Ah, September. Summer heat is giving way to cool autumn breezes. The slow pace of summer life has been replaced with the busyness of work and back-to-school activities. Many recent law graduates are launching into full seek-and-obtain-legal-employment mode after taking a brief respite post–bar exam. Law firms are gearing up as well, with late summer and early fall being the time for welcoming new attorneys into the firm. Stabilizing client bases and a slight upswing in economic mood are also reasons for some firms to resume a semblance of recruitment activities at law schools and to aggressively seek lateral hires.
This is my first opportunity to write as chair of the ABA LPM Section, and I am excited to know that the theme of this issue of Law Practice is recruitment and retention. As a law professor, my interest in the employment of attorneys is more than a passing fancy. I have had the privilege of attending several commencement exercises for law graduates. In recent years, these festive occasions have been increasingly dampened by the fact that many of the graduates face unemployment after graduation. The joy of their accomplishment is tempered by the anxiety of unemployment. Their hopes of landing a legal job under the supervision of experienced attorneys are slim. For many, their only option of obtaining legal employment is through self-employment. Even this option of hanging a shingle is not without substantial challenge as these entrepreneurial graduates share with established law firms the economic reality meditating against full employment of legal manpower.
Law firms of all sizes and years of operation are realizing that the recruitment and retention effort is not a mere exercise in counting the number of lawyers hired and retained. Recruitment and retention require a strategy incorporating the firm’s mission, culture and goals in order to determine how best to collect and develop the firm’s resources to enhance service to its clients. In addition, attorneys looking for work bear increased responsibility in learning about the firms in which they would like to become employed and figuring out how they can hone their talents to best translate into value for those firms’ clients.
The LPM Section is an excellent resource to consult on this or on other topics related to law firm practice management. For example, during the ABA Annual Meeting in August, LPM held a Managing Partners Roundtable for a discussion of trends and management issues, and members took advantage of CLE sessions covering technology topics addressing the practical and ethical considerations in moving one’s practice to the cloud and discussing how the iPhone and iPad can facilitate practice development. LPM’s focus on the personal development of its members was apparent in our CLE offerings on time management, personal branding and implicit bias.
As part of our Fall Meeting in beautiful Lake Tahoe, LPM will host the ABA Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop. Scheduled for October 19 to 21 at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, this workshop is expected to follow its predecessors in being a sold-out event. Not your typical “sit and listen” conference, participants will learn to leverage their business development skills through innovative activities directed by seasoned legal marketing pros and in-house counsel. Powerful keynote speakers, individual and group coaching sessions and plentiful networking opportunities make this workshop a must-attend experience.
Along with onsite CLE and networking events, our Section provides a multitude of publications, webinars and teleconferences as resources for the law firm and the attorney who want to be in the know regarding finances, technology, marketing and management. Roll up your sleeves, get comfortable, and take advantage of your Section’s offerings. We are here to serve you. I look forward to seeing you in Lake Tahoe in October and throughout the ABA year.