A Valuable Attorney: The Meaning Is Changing

Last week, I met with a wonderful attorney who has been in-house with one of our clients for several years, doing primarily employment work. She said she was recently offered a position to lead a new business unit that will require putting together processes and managing 30-plus attorneys – a very significant position within the company.

After offering my congratulations and discussing a little more about the position, we left on this note: attorneys who can manage processes and people are going to be vital to our legal profession -- and their company/clients -- moving forward. There are many smart attorneys and there are some who are true specialists in a niche area; but finding attorneys who understand business, who understand the importance of a repeatable process, and who are able to create, modify and manage a process and then bring in the people and manage them as well … is a unique skill set for an attorney. Those with these skills will be immensely valuable as we continue to forge through the changes that we're upon in our profession.

Everyone is being asked to do more with less – from our home life to our professional life. We are in a time that requires all of us to examine our expenditures, what value we are getting for what we spend and whether there are more cost-effective ways to get some, if not all, of our tasks done. This is true in the life of our clients, both law firms and corporate legal departments. Within our company, one question that I encourage people to always ask themselves is, “What can I do that no one else can?” The answers to that question are the real value that you bring the company. If there are things that you are doing that can be done by someone else at a reduction in cost – then let’s look to shift that work to that resource. This is just step one in determining whether you are really getting value for what you are paying. In this economy, everyone selling their services needs to be sure that they are providing that real value.