Do Lawyers Need Leadership Training

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Lawyers are slowly leaning towards the need for leadership training for many reasons. The legal profession has become more competitive with over a million lawyers practicing in the US and over 120,000 law students. The time has come for lawyers to look for an edge over their competitors. Some of them are now thinking of leadership development training. This attitudinal change has led recently a legal firm to announce that it will send all its lawyers to MBA schools.

All these developments indicate that the legal profession is recognizing the need for better leadership development through continuing education programs which can be had from regular institutions, the web and video or phone.

High turnover of lawyers or clients, revenue shortfalls, client complaints, malpractice suits or falling reputation are perhaps driving the legal firms to turn to leadership development. Now there is acceptance for leadership development programs as they have the potential to address the serious problem of lack of civility within the legal profession. The belief that by improving the quality of leadership legal firms can get higher profits and improved lawyer satisfaction is steadily growing.



The question is when to start the leadership training and how. By approaching a leadership development consultant to speak to some members of the firm may pay dividends. But there are some roadblocks. Lawyers are rarely prepared to realize the potential value of leadership development training when they first hear the expert and these sessions may not be easily scheduled.

Another option may be law retreats but they can be held only occasionally and the topic of the leadership development may not jell well with the agenda. Staff meetings can also be used for training purposes. The best person to introduce the need for leadership training is a fellow lawyer.

The question of timing is also important. It looks appropriate to promote the leadership training program when a lawyer or a firm is facing challenges. But the proposal may become a bitter pill for the vulnerable. Promoting the idea during good times may not succeed. A long-term training program may find acceptance. Lawyers may be receptive to the idea of bringing in a development consultant to chalk out a plan.

Ultimately, using a leadership development expert to help facilitate retreats, partnership meetings or executive meetings, and meet one-on-one with key men in the law firm for executive coaching are also viable ways to promote leadership development among lawyers, law firms, court systems, in-house counsel offices, and in other areas of the legal profession.
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