Edge International


Star Watching

Star Watching

As law firms wrap up the evaluation season, much of the conversation revolves around the under-performers and what should be done to get them “up or out.”

At the same time, every firm acknowledges that they have both rising stars and established stars. What attention did they get and how will they be watched and supported in the year ahead?

In our conversations with firms that have top talent management practices, here are some of the guidelines we hear for “star watching.”

For Associates

All of these practices will keep your stars close. Think of the “star that could have been” who left your firm for in-house work or another firm. Could the firm have done a better job of making it more attractive to stay?

For Partners

Management by now is well aware of the impact of aggressive recruiting in their back yard. Rising star partners are getting regular invitations to depart with their book of business. What can you do to assure them that yours is the right galaxy for them?

Finally, rising stars are the future of your firm. Will they have significant responsibilities, status and compensation in the near future? The firm’s succession plan also sends a message. For the associate, will there be a partner opening in my practice group? For the star partner, will the senior people start stepping down in a predictable manner? Succession planning, transparent to the partnership, will help keep your stars at home.

David Cruickshank

Edge Principal advises firms on growth strategies and lateral integration programs. In addition to being a lawyer with a master’s from Harvard Law School and an LLB from the University of Western Ontario, he is a trained mediator who has taught at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law School. He frequently trains partners and associates on management skills like delegation, feedback, managing up and career development.  His interactive courses are now online.