Playbook Takeaways: People, Process and Profit
Destination Development: A Successful Firm's Approach to People, Process and Profit featured an accomplished panel from Offit Kurman - one of the fastest growing full service law firms in the United States. In the past several years, the firm has grown by more than 50% through expansions from New York through the Carolinas. Three members of the firm joined the Successful Firm Project for this playbook event focused on professional development. The following is a look at some key takeaways in the areas of people, process and profit.
What We Learned from Our Coaches
Professional development starts with a firm's people. That's why Offit Kurman has created and implemented development programs within the firm to encourage and facilitate the leadership development of attorneys and administrative and legal professionals.
Developing leaders internally allows your firm to take advantage of the institutional knowledge and commitment to the work that has already been done. As you get to know your employees over the years, you learn to find the hidden pearls that each of them can offer. As a result, you can construct roles around their strengths. By investing in the time and commitment it takes to develop your people, your firm will see happier and more productive employees who are more likely to grow into long term employees. Change and growth give the opportunity to create new positions and responsibilities.
There's a need to develop attorneys who are qualified for leadership positions within our firms. Having a dedicated leadership program at your firm helps create a connection between current and future leadership. Time and resources will be spent whether you're recruiting outside of your firm or developing from within. Choosing to develop and invest in your employees from within results in a greater continuity within the culture of your firm. What does leadership look like at your firm? Look at all of the different data points and source material to help you answer that question and tell the story of what leadership can look like with a dedicated development plan.
Offit Kurman believes "the most successful legal professionals are the ones who understand origination: the art of attracting a steady lucrative system of business. At Offit Kurman, we believe origination is a skill any attorney can learn- and we are dedicated to helping every member of our team build long-term, sustainable, and rewarding relationships with their clients." Origination is part of the culture at Offit Kurman and the firm provides attorneys with the necessary resources and training to sell their work and maintain new business relationships.
As your firm grows and develops, the process of implementing change is as important as the change itself.
Firms need to set the pace and share the vision of how they will achieve their goals. Offit Kurman has created a programmatic philosophy that reflects their values of work, connection, and growth.
- Work: Things that pertain to an employee's daily work life such as document management and use of technology.
- Connect: The work of connecting people across the entirety of the firm. This includes remote and office based staff, employees with similar goals or needs, and linking attorneys through mentorship opportunities.
- Grow: This is for employees who want to develop new skills and step into leadership positions or advance skills through training programs.
A common language and a common experience work together to build firm culture. Consistent messaging conveys a firm's values and assists in building and maintaining a firm culture while also helping firm employees understand the programs that are available to assist them in development.
Technology and competency training has created a need for innovation. When practice leaders are modeling the behavior for others and utilizing the processes in place, you'll find more willingness to learn new programs and skills.
When it is time to make process improvements, consistent and concise messaging is imperative. Part of Offit Kurman's Knowledge and Innovation team's role is to communicate things to the firm in a consumable and trustworthy way.
It can be difficult to directly correlate process improvement to profit, but instilling development across firm culture changes the mindset and ultimately impacts profit. Successful firms begin by changing habits and activities - mindset triggers activity and activity consistently done will increase origination. Attorneys can measure the annual growth of their individual practices to correlate with involvement in leadership training or origination culture programs.