Navigating through associate training and development.
When it comes to associate turnover or ineffectiveness, small to mid-sized firms operate on a razor-thin margin. Many firms have simply given up on hiring brand new attorneys as means to fill open positions or to meet future staffing needs.
More often, firms prefer to hire associate lawyers with experience. These law firms are betting that their lateral associate hires come properly trained by their former employers. However, this is not always the case.
Contributing to the training reticence are associates who leave firms prematurely. Additionally, many clients are not willing to underwrite training costs, or in some instances, even let lawyers work on their cases.
In our experience, all of these factors add up to a series of missed opportunities, accelerated law firm aging and diminished competitiveness.
For those firms who see the value in investing in the development of new attorneys, we recommend a process that includes the following elements:
- Formal training plan and budget;
- Structured access to trained lawyers;
- Mentoring program;
- Training incentives;
- Work assignments that are congruent with the training plan; and
- Structured evaluation and feedback system.
Realistically, this is a lot of structure for small to mid-sized firms to employ. And with the cost of training, law firms are hesitant, especially because clients will not pay for such expenses. Clients are not saying don’t hire young people, but they are saying that they won’t pay for them until real value is added.
Smart firms will adjust their strategic plan and cost structure to allow for the inclusion of bright new minds. Measurable benefits, however, may be produced from at least considering the necessary elements of training lawyers and applying them on a conceptual level.
For those firms that are data driven and believe that there is value in training associates, we created the following Prezi just for you!
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