Posted by: johnocunningham | May 17, 2012

Lawyers: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

As recently reported in the Pittsburgh Business Times,  a 2012 report by consulting firm Altman Weil shows that only 36 percent of law firm leaders would advise their sons or daughters to attend law school today.

More than 25 percent were not so sure, and a plurality of 39 percent registered an absolute “No” vote on law school training.

These results came from a poll of leaders at more than 200 firms around the country, including managing partners and practice group leaders. If these leaders, presumably near the pinnacle of the profession, cannot recommend their profession to their own children, then something is wrong.

The survey included firms having as few as 50 lawyers or as many as 1,000 plus, and while  “No” votes were strongest in firms of less than 250 lawyers, there were high percentages of respondents who registered doubts about the law school option today even at the largest and most prestigious firms.

If this is not a clear indicator that the profession is suffering, I don’t know what is.  Clearly, legal professionals are adrift, and they need to work on something more than just their revenue.

Law firms need to develop their missions, values and cultures in a way that:

  • Connects them to their clients and helps them to build more meaningful relationships with them;
  • Makes legal professionals and staff feel engaged and purposeful in the pursuit of a meaningful goal (other than profits per partner); and
  • Builds energizing professional bonds among the lawyers and staff in pursuit of their chosen and stated common goals.

For an example of a well-articulated mission, and statement of values and culture, see the Collora LLP Website.

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