When my clients ask me for advice around recruiting I always advise them to consider attitude as the no#1 attribute to look for. I am not discounting academics, or technical ability, but let’s be clear, they can be learned. Attitude is far more difficult to teach and learn-you have it or you don’t!
A few years ago I remember reading a story about this one top-tier law firm in the US. Their approach to recruitment was out of the norm-to say the least. First, they didn’t target top-tier law schools, they looked at 2nd and 3rd tier schools. Secondly, they didn’t look at straight ‘A’ students, they looked for ‘B’ students who worked while going to law school to pay for their tuition. Their thinking was that this demonstrated a strong work ethic and great attitude-these students were willing to do whatever it took to succeed. I was taken aback when reading it. I totally agree. Not to say that straight ‘A’ students don’t have a great attitude, but this firm got it right. “Attitude before Academics”. They often found that in the case of the straight ‘A’ students attending top-tier law schools that with that came a sense of entitlement.
With the right attitude you find the solution. The wrong attitude “Well if I breath in, then I am going to have to breathe out.” The right attitude. “What’s the solution? There is a solution for everything”- that is when you have the right attitude.
People with the right attitude or ‘good’ attitude will do what it takes to learn what they need to. They will do the work….They won’t complain or drag others down. They contribute. They are a part of the solution. in many cases they ‘self-manage’. And generally, they are a pleasure to work with.
So before marks, before resume, choose the attitude! In my humble opinion, it accounts for about 90% of everything!
Working with a number of lawyers in helping them to transition into their new firms, I can say that this kind of support can speed up the process of successful integration by at least three times. And that is being conservative. All you have to do, is ‘do the math’. Not only will you increase that dismal success rate, you will also speed up the revenue generation of your new partners.
Here is one example of what is possible:
Working with one partner who moved from one national firm to another starting back in September of 2017, I helped him with his transition into his new firm. We looked at who he should approach first to team up with for business development. I helped him to build relationships with his new partners, associates and management.
Starting in September 2017, and after the initial transition period of three months, we then focused on taking his business development efforts to the next level. Fast forward to now, May, and he has already grown his practice beyond himself and successfully built a team of one other partner, two associates, two paralegals and his assistant. That has all taken place since September. Wow! Imagine if you had this same success with more of your lateral hires? What would that look like for your firm?
And it gets better! Once word gets out, and it will, your firm will find it even easier to attract even more high-performing talent. Think about how that will positively impact not only your bottom line, but your firm growth.
One area where I see a lot of potential for law firms to stand out from each other is in marketing your talent acquisition strategy. Let’s say your firm has established a winning formula for targeting and attracting high-level lateral talent. And your professional development people have created a successful transition program for your newly acquired talent increasing their likelihood of success dramatically, not to mention getting better ROI and contributing to the bottom line. This is a winning formula. How do you take the next step?
Engage your marketing people to articulate your approach to attract even more high-level talent and own the talent race. The competition for talent is fierce right now. Why not own it?
Then also articulate this winning formula to your current and future clients. E.g. “We have an established reputation of acquiring and retaining the very best talent in this market and this is how we do it…” After all, what is a law firm without talent? And what are your clients buying?