Alvin Toffler observed: “Change is the process by which the future invades our lives. The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” A lawyer’s main paradigm of precedence looks back, which can blind that lawyer to the future. If the old system still appears to be working, change can be uncomfortable.
Yet every law firm needs specific strategies to transfer knowledge to its most important assets, the young lawyers who are the future of the firm. Many details about key clients, the core values of the firm’s culture, its practices and important historical details may be lost for later generations. This information has recognized value because it includes both knowledge and experience. Whether by enhanced technology, team-based client development or good old-fashioned mentoring, success in the Information Age will come to those lawyers and law firms who most effectively transfer knowledge.
Are you developing future leaders?
There is an urgent need for developing future leaders of law firms. These lawyers will obviously require a financial understanding of the business of law but also strategic thinking skills to handle increased competition and rapid commoditization of legal services. Leaders should have excellent interpersonal and communications skills, as well as both the courage to make tough decisions and the patience to try and reach consensus. And all of this should be blended with a sense of humor, since lawyers frequently take themselves too seriously. Above all, effective law firm leadership requires a serious dedication to the success of others.
A culture of sustained adaptability
Charles Darwin used the phrase “survival of the fittest” in his fifth edition of On the Origin of Species and meant it as a metaphor for “better adapted for the immediate, local environment.” In today’s legal environment, success requires lawyers and law firms to adapt to new environments, markets and paradigms. This has become known as creating a culture of sustained adaptability. Every law firm culture is created by the shared values which define a set of expectations for those who choose to embrace the culture. These shared values are demonstrated through behaviors that are deemed appropriate and acceptable for creating success at a law firm. The values then become internalized‑‑part of daily routines. Leaders of law firms must be role models of these cultural values.
Aligning your stars
The ALA 2014 Annual Conference in Toronto offers an excellent opportunity for law firm leaders to embrace knowledge transfer. In addition to offering the very best in educational opportunities, the Managing Partner Suite of programs allows both lawyers and administrators to attend events together to enhance their collective leadership skills. My practice takes me across the United States and Canada working closely with ALA members, attending their conferences and helping share best practices. The power of this network of legal professionals is absolutely incredible. ALA events are always an excellent combination of professional skill development, fun activities and valuable connections, aligned around a common goal: delivering excellence in client service.
Join Michael Moore in Toronto and learn how to create future success at your firm. As part of the Managing Partner’s Suite of Programs, on Wednesday, May 21, he will be offering “Beyond Words – How to Expand Social Competence” and “The New Competitive Advantage – Sustained Adaptability.” On Thursday, May 22, Moore will discuss “Keep the Good, Lose the Bad, Know the Difference: Effective Client Intake.”
Michael Moore, J.D., is the founder of Moore’s Law, LLC, and helps both lawyers and law firms create professional success. Moore specializes in individual marketing, client development and leadership coaching. Moore also advises law firms on strategic planning, growth initiatives and resource optimization. A frequent speaker at ALA events across the country, his current topics have included mentoring, leadership, financial management and strategic planning.Moore is also the author of“The Lawyer’s Toolkit for Creating Both Personal and Professional Success” available from Thomson Reuters. The book is an essential resource for every lawyer’s library. The short, “how-to” chapters highlight all of the non-legal skills necessary for today’s lawyer to create success and include illustrative, real-life examples.