Law firm looking for attorney development supervisor – perhaps similar in part to law schools developing and preparing their JD students . . .

Continuing on the same topic, law schools – law business, I have pasted below a copy of an advertisement that I came across for a law firm attorney development supervisor position.  It struck me that in some ways the position is worded in a manner that is similar to the development and mentoring by law schools of their students while they are still in school and prior to graduation.  I removed the name of the law firm – not that I think that they would mind me using their advertisement as it would be good distribution for their hiring search, and the advertisement is public anyway.

I do disagree with the following job candidate qualifications that are requested in the advertisement: “Undergraduate degree required and 5-7 years relevant work experience. An advanced degree in a related field and/or JD a plus.”  In my opinion a JD and actual lawyer work experience are or should be required, not just a plus, for anyone who is hired for this position.  Letting my guard down a little – about a year ago I interviewed for a similar position with a very reputable law firm in San Francisco but requiring a JD and legal experience.  It’s a very tough competitive legal market folks and the law profession is based on a sometimes archaic structure.  The wording of the advertisement is pasted below.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)



About the Job

__________________ California Law Firm “Firm” is seeking an Attorney Development Supervisor to lead the Professional Development functions in the ______________, California Office. The Supervisor will oversee and directly support all aspects of attorney development including new attorney arrivals, policies and procedures, evaluations and compensation, training, diversity, career development counseling, attorney relations, mentor program, attorney departures, leaves of absences and be responsible for maintaining attorney personnel records and databases. The Supervisor will work closely with the Office Leader, Practice Leaders and administrative departments. The Attorney Development Supervisor will report to the Firm’s Director of Professional Personnel and Attorney Development.

Responsibilities will further include, but are not limited to:

  • · Implement professional development programs to meet the Firm and Office objectives and foster a sense of community.
  • · Coach, develop and evaluate attorney development staff member(s), working to implement Firm-wide initiatives related to work/life balance, benefits and other arrangements. Works with Firm HR and Benefits personnel on administrative matters related to attorney benefits, flexible schedules, leaves of absence, disability and other leave arrangements.
  • · Serve as confidential resource to attorneys, provide career guidance and manage personnel issues. Provide guidance and direction on Firm policy and standards. Maintain confidentiality in handling attorney relation matters and personnel records.
  • · Direct the onboarding process for incoming, transfer and lateral attorneys, serving as the primary contact and ensuring a smooth and successful integration into practices.
  • · Foster open communication and make recommendations on professional development issues. Work to ensure the growth and development of the department and its relationship with the practice groups.
  • · Plan and attend attorney social functions.
  • · Forecast financial and budget requirements for the department in conjunction with the Office Administrator, Firm-wide resources and the local office Accounting Manager.
  • · Manage the associate and counsel evaluation process including interim feedback, self- assessment and feedback.
  • · Oversee the coordination of office affinity groups, including the Diversity Group, Women’s group, Mother’s group, African American attorneys’ group, Asian American attorneys’ group and other groups as needed.
  • · Identify and makes recommendations for associate and counsel training efforts for practice areas and overall Firm training goals and objectives. Work with the Professional Development Committee to plan and execute the associate mentor program. Work with consultants to coordinate training, coaching and outplacement when appropriate.
  • · Evaluate departmental reports, decisions and analysis in relation to established goals. Recommend new approaches and policies to reflect continuous improvements in the department’s processes and efficiencies.

Broad and thorough knowledge of Attorney Development practices. Ability to organize and prioritize numerous projects and deadlines under time constraints. Demonstrated experience leading and supervising staff. Effectively employ coaching and problem solving techniques. Strong interpersonal skills required to interact with all levels of attorneys and support staff employees. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential matters, use discretion and exercise good judgment. Excellent analytical, organizational and planning skills. Available to work a flexible work schedule, including extended hours. Five plus years of experience with a professional services organization preferred.

Undergraduate degree required and 5-7 years relevant work experience. An advanced degree in a related field and/or JD a plus.

Interested candidates can apply by sending their resume to ___________________.

Note: I have removed the remainder of the posting which was essentially disclosures and disclaimers that are unnecessary to this post.

A lot going on about how law schools are structured, legal education, and legal training – residencies?

Note: this blog was first posted on April 30, 2013, but I have continued to add additional comments and links of interest on these topics.  See also my May 2, 2013, blog post about law schools operating law firms, or clinics, or residencies with law school graduates.

NY Times, To Practice Law, Apprentice First, Click Here.

ABA Legal Education Task Force Panel, Click Here.

Lawyers Mutual, Are Lawyer Residencies The Future, Click Here.

The National Law Journal, article about ASU creates a law firm, Click Here and Click Here.

Is Law School Reform Going to Come Top Down or Bottom Up, Click Here.

Blog post D-Day for Law School Deans, Click Here and Click Here (and this second link has additional useful links for further reading and information).

Flipped learning in the law school classroom, Click Here.

Reinvent the law website, Click Here.

Somewhat off topic, but I thought this was interesting although maybe too simple, The Fromm Six, Click Here.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)

The Law Business & Law Schools – A Lot Of Discussion . . And Changes In Both

I have been following the ongoing (1) discussions about the structure and changes in the law or law firm business/profession, and (2) discussions relating to law school operation and the recent new rankings.  (1) and (2) are separate and yet also in some ways inter-related issues.

The law business or profession has been going through a rough time for several years.  Some firms will survive, some will not, and there is also a sustainability factor meaning that some firms will survive for the current partners but there is no longevity for the lower-level attorneys.  The law business also is important for the public at large and for the community as a means to peacefully resolve disputes – people need access to legal representation, and litigation and court costs that they can afford, the lawsuit process needs to be fair and sufficiently time efficient, people need to feel like they had their appropriate opportunity and day in court, and lawyers should be able to earn a reasonable living.

You might also be aware that the US News law school rankings came out recently.  Yes, the rankings are flawed, as are some law school admission processes, but the rankings exist nevertheless. And, the rankings are relevant because some, or many, or most law school applicants decide to go to the “best” law school that they can get into, and they might consider those rankings as part of the decision process.  Perhaps the legal profession should come up with a better ranking system, one that is based on important available verifiable information, to compete with the US News ranking, if the legal profession could agree on better ranking criteria.  This year, and I believe without prior notice, US News changed some of its important ranking criteria.  The result for individual schools was either beneficial, detrimental, or no significant ranking change.  But it would have been wrong for US News to make the significant criteria change without sufficient prior notice.  And, somewhere there should be a critical, public review and evaluation of the criteria that US News uses – including the good, bad, and unknown or unclear.

Here is a link to an interesting PowerPoint about the changing state of the law business (I don’t know why there are blank or black pager, but it doesn’t really matter as you will get the point anyway).  It is my experience that the PowerPoint primarily would apply to large cases such as cases that involve a large volume of documents, or many depositions, or other voluminous evidence, and these are issues that the courts are also still considering for discovery and trial presentation purposes.  Click Here For PowerPoint.

More to follow on these topics.

Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco)