The Lawyer Management: Noerr

Wolfgang Troll has been head of HR at German firm Noerr since 2006 and is based in Munich. 

What are the key elements of your role?

First and foremost, my role is to ensure that the handling of strategic and operative HR issues correspond with each other. Another
key element of my job is to coach, assist and advise the partners when it comes to difficult personnel matters.

 

Troll

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

In the past decade, Noerr has grown significantly and has become even more international. Complexity of HR issues has grown accordingly; today, our HR department consists of several teams, each focusing on a particular aspect of professional HR work – marketing and recruiting, development, advisory, and administration.

What was the most pressing item you faced on the operational side of the firm last year?

The successful implementation of our firm values had the highest priority for me. This involved the ‘Noerr Culture Day’ as well as the subsequent firm-wide survey.

At our first Culture Day in September 2012, all partners and employees of our 15 Noerr offices discussed – in more than 80 workshops – the status quo and further implementation of [the firm’s] values in our daily work. Subsequently, we conducted a corresponding firm-wide survey. Currently, we are working on addressing the results of this survey with various measures and activities.

What’s in your in-tray?

We are pushing forward our project Noerr 2015, a concept for making us fit for the future by taking into account the expectations of Generation Y. We started Noerr 2015 in 2010 and it includes a broad range of HR-related activities and measures, which are in different phases of implementation.

Another important topic we are addressing is diversity. Being an international law firm, we are convinced that the diversity of the personalities of our people, with various backgrounds, experiences and skills, enables us to better understand and serve our clients and thus provide them with better advice. Our clients are changing and so are we. 

Last but not least we are taking various measures to increase our firm’s attractiveness to female high-potential recruits.

Who do you report to?

I report to two partners responsible for HR issues at Noerr and to the chief operating officer, who manages all our support departments. Together we form the HR committee at Noerr.

What is the most important lesson your role has taught you?

“Pulling the grass doesn’t make it grow faster” – remaining patient is a core attitude. It is important to have a good strategy in mind and wait for the right moment to implement it. Moreover, in the HR business one always has to be ready for surprises – you never know what’s going to happen next.

What’s your favourite part of the day?

The evening, when the important things are done and I have been able to give a good and new impetus, then it has been a good day. 

Firm facts

Staff: 864

Partners: 74

Fee-earners: 406

Qualified Lawyers: 355

Offices: 14

Financials

Turnover: €170m

Value focused

At the firm’s first ‘Noerr Culture Day’ held in September last year, employees discussed the implementation of the firm’s core values in various workshops. “Prioritised issues are to foster a leadership culture and ensure a good work-life balance,” says Troll. “We will repeat the survey in 2014, by which we will have made improvements.”

Systems

Persis (HR software).