This is a blog post by Pennington Hennessy which you can find here:
Alan Hodgart recently spoke to a group of Law Firm Learning & Development Professionals about the challenges facing law firms – particularly leadership. His analysis was sound but he offered few practical ways for addressing them.
I can think of 7 reasons why developing leaders in law firms is more difficult than in many other fields.
- A typical partner’s psychometric profile is very different to that of a senior corporate executive.
- Lawyers are atypical leaders, for whom traditional models require adaption.
- Lawyers rarely want to lead. Most law firm leaders would be happy if they reverted to client-facing work.
- There are few role models, and leadership is “caught” as much as “taught”.
- Leadership development is left late (30 years +) compared to the corporate model.
- The rewards for leadership in a law firm are not always obvious.
- Few lawyers have corporate experience outside the legal function, so they haven’t experienced people who just want to lead.
The solutions are harder to find, but possible. Key aspects are:
- Developing leaders, not training them.
- Leaders are grown, not made, so it requires a joined-up, firm-wide effort to develop leaders.
- New leaders learn by leading.