SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE - There’s currently more than enough work to go around at most large law firms—but is it really going around as much as it should be? Industry observers and talent development personnel told Law.com’s Jessie Yount that the pandemic has exacerbated flawed methods of assigning work, which has led to increased feelings of anxiety, and sometimes awkwardness, among associates seeking to forge relationships with senior lawyers and advocate for their own career development. Big Law has historically relied on two formal methods of work allocation: the “free market” approach, in which associates volunteer for tasks, and the “centralized staffing” (or “staffing coordinator”) model that assigns work to associates. In many cases, firms end up utilizing a third, non-standardized method referred to as the “assigning partner” approach, in which partners pick and choose the associates that they believe are best suited to handle a matter. As you can imagine, none of these options are particularly ideal on their own, but some firms are discovering that combining them can be effective. Regardless of the approach, the key is ensuring associates are assigned a breadth of meaningful and educational tasks. “Integration strikes me as one of the biggest themes for next year,” said Linda Lee, director of associate development at Cooley. “Thoughtful work allocation will drive better integration and productivity, which is key to success in the remote environment.”
LEADERSHIP MATERIAL - ”You get what you get and you don’t get upset” might be a decent mantra to teach preschoolers who are prone to tantrums, but it’s not a great approach to managing adults—especially not after the past two years, during which a lot of what we got was pretty darn upsetting. If we’ve learned anything about leadership in the legal industry during the pandemic, it’s that empathy is no longer a “soft” or “nice to have” skill—it’s an essential ingredient to successful leadership. ”Leading with empathy, authenticity and purposefulness have not only been proven to drive employee satisfaction and retention, but have also shown to have a direct impact on driving innovation, creativity and, in turn, revenue,” Law.com’s Heather Nevitt writes in this week’s Law.com Barometer newsletter. To receive the Law.com Barometer directly to your inbox each week, click here.