I spent three days last week working with 40 senior associates and legal directors from DLA Piper in London. This was a truly global event with the lawyers coming from 22 different countries and 28 different offices.
The Management Academies that DLA Piper organises four times a year and on which I take a lead facilitator role really are a great learning experience for the lawyers, The lawyers are generally are at a stage of their career where they are transitioning from being the absolute work horses of the firm to stepping up to take on much more general leadership responsibilities – and this transition takes them into some quite unfamiliar territory.
My role on these academies is to help the lawyers look at a variety of mainly BD-related activities, so we look at:
The training programme is challenging and rewarding at the same time. It is great to take the lawyers out of their comfort zone and see them rise to the tasks which they are confronted with.
Lawyers surely have two key roles – firstly they have to deliver the highest quality of legal advice and service to their clients and secondly they need to win business for the firm. In my expereince most lawyers are great at the first of these responsibilities but not so comfortable with the winning work piece. That isn’t surprising when 95% of their time is spent on client matters! However, it means that global law forms need to invest more time and resources in helping lawyers to be great BD people as well as great lawyers.