I haven't been able to stop talking about an article from this Sunday's New York Times, "What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team." We in the legal profession are generally not as adept at working in teams as the Googles of the world, so I thought this article might help CLOs and other in-house legal managers (in addition to law firms!).
We are currently digesting the ACC Chief Legal Officer Survey, which was published this week. There are many interesting takeaways relevant to our mission on InhouseGo2, one of which is the topic of professional development, management and leadership. In 2015, headcount in corporate legal departments continued to increase, and many indicated that they will continue to hire in 2016. In addition, according to the survey, many CLOs consider attracting, retaining and managing their talent a top priority. Perhaps the only thing more complicated than a difficult legal issue is managing people on a day-to-day basis. It's harder still to push ourselves and our teams to grow. In the end, managing is just, well, managing. Our leaders want us to optimize, lead and excel relative to the competition.
Law firms are in the midst of this challenge too, so let's share our resources and understanding of the topic. Below are some great articles for you to use in your legal department. Two are from Harvard Business Review and two are from our very own Director of Professional Development, Ojen Sirin.
It’s that time of year again – in addition to year-end deals and pouring over your budget for the next year, you are tasked with putting together the performance reviews for your legal team. If your company has a set process in place, you’re lucky – someone in Human Resources will likely help you. If, however, you are the GC of a smaller company or a smaller legal team, the performance review process might be more daunting for you.
HOW WORK SURVEYS CAN HELP:
As in-house law departments become larger and more robust, keeping track of which member of your staff is working on a deal or matter can become complicated. In addition, project management is essential for both in-house and outside counsel to work efficiently and cost-effectively. A simple and effective way to manage this is to create a weekly work survey for your in-house lawyers to complete. Whether your department is small enough where your lawyers are a “jack of all trades”, or you have a larger legal department where your lawyers are subject matter experts, a simple work assignment process can benefit you and assist with career development. As the person charged with attorney professional development at my firm, I can attest that this simple tool has helped our associates become more proficient in their craft. It allows me to see where their strengths and weaknesses are in their skill development on a weekly basis. When they need to better hone a specific skill, I can help them my giving them an assignment that will do that. This tool has also helped our partners better produce efficient and excellent work, as they know that the associates working on their matters have the required skills to be valuable not only to the partner, but also to our clients.