Is training your lawyers thought of as an expense or a revenue enhancer? I believe most firms view it as an expense and that is why they do so little of it.
I know, because law firms routinely spend less money and time on developing their lawyers than their clients spend on developing their skilled workers and professionals.
Many years ago I read In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters.
I still enjoy reading what he has to say. I recently read: Excellence, No Excuses, Now. I found many nuggets there in his 34 BFO’s (Blind Flashes of Obvious).
Here is Number 1 BFO.
BFO #1: If you (RELIGIOUSLY) help
people—EVERY SINGLE PERSON, JUNIOR OR SENIOR, LIFER OR TEMP—grow and reach/exceed their perceived potential, then they in turn will bust their individual and collective butts to create great experiences for Clients—and the “bottom line” will get fatter and fatter
and fatter. (ANYBODY LISTENING?)
(PEOPLE FIRST = MAXIMIZED
PROFITABILITY. PERIOD.) (ANYBODY LISTENING?) (FYI: “People FIRST” message is 10X more urgent than ever in the high-engagement “AGE OF SOCIAL BUSINESS.”)
Here is Number 3 BFO.
BFO 3: The “CTO”/Chief Training Officer should (MUST!) be on a par with the CFO/CMO.
Training = Investment #1.
(8 of 10 CEOs see training as an “expense,” not an investment/prime asset booster.) (“Our training courses are so good they make me want to giggle.” “Our trainers are on the same pay scale as our
engineers.”) (In a 45-minute “tour d’horizon” of the enterprise: GUARANTEE 9 of 10 CEOs* [*10 of 10?] wouldn’t once mention training.
THAT = DISGRACE.)
I imagine that 8 of 10 law firm leaders see training as an expense. Training in those firms amounts to lawyers getting their required CLE hours. It is focused on substantive law.
Practicing law in a firm requires much more. Lawyers must learn people skills. That is becoming an increasingly challenging task as young lawyers come to firms having spent the last several years communicating by text.
I have worked with the Professional Development Professionals in several firms. They love their work, they love the lawyers in the firm. They hate when firms cut their budgets to the degree that they cannot help the junior lawyers develop skills to become successful partners?
It all reminds me of the well known imagined conversation between a CFO and CEO.
CFO: What happens if we train them and they leave?
CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?
What is your firm’s plan for professional development in 2016?