The culture of a Law Firm is a combination of many factors. These factors include implicit as well as explicit factors. The culture of a firm can be judged by the way employees are rewarded, the actions which are rewarded, the actions which are tolerated, the actions which are punished, and the actions which are overlooked. The culture of a law firm is not only important for employees but is equally important for clients as well. Culture represents what is expected of the employees and the amount of leverage that is given to employees in case of right and wrong. This is critical in the case of clients as it is essential for clients that their legal issues are handled properly.
The culture of a law firm cannot be determined by the perception of employees at a single level, especially the top level. The perception and experience of employees at different levels of the organization can vary significantly. However, employees at the lowest level of the organization usually have the most accurate understanding of the culture. Therefore, to understand the culture of the organization from both an employee as well as a client perspective, it is important to consult employees at different levels of the organization.
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The culture of a law firm is established by the values of the firm. The values are established through the actions of the partners. They are the ones who represent the firm and the way they act plays a key role in setting benchmarks for other employees at the firm.
Law Firms have a certain culture in mind that they want to establish within the firm. However, culture cannot be changed or imparted easily. To change culture, it is important to understand the current culture and then align the actions and choices of the firm with the values. The rules and regulations must be equally implemented at all levels of the firm. All the employees must accept and understand the values so that these values translate into the culture of the firm in the long term.
Evaluation of Lawyers at Law Firms
Evaluation of lawyers at Law Firms plays a substantial role in the success of the firm. Apart from the usual factors prevalent in other organizations, law firms tend to give out tasks to the legal professionals working at the firm based on their strengths and weaknesses. It is essential for law firms to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their employees and use those strengths to their advantage.
To understand the strengths and weaknesses of employees, Law Firms need to have a wholesome evaluation system. It is a misconception that billing is enough to evaluate the performance of legal professionals in a law firm. The evaluation should be based on a balanced approach, in which the lawyers are evaluated on diverse performance categories. Employees should not have the option to pick the areas where they want to perform well and ignore other areas. A lawyer, regardless of their position in a firm, should be required to achieve a certain level of competence across all areas of performance.
One of the methods that are used extensively for evaluation is a competency-based model. In this case, employees are evaluated on multiple competencies, usually categorized as financial performance, client retention, satisfaction, people management, and leadership.
Another method that has proved to be effective in evaluation is forced ranking. In this case, all lawyers at the same level in the firm are ranked and given a certain rank relative to their peers. This is done for different competencies and helps to assess the strengths and weaknesses of all the lawyers.
Weighted scoring is another method that is used for the evaluation of lawyers. In this case, rather than giving equal weightage to all areas of evaluation, certain weights are assigned to different areas of performance according to the needs of the firm. Regardless of the type of evaluation method that is used in a law firm, it is important for law firms to realize that evaluation methods should be tailored according to the needs of the firm and should be updated regularly as per the changing needs of the firm as well as the industry.
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