Posted by: johnocunningham | October 11, 2011

Do You Have a “World Series” Team?

A recent article in the AmericanLawyer.com raises a host of interesting questions about how law firms assemble and manage their teams, asserting that law firms can learn much about hiring, promotion and retention practices from Moneyball, the Michael Lewis work on the use of metrics to assemble and manage baseball teams.

The piece was co-written by four authors from Lawyer Metrics LLC, two of whom are professors at leading universities, and it is worth the read if you have not already examined it.

When I finished reading it, several questions occurred to me that I believe law firms (and other professional service organizations) should be asking themselves:

1. How do we define “success” at our firm?

2. What are the best predictors of individual success at our firm?

3. What are the best predictors of how individuals will affect the success of the entire team at our firm?

4. How do we set hiring, promotion, compensation and discipline policies that will enable greater success at our firm?

5. As asked in Moneyball, what are our engrained biases, and what should we be looking for that we are missing?

These are fundamentally questions of communication in as much as they are questions about definitions – of success and what contributes to it or detracts from it.

As the article points out, some law firms are already asking fundamental questions about their business and gaining from the insights learned as a result.

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