The new needs of the new breed

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  • Finger on the pulse, eye on the prize

    If Linklaters commitment to providing systematic training, career development, development based work allocation and regular constructive feedback is effectively implemented (as opposed to the many City firms who "talk it, but don't walk it"), they will succeed in providing associates with what they need to survive and thrive outside the walls of a law firm - something an increasing number of associates plan on doing (i.e. "the pulse").

    Having identified and equipped associates with what they want and need to pursue their life beyond Linklaters, in a great many instances, they will have developed and nurtured a relationship which may very well result in past associates referring future work ("the prize").

    Associates pursuing their goals, firms receiving more work - sounds to me like they're onto a winner at Linklaters! (and NO, I do not work at Linklaters!)

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  • Now walk the talk!

    As an ex-employee of one of the magic circle firms, the first and foremost task (and probably an impossible one) is to change the mindset of management - and that means the partners. In my experience they are not interested in training or in career planning, just in billable hours and people conforming to their somewhat unimaginative expectations. Also some of them behave extremely badly. In fact some of the behaviour would get you fired if you were a manager in a corporate but not in a law firm clearly.

    Work is repetitive, mundane and not at all geared towards producing highly competent lawyers and future leaders. Practical training and constructive, regular feedback (and an open door policy) as well as marketing and business development opportunities are an essential element of honing such competencies. Not osmosis. It takes a special kind of person to be a leader and a lawyer and I am afraid that the legal profession is sorely lacking in recruiting and retaining people with these skills.

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  • Ever heard of...

    Ever heard of work-life balance?

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  • Interesting

    What a load of marketing hogwash...disappointing that the truth is never spoken for fear of being honest. At the end of the day, it is more administrative. And partners remain prepared to sell-out their staff in the hopes of getting more work from clients who would just as easily go elsewhere...ah well...

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  • Anonymous

    What a joke - adopting the management consulting model? Management consultants say the same old thing over and over about using their "models". Often they don't understand their clients' business and make wrong or misinformed recommendations. However they can get away with it because there is "business risk" and that is something for management to consider. Legal risk is another thing and that is why lawyers are hired, for their expertise.
    Lawyers and management consultants have only one thing in common and that is billable hours. The more senior you get the more valuable you get in a law firm provided that you are given the opportunity to grow.
    Linklaters may want to do some customer analysis and work out what their client pays for. Management consultants' clients pay for data analysis and due diligence generally (things that can be done at a lower level) and then an overall recommendation. They generally do not implement. Law firm clients pay for quality transaction execution and correct advice (things that can be done only at a senior level).
    Grow and go? Who will do the work at partnership level for less money if they get rid of all the senior lawyers who know what they are doing but don't make partner for one reason or the other (and it is usually political)? So how will the partners get the remuneration that they cannot earn themselves?
    It is also interesting that when law firms expand into emerging markets they cannot find enough people, senior enough with the right training and expertise? Doesn't it seem like a paradox to you?

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  • The new needs of the new breed

    At last, someone not afraid to speak the truth. Hats off to Jill King for telling it like it is. The reality, which most junior lawyers fail to grasp, is that when it comes to career management they are essentially self-employed. There is no shame in a lawyer assembling a stellar portfolio career on the journey to where he or she eventually feels that they have made it. The idea that every trainee in a new intake will make partner in their firm however many years later is an obvious economic impossibility and yet many junior lawyers naively persist in believing in their quasi-entitlement to partnership as the eventual reward for sticking around, and devote too much effort to bleating when it doesn't happen. The hard truth is that the cream will rise to the top, but for the rest an early recognition that their professional lives can be the beneficiary of some intelligent design will save a lot of wasted effort and heartbreak. And I know what I'm talking about - I made partner at a large UK firm, and then at a large US firm, and now I am a General Counsel. There's a wide world out there, get out and enjoy it.

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  • A new deal needs a new business model

    The new deal is here to be taken: slightly lower billing hours, much better personal development, the ability to sell and manage engagements earlier in one's career.

    What makes the management consulting model attractive is its scalability, as well as the strength of the brand. In order for this to happen you need a different compensation model for partners, a new way to allocate work and a more explicit hierarchy/career patch with higher leverage. Think 1 equity partner for 5 lawyers as a strict minimum.

    Law firms used to laugh at such a model, citing the need for senior relationships at the delivery end. But three trends are pushing in the right direction: automation of mundane work, increased branding and the creation of LLPs. Why? Because for the first time lawyers can compare the take-home pay of partners in accounting or consulting firms and compare lifestyles... Food for thought...

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