October 2003  Volume 29, Issue 7
October 2003 Issue
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Chair's Message: Principles in Action
 
 
"We respect people and their ideas, we encourage them to participate, and we provide something of value to them to help them develop in their professional lives. If you do these things, people will generally want to come to-and stay with-your firm. And you will have a successful and happy organization."

This issue of Law Practice Management looks at how to keep and develop the best people to ensure your firm's long-term success. As a practicing lawyer and the managing partner of the Tucson office of Quarles & Brady, I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about those things over the years. Our office is relatively small, 13 lawyers and 18 staff, and I'm glad to say we have very little turnover and a great deal of teamwork. When I ponder why, in comparison to other firms I know of, we have such camaraderie in our office, a number of factors come to mind.

For one thing, we have a culture of inclusion. People are treated with respect regardless of their positions. There is a lot of interaction between the lawyers and staff in the office. We plan office activities together, we take meals in the lunchroom together, and we generally help each other throughout our workdays.

On a broader basis, our firm puts considerable emphasis on training people (both the staff and the lawyers). We are concerned about the development of all our people, and it shows. It's another reason people stay here--because someone does take an interest in their development.

For example, we run in-house NITA training for our lawyers. Each practice group holds regular meetings at which training is offered in a variety of areas. Also, in our bankruptcy and creditors' rights practice group, we have an intensive annual training program spanning several months for new lawyers.

Similarly, for staff we have trainers who come to the various offices to provide schooling in diverse aspects of the firm's software and hardware systems.

In addition, we include staff in our client service committee. Again, we are inclusive. We respect people and their ideas, we encourage them to participate, and we provide something of value to them to help them develop in their professional lives. If you do these things, people will generally want to come to--and stay with--your firm. And you will have a successful and happy organization.

I see those same principles in action in the Law Practice Management Section. This magazine is certainly a prime example of how the Section assists lawyers and others involved in the practice of law in their development. We have myriad other ways we help members of the profession grow and thrive, too. And that includes providing a wide range of information and programs for those who want to manage people well, so their organizations can attract, develop and keep good lawyers and staff. In our Section, people are inclusive and respectful. Plus, we have fun.


Susan G. Boswell ( sboswell@quarles.com), Chair of the ABA Law Practice Management Section, is Managing Partner of the Tucson office of Quarles & Brady Streich Lang LLP.