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Hybrids and Start-Ups

Law Firm Recruitment & Retention


Strategies Conference
February 22, 2007
Clark Cordner, WilmerHale
Clark.Cordner@WilmerHale.com 202-247-3456
Ron Friedmann, Prism Legal Consulting, Inc.
ron@prismlegal.com 703.527.2381
Agenda
Blended ("hybrid) attorney defined
Value: Why have them
Hybrids and start-up teams
Integration issues
Career paths
Billing
Introduction
Law firm strategic context
Markets to serve
Services to offer (internal and external)
How to organize
Intangibles (e.g., culture, innovation)
What is a hybrid lawyer?
Where do they fit?
Hybrid Attorney Overview
Lawyers who do not practice law
Typically a staff function
May or may not be billable
Excludes
Managing partner
E-discovery attorney (?)
Where Hybrid Lawyers Fit
As firms grow larger
Management becomes more professional
More specialized know-how required
Practicing lawyers
Usually have no business experience
Typically have no interest in managing
Non-practicing lawyers
Often have non-legal (and mgmt) experience
Focus on management or practice support
Hybrid Attorney Examples
Marketing
Practice Support
Recruiting
Professional development
Knowledge management
COO or ED
What Hybrids Do
"Translation Layer
Navigate the caste system
Apply practice know-how
Practice support
Professional development
KM
The Value Hybrids Add
Clients assume firms have expertise
Specialized know-how helps clients
Recruiting/Retention Benefits
Metric: "Make my life a little easier
Enablers
Starting Hybrid Operations
Add incrementally
Create a start-up team
Both have issues
Pros and Cons
Big decision
Budget
Risk
Effectiveness?
Limited buy-in
Resources?
Resources
Recognition
Support
Smaller decision
Less budget
Lower risk
Incremental Start-Up Team
Pros
Cons
Start-Up Teams
Where on the org chart?
Formal
Informal (skunk works)
Affiliate
How to staff
Metrics (evaluation)
Deliverables
Financial
Client service
Start-Up Tips
Document early expectations
Identify expected metrics
Plan to periodically evaluate
If unfamiliar, ratchet back
announced expectations
Identify champions / mentors
. and align their interests
Establish modest revenue goals
Be Careful of What You Ask.
You may get it
Expectations for a new position
Of the person
Of the firm
If you hire, be prepared to support
Integration: Caste System
Youre a lawyer - or not
Lawyers listen to other lawyers
The messenger matters
Dilemmas
Wed be better off without caste system
Is the hybrid a lawyer or staff
Best or worst of all worlds?
Integration
What is the staff culture
Cooperative
Competitive (fiefdoms)
Success requires cooperation
Risk of diversion
Call to solve too man problems
Do lawyers know whom to call?
Integration: Compensation
Lawyers expect high compensation
But this flows from billing hours or
bringing in clients
So hybrids may be in middle
And what about partnership?
Voting, equity, or share of profits
Opportunity cost to NOT practice
Career Paths
Practicing lawyer path is clear
Or is it?
Counsel and many partner flavors
Staff path is fairly clear
What about hybrids?
Lawyer or staff
Candidates personal risk mgmt
Billing Issues
Internal functions are not billable
Marketing, CLE, recruiting
Case-specific work arguably billable
Some practice support, KM
But firms may choose not to bill
Relationship management
How many timekeepers per bill?
Recruiting Hybrids
Many practicing lawyers are unhappy
But unhappiness with practice does not
mean lawyer has right skill
Need to find right skill mix
How important is cultural know-how?
Recruiting options
Internal
External (but where?)
Retaining Hybrids
Questions of identity: fish or fowl?
Reconciliation affected by
Sense of fulfillment
Belief there is direction / career value
Treatment / Respect
Perception of still being "on the team
The Future
Are more coming?
. to stay?
Q & A
Questions / Discussion ?