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Managing Partner 101: A Guide to Successful Law Firm Leadership (2d Ed. 2001) Lawrence G. Green ABA Law Practice Management Section.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Partner 101: A Guide to Successful Law Firm Leadership (2d Ed. 2001) Lawrence G. Green ABA Law Practice Management Section."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Partner 101: A Guide to Successful Law Firm Leadership (2d Ed. 2001) Lawrence G. Green ABA Law Practice Management Section

2 Preamble: Four Cornerstones of Successful Firm 1.Provide clients w/ quality legal product & service. 2.Provide lawyers & staff w/ healthy working environment. 3.Adhere to high standards of legal and business ethics. 4.Be financially sound.

3 Quality legal product & service Skills, expertise in areas of practice Diligence (timeliness) & attention to detail Requires training of subordinates Good communication w/ client, “get into client business”

4 Mark Herrmann, Dialogue Between Partner & Associate Partner’s expectations of associates: positive spin on 10 most common mistaken assumptions made by new lawyers 10. Quality work product (draft = “best can do”?); don’t waste superior’s time on junk. 9. Not just “billing time” but conferring value for client!

5 Mark Herrmann, Dialogue Between Partner & Associate 8.Ignoring facts, focus only on law (if don’t get facts right, can’t get law right) In your matter, in precedent being used, procedural & geographic & historical facts …. They all matter. 7.Precise mastery, of holding, procedural posture, legal principle & rationale. 6. Overreliance on computer; browse the books, for overall context, big picture of law at issue.

6 Mark Herrmann, Dialogue Between Partner & Associate 5. & 4. Read the cases …. All of them, in their entirety. When you become a sponge, you can convey your understanding efficiently to the partner. Highest & best use of available resources (time, $). Sound bytes taken out of context HURT badly. 3. Grammar, writing skills …. Critical to good lawyering.

7 Mark Herrmann, Dialogue Between Partner & Associate 2.Learn to ask questions, obtain fuller information about assignment. Busy partners aren’t good supervisors until they are nudged into providing more guidance. 1.New lawyer is a potted plant …. What does that mean for you?

8 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 1 Managing Partner’s Job Description If well done, is CEO, “buck stops here” See details, pp. 4-7 Sets moral & professional tone, ethical infrastructure Internal leader, external representative, embodiment of firm Don’t plan on doing much legal practice if managing large firm

9 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 2 Strategic Plan Strategic planning essential for any well run organization – Vision statement – Realistic self-appraisal – Detailed future actions to work towards aspirational goals Periodically re-assess, revise or reground

10 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 3 Establishing Individual Goals Goals should be individualized to draw on different talents (strengths, weaknesses) System for setting & monitoring individual – Partner’s goals – Associate’s goals N.B. Written policies vs. actual practice

11 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 4 Setting the Example As practitioner As partner As mentor As follower of firm policy & procedure As contributor to community As human being

12 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 14 Treatment of Associates Legitimate associates’ expectations: -Clarity re performance standards, policies & practices re partnership consideration -Appropriate work assignments -Mentor -Appropriate supervision & training -Fair compensation package -Annual performance reviews, done in accordance with established H.R. protocol, notice on areas needing improvement and reasonable opportunity to achieve -Opportunity for life outside of work

13 After the JD rch/project/44 rch/project/44

14 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 15 Treatment of Partners While not now relevant, may forecast your future. Rational partnership compensation system (customary factors vs. need for discretionary rewards for administration, associate training - & recruitment) ­·Responsible management for abuse, bullying, harassment or other bad behavior. Zero tolerance ·Businesslike approach to collections (delinquent accounts receivable handled by business manager, not billing attorney)

15 Managing Partner 101, Green Ch. 16 Special Situations: Life happens Under-Productive Lawyer – Reasons why? Address the causes … Substance abuse: Established body of literature and program expertise on impaired lawyers & judges. See, e.g., OBA v. Smith, pp Slowing down … semi-retirement, “second season of service” Long-term illness


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