Popular Downloads

This page lists articles, checklists and other resources I have published over many years that clients and visitors continue to request and download. Although some were written 10 or more years ago, the concepts remain relevant today and the advice remains sound.

The Cost of Losing Associates

The expense of losing talented employees is an ongoing concern for all employers. Human resources professionals estimate the cost to be 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s compensation, and even more for highly specialized employees. The cost for law firms is particularly great because of the high expenses involved in recruiting, training, and replacing associates.

The Project for Attorney Retention says the cost of replacing a second- or third-year associate ranges from $250,000 to $500,000 per associate. This range is admittedly very broad, but that reflects the difficulty of quantifying all of the hard and soft costs involved, especially given the variations among law firms. This diagnostic  lists the factors to include in your calculation. They include both direct, out-of-pocket expenses (e.g., travel, recruiting fees) and indirect, “soft” costs which are harder to calculate (e.g., lost productivity).

How Effective Is Your Firm at Sustaining High Performance?

You can use diagnostic tool to examine how well your firm is doing in four key areas of performance management: setting and supporting clear work expectations; supporting those expectations with meaningful rewards and consequences; giving effective feedback and evaluations; and fostering and supporting individual goal-setting.

How Effectively Does Your Firm Support Retention and Advancement of Women Lawyers?

This Diagnostic was designed to help employers develop strategies to further the retention, advancement, and career development of women lawyers. Although women make up about a third of the legal profession and close to half of associates at major firms, the number of women equity partners in those firms remains low (15%) and the number of women in firm management and leadership roles is even smaller. Recent studies by the Washington and New York state bar associations, the National Association of Women Lawyer, US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Catalyst, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and others, confirm that women lawyers continue to face obstacles to success in the legal profession – and that employers who are committed to women’s professional success can remove those barriers.

How Effectively Does Your Firm Promote Associates’ Professional Development?

Law firms want their associates to reach and maintain the highest levels of excellence. They know that continuous learning and development are essential for high performance, but may not know the various areas in which to focus their efforts. I created this Diagnostic to help employers identify the key elements necessary for associates to learn, progress, and perform at their peak.

Lawyer’s Professional Development Plan

Guidelines, Baseline, Goal Categories, and Action©

A professional development plan is a relatively simple document that records a lawyer’s goals, how the goals will be attained (including the activities, resources, and support needed and how they will be obtained), and a timetable. Firms that ask lawyers to prepare professional development plans can make the process easier by providing guidelines, instructions, a means for obtaining baseline development data, and explanations of any categories in which goals should be set. Page 3 shows a simple template for a professional development plan.

Starting a Women’s Initiative

Here are some important considerations if you are contemplating a new women’s initiative or seeking to improve your existing one.

Looking at Lawyers’ Work Through Clients’ Eyes

To build trust and good will that are fundamental to strong attorney-clientrelationships, firms need to look at the services they provide, and the costs of those services, through the client’s eyes. This will require firms to transform how they think and operate by redefining productivity, empathizing with clients and restructuring what lawyers do and how they do it

Going Global

Because lawyers increasingly function in a world of disappearing borders, they need to be culturally competent. This article explains what that means and how it can be learned.

The Rules of Engagement

Retaining associates is not enough; firms need to engage them. To do that, they need to understand the factors discussed here. (This article from Canadian Lawyer Magazine originally appeared in Management Solutions as “The Rules of Engagement.”)

Evaluating the mentoring program

This article presents suggestions for evaluating your mentoring program in terms of both the firm’s program objectives and and the relationships of participants.

Law Firm Leaders Need to Lean In

Women are advised to “lean in,” but that’s not enough. Leaders also need to lean in to support them. Changing the dominant culture requires leaders with vision, determination and courage who will “lean in” and use their power, influence and political capital to produce gender balance.

Want to Be a Good Mentor? Listen Up!

Mentoring may be an age-old process, but that doesn’t mean that everyone does it well. Most partners enjoy mentoring junior lawyers and fancy themselves good at it. They like to think they can have a positive influence on a younger lawyer’s career by giving advice, sharing insights about how they became successful, and telling stories about their experiences. After all, they have the wisdom that comes with years of practice and professional success, and they have inside knowledge about how the firm works and what its expectations are for associates. Because they are expected to advise and they have so much to share, mentors traditionally talk much more than they listen. And that’s where they go wrong…. Download my PDF file to read more.

Should your firm start a sponsorship program?

Sponsorship programs important, but they require more of the firm and the program participants than mentoring programs. This article explains some of the points to consider before you embark on one.

Women Leaders and the Dilemma of Authenticity

The issue of authenticity is especially complicated for women leaders. This articles explains why that’s so and what women can do to be both authentic and effective.

Beyond Mentors

This article explains why women need champions – or sponsors – as well as mentors, and it offers advice on how to find those sponsors.