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Oct 08, 2013
Managing Law Firm Partners – How to Herd the Cats
I have just been elected as the firm's first managing partner. We are a 9 attorney firm in El Paso, Texas. After a month I am already frustrated and wish I had declined the role. I have two partners that are simply not producing, do as they please, and I am powerless. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Non-productive partners always pose a challenge. They are usually the “nice – easy to get along with folks” which makes it difficult to confront and deal with them as well. However, the longer that you let such problems fester the harder these situations will be to deal with in the long term. Layout performance expectations and deal with them in real time.
- For starters – if you have not already – create a well understood set of firm core values or code of conduct that governs behavior in the firm. For example, in most firms people are expected to work hard, be honest, and treat each other with respect.
- Partners as well as all other attorneys and staff should behave in a collaborative, cooperative, and team-orientated manner.
- Partners as well as all other attorneys and staff should comply with all firm policies and procedures.
- Enforce firm policies for all – no exceptions.
- Consider coaching, counseling or other forms of outside assistance if they could prove helpful.
- Lay down the law – confront and deal with the problem partner sooner than later – even if it means him or her leaving the firm.
You will need to sit down with your other partners and get their support and commitment to stand behind you and support you before you embark on this journey.
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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC
Posted at 09:06 PM in