Lawyer Management: Eversheds

Lorraine Kilborn is head of talent, learning and development at Eversheds and has been at the firm for more than 15 years. 

What are the key elements of your role?

My team and I are responsible for talent management and coaching. Our focus is on tailoring learning and development to the stages of our professionals’ careers to create flexible ways to help them learn. I also look after succession planning, working with the senior management team to identify and coach future leaders. 

Kilborn

How has your role changed during your time at the firm?

In 15 years I have been here through the firm’s transformation from individual regional firms to a global firm. I’ve also seen the industry change dramatically. The learning and development team have had to adapt to ensure Eversheds’ people are properly equipped with the skills required lawyers in this changing environment. 

As with most areas of the business, learning has had to become more commercial and globally focused. This has led to an emphasis on skills such as business development, client relationship management and future planning at all levels.

If you weren’t doing this, what else would you like to be doing?

I’d love to be in charge of the Mars Rover programme, looking for signs of extraterrestrial life.

What impact are the changes to the UK legal market having on your firm and your role?

As the market internationalises and our business becomes more global, so do our training programmes. And legal careers are very different now, driven by the global downturn. As a result, the younger generation wants different things from their careers and this doesn’t often fit with the traditional structure. To address this, we’ve introduced the legal director role and emphasised a coaching style of leadership. 

How important is branding in the legal profession?

A quality product delivered by quality people in a timely manner is key, and client relationships are key, but many clients now take this as a given. Branding is increasingly important as competition is tougher than ever and firms need to differentiate themselves. 

We’re known for innovating in the legal profession and pushing the boundaries. It’s important that our people understand our brand and implement this in their day-to-day activities. For my team, this means working closely with James Batham, partner and head of innovation, to develop an innovation theme through all our core programmes. For example, our partners have studied disruptive innovation with the London Business School and we’re now collaborating with LawWithoutWalls, a legal and commercial education project devised and led by the University of Miami School of Law. 

What have been the key ways in which you have improved the efficiency of the firm?

In the past four years we’ve transformed how we deliver training and so increased the quality and quantity of what we offer. We now have an extensive library of in-house-developed legal e-learning and in some parts of our business up to 90 per cent of training is delivered via webinar or virtual classroom, blended with traditional workshops. Video and podcasts are a part of the mix too, alongside a catalogue of business skills topics. 

Not only do we offer more training now, but this is delivered in a more flexible manner, which means our lawyers can balance acquiring the knowledge they need with their client workloads. We’re already experimenting with how we might use mobile devices to further improve access to training. From feedback, we know it can be an effective tool in delivering the skills and knowledge our people need.

What’s your favourite part of day?

By far it is the time I have with my children.

Financials

Turnover: £376m

PEP: £642,000

Learning on the job

Kilborn says: “Consult with your stakeholders – you can only create great training if you understand their day-to-day reality.”

IT systems

CRM: LexisNexis InterAction

PMS: Elite

DMS: OpenText