There comes a time in every successful lawyer’s career when he or she must build a team to take it to the next level. Some lawyers do it well. Other lawyers don’t. Some lawyers not only don’t do it well. They actually run off the best young lawyers.

Brice Voran and I wrote It Takes a Team: You Can’t Make Rain Alone about a rainmaker lawyer for whom no associate wanted to work. The book is available on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, iBooks, and if you want a hard copy you can get it here. I wrote about the book in July How Would You Help a Rainmaker Who Chases Good Associates Away?

One of the rainmakers I coach had this to say about the book:

It Takes a Team will definitely change my practice. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

I want to share some of the ideas with you and perhaps get your thoughts. David is the main character. He  is a super-star rainmaker who also works very hard. In his eyes the lawyers who work for him are fungible. He would say: “Smart law students graduate from law school every year.”

Here is some dialogue from the book between David and the firm’s professional development administrator. Take a look and see if you have a partner like David  in your firm:

“Are you really telling me he said he was leaving the firm to get out from under my shadow?”

“Yes.”

“What the hell was I supposed to do?”

“Pardon me.”

David’s expression told her that as she expected, she wasn’t getting through to him.

“These are the complaints of someone who doesn’t want the sun to rise in the east and set in the west,” David said.

“I’m not following.”

“Keith was a technician. He was an okay draftsman, but he likely wasn’t driven enough or even good enough to make partner.”

“Did you ever try to think of ways you could help him be more effective?”

“Not my job.  I bring in business and I work my ass off. Billing 2500 hours means I don’t have time to help people who aren’t obvious partner material.  Besides, nobody ever helped me.”

Janice wondered how many times he would tell her he bills 2500 hours. In fact, she knew he had only billed 2250 last year. Funny how lawyers like David always exaggerated their hours. “You don’t think you have any obligation to help the people who work with you become better lawyers?  That’s interesting.”

I sincerely hope the dialogue above does not describe a high producing partner in your firm. If it does, over time your firm will lose some of its best young lawyers. If you have a high producing lawyer who chases off the best associates, how would you get him or her to change?