The most successful firms, whether by design or good fortune, give the needed support to those partners who can match their offering to market needs. Firms that recognize the needs of their partners and and clients are in a much stronger position to compete.
Essentially, partners will be most productive in an environment affording them the resources and freedom to meet precise client needs.Firms that understand their role in building and supporting a highly productive culture utilize the following tools:
- Profitability based compensation system that puts partners in control of their results;
- Marketing plan based on actual individual and section opportunities;
- Targeted lateral acquisition and recruiting strategy;
- Focused attorney evaluation and development system;
- A business succession strategy with economic incentives for transitioning partners; and
- Administrative support trained for the challenges of today's law firm.
Partners must be rewarded for their successes and held accountable for their failures. All else being equal, partners who work hard and make good decisions should make more money than partners who do not. Compensating partners for the profits they contribute incents them to grow their practices, price properly, optimally staff their cases, and efficiently manage costs.
Market savvy partners appreciate the advantages of practicing in a firm with an abundance of successful partners. At these firms, they receive the benefits of economies of scale resulting in cost advantages, reputational advantages, and collaborative growth opportunities. When these characteristics are present, partners are more confident to invest in their firm’s marketing strategy, recruitment of good fit laterals, attorney development and evaluations systems, strategic succession planning, and quality administrative support. When the needed support is given to these firm functions, client demands are met and firm longevity is secured. And the positive cycle continues.
Firms that implement a well thought out system of rewards based on profitability will build a culture that nurtures those who are market aware and fiercely competitive.