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Is the professional development regimen at your firm working well? Are you developing the talent you need to succeed in a competitive and changing world? Are your lawyers and staff happy with the training they are getting?
How many times have you heard someone say, “Our strength is our people”? While this statement is a bit overused, no one can really argue with the premise. Developing and growing talent is the key to building a successful and profitable firm, and this issue of Law Practice is focused on helping firms develop and improve their professional development programs.
It all starts at the top and having a longer-term perspective. Marcia Pennington Shannon’s lead article provides sound advice on thinking strategically about your talent needs. Then Law Practice Board member Karen MacKay leads a roundtable discussion about trends on the talent development front with law firm professional development leaders Susan Clarke of Gowlings, Sari Fried-Fiori of Fulbright & Jaworski, Susan Hayes of Stewart McKelvey, Richard Pearson of Davis Wright Tremaine, and Scott Westfahl of Goodwin Procter.
Professional development goes far beyond substantive law training. Firms also need to focus on developing their future leaders. Kathleen Bradley’s article will help you understand the what, who, when and hows of leadership development. Plus, when it comes to professional development (and just about everything else), younger lawyers of today want and need different things. Stephanie West Allen provides insights on how to connect with the Generation Y lawyers at your firm, and Ryan Sullivan turns the tables to show how young lawyers can play a part in educating the firm. Also, coaches can bring a lot of value to the table, especially for smaller firms that don’t have the resources to hire part- or full-time professional development staff. Jamie Spannhake has advice that will help you understand how to get the most when you hire a coach.
The new ABA bar year brings some changes to the team behind Law Practice. Creating this magazine is a collaborative process that involves many people. This issue is the last produced by the 2009-2010 Editorial Board, and I would like to thank them for all their work. I also want to thank my fellow editors Joan Feldman and Joy White for all the work they do on the magazine, and Aaron Smith at LPM headquarters for his work on our online editions.
I hope this issue of Law Practice helps you improve the professional development efforts at your firm. Thanks to Karen MacKay who helped as issue editor.
Dan Pinnington , Editor-in-Chief