In a recent interview with Asia Law Portal about how the coronavirus is impacting the legal services sector, Rob Green, CEO of legal recruitment firm GRM, explains that it’s likely there will be more pressure on younger lawyers to generate new clients. This comes amid an environment, Green explains, where there will be extra scrutiny of law firm partners and a move to set their remuneration based on what business they bring into the firm and away from lockstep guarantees.
Law Firm Associates Notice the Changed Environment Requiring Business Development Skills
And in a recent post on LinkedIn, Pinsent Masons Construction Lawyer Jason Feng detailed how: “”In a law firm – you’re either a finder, minder or grinder”. The classic view was that you’d be fine as long as you excelled in one of these roles. Now it seems that junior lawyers should start developing skills towards all three roles early in their career.” As Feng explains: “It’s no longer enough / possible to just fall into one of these roles. Being able to transition between all three roles is becoming essential because: – Clients are increasingly conscious of where they can get the most value for their money. They’re (rightly) demanding more from their lawyers. – At some point, career progression will require you to demonstrate that you can be a subject matter expert, a good manager, and a competent salesperson. An active approach to developing these skills earlier will avoid career surprises/barriers in future.”
Law Firms are Responding with an Increase in Business Development Training for Associates
Bruce Alltop, a consultant at LawVision, says he’s seen a dramatic increase in associate training at firms of all sizes. And firms are focusing on business development skills earlier in an attorney’s career than ever before.
“Junior associates are still going to be expected to deliver high-quality work and bill time,” Alltop says. “It’s never too early to start developing your network. Actually, that should have started yesterday.”
Firms realized in recent years that their attorneys could be further along by the time they made partner if they received the requisite business development training at the associate level, Alltop says. At first, they focused on development for junior partners and then senior associates, but over time large firms have come to understand the long process of building a multimillion-dollar book of business needs to start earlier. [emphasis added]
“I see a migration downstream and more emphasis on younger groups,” he says. “When you’re a partner, you don’t want to be thrown into the deep end of the pool.”
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