November/December 2019

Managing

Managing Partners Need Group Support Too

Robert Young

Practicing law is hard, but managing a law firm can sometimes be even tougher work. Almost 10 years ago, I took over as the managing partner for my firm. Having almost no experience in running a law firm, there were very few places to turn for information or advice. However, I had been a member of the ABA since I first began my practice in 1990. I discovered an interest in the business of running a law firm early on, so I decided to join the ABA’s Law Practice Division (LP). The four core areas of LP include technology, finance, marketing and that one vital area, law firm management.

LP Helped Guide the Way

The same year that I began as managing partner, I started attending LP meetings and I quickly discovered that it had some great resources. The greatest resource, however, were the very knowledgeable people who were attending the meetings. These folks included many managing partners who were not only having the same issues that I was encountering, but they had also tried many ideas that were paying off for their firms. I discovered that there existed a managing partner community made up of many of us who had never been educated or trained on how to run a law firm. However, all of us were eager to learn and share ideas. Looking back, this was one of my first experiences with collaborative leadership as I found myself part of a small community relying heavily on each other to help lead our firms.

As attorneys we are called on every day to solve problems for our clients. As managing partners our instincts are that we should be able to do the same for our firm without any assistance. That is complete nonsense. Why go at it alone?

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