Lawyers and Law Firms
Clients are the core focus of a successful business and the client defines value. As a lawyer, you must take up a keen interest in client requirements and expectations. The lawyer also has the obligation to educate and shape client expectations. A lawyer’s legal contribution forms part of his value proposition. Beyond guiding legal processes, a lawyer’s value is enhanced by the overall advice and guidance he provides to the management team.
However, value is not always associated with huge spending or savings on cost. More spending maybe necessary to guarantee the long-term value. In every new job, one of the very first success tips is understanding the power dynamics within the structure of the organization. Part of your job is to find out who does what or answers to who and general organization culture in relation to your position. You have to identify the main challenges and hurdles you will most likely encounter and proceed to come up with fool-proof strategies to overcome them.
The first step to this is by observation. Take a keen look at how other departments operate and behave towards your department. The second step is to speak to employees at different levels and departments in the organization. Clients may also provide a different perspective on the firm. This has to be done in a record 100 days that act as a litmus test indicator of how successful one’s tenure is likely to be. As a lawyer, its important to understand the kind of industry you operate in. A lawyer role in a communications industry is different from a similar role in a state department or constitutional office. Understanding where one fits ensures less friction with others, guarantees smooth operation and the lawyer earns the respect of peers and juniors.
The value of a lawyer may vary depending on the sheer size of the firm he operates in. The level of career progression and experience is another important value proposition. Entry level and graduate lawyer’s in most cases take years of practice to become indispensable members of their legal departments. Career progression comes with a guarantee of respect, tenure and independence.
At this level seniors’ are tasked with making decisions of urgent importance and are able to prove their value as assets o the firm. Small-size and medium firms offer a very different kind of experience to big multinational firms. In larger firms, lawyers become specialists dealing in different sectors of operation. One’s masterly of their sector increases their value to the firm.
Smaller firms on the other hand turn lawyers into generalists creating competition in most cases while offering all rounded experience. Again the lawyer who shows expertise in the aggregate of the general duties gains more organizational value. The level of supervision and client contact is another determinant. Junior staff in a small firm my have all the field contact with client and therefore a greater chance to influence or solve their issues. In larger firms similar staff could be confined to office desks while their senior’s engage all the clients. In conclusion, a smart lawyer shouldn’t have to explain their intrinsic value to a firm.