service delivery machine, resolve organizational issues and deal with incentivizing and evaluating other lawyers
How much happier and effective could they be by having this level of dedicated support.
2. Equal Access Assignment Systems
A common reason why a talented lawyer becomes “movable” is because they do not have access to challenging work and key clients in their existing firm.
This is not because the quality work or clients don't exist, but because most firms still operate a “free market” assignment system.
This system means that a Partner can typically choose whomever they want to work on their projects.
It is also a system which lends itself to unconscious bias, favouritism and therefore uneven exposure to assignments and clients.
Firms need to design and stick to equal access assignment systems that give lawyers the opportunity and exposure they yearn.
3. Career Visibility
Another common reason why Lawyers become”movable” is because they lack visibility on their careers within the firm.
The old system of join firm, work hard, qualify, work even harder, become a senior associate, work harder and maybe be made Partner, does not really wash anymore.
For most talented lawyers, this is akin to putting their finger in the wind.
We need to do more than this.
We need to be able to communicate an individual progression plan for each lawyer regularly and consistently.
This starts with creating and implementing a meaningful evaluation system.
The feedback loop needs to be shorter and taken far more seriously.
Talented lawyers are impatient and if they cannot see what they need to do quarter to quarter to move in the right direction, they will leave.