As a coach I meet lots of partners who are admitting to me that they are, frankly, a bit bored! They probably don’t use those words. They might not even recognise the fact themselves. But after some probing questions from me, the reality is all too frequently revealed.
And this state of affairs doesn’t surprise me. After all most of the partners are doing the same as what they were doing as a senior associate some 10 or so years ago. Same old points to negotiate. Same old clauses to draft. Same old challenges dealing with the team. It’s all a bit repetitive. Nothing new.
What they typically need is something more stimulating – a new challenge perhaps and something the partner would enjoy and have a talent for. For example there are:
- sectors to focus on and develop, such as retail, banking etc
- geographical areas to stimulate referrals – perhaps the partner has a language skill that could be used
- specific clients to develop a relationship with – perhaps a subsidiary of an existing client
- new roles within the practice group, such as recruitment or marketing
- CSR programmes to run
There’s an important role for practice group heads in assessing whether your partners are fully motivated and in helping them find stimulating new challenges. Use those partner review conversations well.
The other aspect to recognise is that most partners don’t have any kind of career plan. As an associate there was partnership in the dim distance. But now you’re a partner, you’ve arrived and now there’s nothing on the horizon!
I really urge law firms to think about this. What career plans can you offer your partners? If you don’t have an offering, you risk mojo loss and the downsides of that might be greater than you first think. A partner wondering around with a demeanour that’s, say, less than the joys of Spring, affects the morale of the whole team. Might that be why you’re losing some talented associates to rival firms?
Let’s get their mojos back!