Becoming a Leader (Not Just a Lawyer) in Your Firm

If you endeavour to be a vital part of your law firm, and not merely a good lawyer, there are a few items you should consider.

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If you endeavour to be a vital part of your law firm, and not merely a good lawyer, there are a few items you should consider.

Remember, the practice of law is only one part of your professional success: to truly maximise your potential, you must strive to succeed in every aspect of your role as a member of your firm. Here are some practical steps to help you become not only a successful lawyer, but a valued leader who helps shape the future of your firm.

Take on extra responsibility

It is easy, when you become immersed in the daily grind of practising law, to give into the temptation to shut yourself in your office and keep your head down. And to be sure, there is a place for this sort of behaviour in some cases, such as when a deadline is looming.

But, to truly become a leader in your firm, you have to come out of your shell and start to pay attention to those around you. No longer can you simply stay at your desk and perform the tasks that come to you. Rather, you have to take some initiative for helping to shape the firm's future.

This may mean attending some management functions and asking to be involved in ongoing initiatives. You may also consider assisting in the development of key programs such as career development boards. Take a few moments and consider what your firm is missing, then come up with a plan to help create something to fill the need. In so doing, you will find yourself taking on leadership roles and playing a vital part in the firm's development.

Help create job descriptions

On occasion, someone is hired to fill a position without really having a clear understanding of what that entails. This is particularly true when the new employee is meant to replace an outgoing employee who may have been key in creating a given position.

You can help ensure the efficiency and continuity of the firm by creating detailed job descriptions for employees at every level of the firm. From the administrative staff, to the associate lawyers, to the managing solicitors, every person has a vital role to play, and every one of them should know what they are (and are not) expected to do.
Of course, drafting a job description without the input of the employee for whom you are drafting it is probably not a good idea. Rather than charging ahead without any input, take the time to sit down with each person and feel out what it is that he or she does. Give him or her a draft copy of the job description you are proposing and ask for input. This will make others feel that you care about their input, while at the same time helping to cement your role as a leader in the firm.

Take advantage of practice management software

Speaking of a job description, when it comes to setting up key goals and other methods of measuring performance, you should definitely consider using an intelligent law practice management software suite.

For example, LawMaster's Dashboard delivers valuable real-time reporting of different KPIs. By utilising LawMaster's capabilities, you will be able to intuitively set performance goals for yourself or various employees that are both achievable and measurable. This may cause yourself and other staff to be more motivated, as they will have a concrete method of measuring their performance for reference during their performance reviews.

Filling a leadership role in your firm is an important step in your own success, as well as the ongoing success of your firm. By being proactive and showing initiative, you can help yourself become more than just another lawyer.