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Be Transparent About Advancement in Your Firm

What does it take to get ahead at your law firm? 

If you want to retain your best employees, you need to be transparent with them about what it takes to get ahead at your firm. 

  • What happens if an employee wants a promotion? 
  • How does an associate become a partner in the firm? 
  • What skills, activities, or behaviors are required for advancement? 

Employees get restless when they don’t know where they stand. 

In my experience, law firms are really good at communicating things like how many billable hours are required or conducting performance reviews that talk about past performance, but they’re not necessarily so good at talking about the future and what an employee wants to get out of their career, what opportunities there are for advancement at the firm and what an employee needs to do to get there. 

Instead of just focusing on billable hours and past performance, talk to your employees about what they want out of their careers. Help them to set goals that will help them to advance in your firm. If becoming a partner means that you have to bring in business, make sure that your associates know that. Encourage them to get involved in their local community or their bar association. If trial experience is required for partnership, make sure that your associates know that as well and help them to find opportunities to get that experience. If you can’t become a partner unless you’ve had a certain number of years as a lawyer, make sure that people in your firm know that as well. Remember, what might be obvious to you isn’t necessarily so obvious to your employees. 

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