I hear it almost every week: The first thing law firms cut in difficult times is training, coaching and mentoring. It makes perfect sense in the very short term, but no sense at all in the long term. I know law firm leaders need support for the premise, so here goes.

In Aligning the Stars authors Jay Lorsch and Thomas Tierney state:

  • “Starmaking” is more important to long term success than “rainmaking”;
  • The people you pay are more important over time than the people who pay you; and
  • Developing a star is a multiyear task.

David Maister produced evidence of these premises in Practice What You Preach. Based on his review of the most successful professional service firms, he concluded:

  • You must train, energize, and excite your people;
  • If you do, the quality of work and service will be increased; and
  • If it is, the profitability of the firm will be increased.

So  my business case argument is pretty simple: You can improve your profits per partner in the long term by focusing on training, energizing, and exciting your lawyers about working for your firm and helping your clients.