There are many things a law firm cannot control. But, one thing that is totally in control of a firm is its commitment to developing its lawyers’ skills. Is your firm one that just talks about attorney development, or is it one that does it?

Just suppose, just suppose your law firm was known throughout the legal community and business community as having the preeminent attorney development program in your city, your state, the country.

  1. What impact would that have on recruiting?
  2. What impact would it have on retaining the best lawyers?
  3. What impact would it have on attracting the best clients?
  4. What impact would it have on your law firm’s profitability?

Years ago I was asked to be the shareholder in charge of attorney training my old firm. Interestingly, had I now been asked, I would likely still be practicing law.

The first thing I did was look for books on training. I found books on fitness training and other kinds of irrelevant training. I decided I did not want to be responsible for training. Instead, I chose the title Shareholder Responsible for Attorney Development.

Next, I asked our firm leaders what kind of program they wanted to have. They did not have a clue, other than the sense that every large firm needs to have one. I guess that is why they asked me to take charge of it.

Since I had never approached any part of my law career in a half way manner, I decided I wouldn’t approach associate development in the same way. I told the leaders that my goal would be to create one of the preeminent attorney development programs in the country, recognized as such by law students, our associates and our clients.

What are the elements of a preeminent training and development program for associates? Years ago, when I gave this thought, I came up nine components:

  • First Year Orientation
  • Training and Development Programs
  • Mentoring and Coaching
  • Shadowing and Reverse Shadowing
  • Client Point of View
  • CLE and other Legal Skills Ttraining with Benchmarks
  • Career Planning and Development
  • People Skills and other “Soft Skills”
  • Client Development

I hope you find this list of components helpful. Please comment or ask questions, your feedback is welcomed.