Posted by: johnocunningham | August 7, 2015

Huge Opportunity for Law Firms to Improve Communication with Associates

A column earlier this year by Altman Weil’s Eric Seeger, which was entitled “Five Things Associates Tell Me,” touched upon three common associate attorney complaints that are related to communication.

These three issues should not be that hard to fix, and so present a huge opportunity for law firms to ratchet up associate satisfaction and productivity without significant expense (improvements in employee satisfaction are well correlated to improved productivity).

The three communications issues that most commonly need attention are:

  1. Explaining the firm’s mission, vision and direction while telling associates how they fit in (or don’t);
  2. Providing more feedback and training, not on the law (they got the academics in law school) but on the practical side of things – dealing with clients, dealing with the right people at the courthouse, doing whatever it takes to get things done quickly and satisfactorily; and
  3. Explaining what it takes to make partner, what it means to make partner, and doing so consistently among partners (or explaining why 10 different partners give 10 different answers as to what it takes, and acknowledging that you have to please all 10 of them, or 9 or whatever).

Communication issues don’t require a lot of money to solve, but they do require some time and commitment from the key decision-makers, who may need an outside professional to facilitate a productive group deliberation that will result in clear direction and communication for all.

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