Altman Weil’s email newsletter is a great monthly resource on the business of the practice of law. The one I received today is no exception.
Perhaps the most interesting article in this issue is Marci Krufka’s “Managing Partners Lack Leadership Training (PDF)” which definitely deserves a wide distribution. Krufka notes:
“According to Altman Weil, Inc.?s 2004 Managing Partner and Executive Director Survey, approximately forty-two percent (42%) of managing partners have not participated in any management skill-building seminars or training courses in the last three years. In what other market would you find Chief Executive Officers with little or no formal business education and no continuing professional education on the topic? [emphasis added by DK]”
And the money quote:
“Compare lawyer-managers to their counterparts in large accounting and consulting firms. In these other professional services firms, most professionals have had at least 300 hours in leadership and managing training before beginning even their first management position (let alone management of the firm). [emphasis added by DK]”
It should be obvious that this training deficit has consequences in many contexts, not the least of which is IT planning and implementation. I would expect to find that stats on training for IT decision-making to be even bleaker. How, then, will law firms consider, make and implement initiatives in areas like client-driven technologies amd Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, let alone keep up with basic software, hardware and security issues?
While I do consulting and executive coaching in precisely these areas and want to do quite a bit more, there seems to be a need for coaching and training at any number of levels, based on the numbers shown in this article. I’m curious if others who consult and coach in these areas are seeing more demand, or is there still an ostrich-with-head-in-sand approach at 42% or more of law firms.