Students don’t go to law school to be leaders. They go to learn the law so they can pass the bar exam and get a job practicing law. But what happens when a lawyer reaches a position of leadership? An assistant prosecutor wins an election. An associate becomes a partner. Their legal skills have elevated them to a leadership role. But is that enough?
I have found that it isn’t. The skills necessary to lead a firm are much different than those of law practice. Lawyers are taught to be skeptical, risk averse, and critical. Leaders, on the other hand, are to be open, constructive, and risk-takers. So how are newly minted law firm leaders supposed to make the transition?
Most just flounder. After all, lawyers are a busy bunch. The billable requirements and rainmaking required to get them to partner doesn’t diminish with the new title. So leadership training is neglected, leading to toxic situations not only for their subordinates; but also for their associates.
It is my hope that this blog will be a resource for those who need some leadership guidance. I’ll be the first to admit that I am still in the growth process. As a named partner at a law firm who has practiced law for just over five years, the transition has been fast and full of mistakes. But with a steady diet of reading, tweets, and mentorships, the change in position has been made much easier. I hope that you will benefit from this. As we take this journey together, let me know what questions you have? What struggles are you facing? How have you overcome some of the lack of leadership training? I look forward to learning from you.