Leadership development for an international law firm

Rationale for the Programme

This legal firm was in the throes of massive change, in virtually every aspect. Particularly where the large city firms are concerned, the challenge is provided by:

  • The need to secure global reach.
  • The arrival of major international competition, whose offer is attracting the best people away from the British firms - both clients and employees.

Our client is proud of its "Blue Chip" reputation. Increasingly, their assignments are international, requiring a degree of co-operation between offices and individuals who come from dissimilar backgrounds and cultural traditions. As a result, the firm needs to review constantly how best to attract and retain top professional talent. Internally, many management structures and practices have needed to be rearranged with senior people sometimes being asked to occupy internal roles for which they do not always feel fully prepared or trained.

Structure of the Programme

Nicholson McBride worked with the senior management team, under the sponsorship of the Managing Director and the firm's HR Director, who recognised that the firm needed to augment professional ability with real leadership skills.  The basis of our work was to help these very experienced Partners acquire the confidence and competence to lead their teams into a new future, and face up to the challenge of changing the habits of a working lifetime.  Work carried out in this context included:

Collecting 360 feedback on Partners across a range of divisions.

Partner development through a range of different interventions, including:

  • One-to-one Executive Coaching with Partners and senior managers.
  • Tailored Master Classes for Partners and senior managers based on areas for development identified in the feedback and Coaching sessions, including:  New Business Development, Project Management, Conducting Appraisals, Building Client Relationships and Team Building.

Alongside this work, we have encouraged the Partners to refine their selection and induction processes, and to find ways to re-vitalise those who are five years into full Partnership - i.e. beyond the point at which they would traditionally be receiving advice on personal development.

A number of observed shifts in behaviour were identified over time in the following areas:

1) Personal Effectiveness.  2) Engagement of People.  3) Professional Expertise (Client Care, Marketing and Business Development).  4) Leadership Behaviours.

The success of our UK work has led to us being asked to roll it out to the firm's European offices.

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