Pivotal Talent Pools and Role Challenges Davis & Young provides a wide array of litigation support products and services. Its core business is tied to the insurance defense industry. The primary customer base includes regional and national insurance companies. The key strategic elements that the Firm uses for differentiation are superior customer service, high product quality, and a solid reputation (brand). I can only assume you have revamped your Deliverable 1 to support this part. I am a bit concerned that you have yet to get a handle on strategy ececution.
They are owned by 13 practicing Senior Attorneys, all responsible for maintaining a full trial docket. Various subsets of this group provide strategic leadership, handle or lead large accounts, and act as management for the Firm. A large percentage of the daily work load falls to the eight Associate Attorneys. These Junior Attorneys cost less than the Senior Attorneys and are relied upon to provide a wide range of deliverables such as legal research, brief writing, and daily interaction with the clients (customers) with minimal supervision.
Other administrative duties are handled by the support teams.
This talent pool consists primarily of Legal Assistants, Paralegals, Office Administration and Accounting. From a value chain perspective, Let’s break this down to the components of the value chain primary and support activities. It is likely that with the size of the firm that each position will serve multiple roles. The Value Chain helps us to find the pivotal Talent pools. the Owners, Associate Attorneys, Office Manager, Paralegals, and Legal Assistants would primarily be classified as Operations.
They are running the operation and creating the “product” on a daily basis.
However, in small organizations such as this, parts of the team will multitask into other value chain components. For instance, the Owners will manage sales and marketing by continuous client maintenance, as well as searching out new clients and landing new accounts. The Office Administrator and Office Manager do an excellent job of handling the HR function. Technology is a support function that is wholly outsourced. Three talent pools are readily identified as critical to the strategy (service, quality, reputation); the Owners, the Associate Attorneys, and Support Staff.
The question to be answered in identifying which of these three is most pivotal is as follows: “for a given investment in either training of or recruiting in the talent pool could be any component of the HCA but you are getting ahead of yourself. , which would yield the largest improvements in the strategic elements? ” Figure 1 illustrates the findings. Figure [ 1 ] The Owners are all senior, experienced Attorneys. They have demonstrated the ability to be effective at building relationships with the clients, delivering quality product, and protecting the brand.
As such, the performance versus strategic value curve is fairly flat (once you get to the acceptable threshold). The Associate Attorneys vary in experience. There are junior Attorneys here that can show significant improvement through hands-on training programs (internal), continuing legal education (outside training programs), and active mentoring. Also, consider that these Associate Attorneys are responsible for a significant percentage of the work and client interactions. This is where the product quality and service elements are visibly manifested. Consequently, an investment in this pool has a significant payback.
This can be illustrated by the higher slope on the yield curve. The support function includes a wide range of specific positions but most of them have a much higher level of supervision, less interaction with the customer, and their final work is screened by one of the attorney groups. As such their yield curve is dampened. There is still significant potential, but it is much less than that of the Associate Attorneys. This analysis identifies the Associate Attorneys as the Pivotal Talent Pool. The positions within this pool are fairly standard so the pivotal position is that of “Associate Attorney. Would the performance of the firm as defined in the strategy execution and support of competitive advantage improve if a 20% increase in quant or qual? The Associate Attorneys are pivotal due to their significant amount of customer contact and their room for growth. To identify the pivotal role challenges, we must identify the strategic deliverables for the position. For superior service, we have identified a number of elements including: responsiveness to client demands; developing personal relationships; positive attitude; and dependability (delivering on commitments).
Are these critical outcomes to support strategy execution? Do you have these from Del #1? The Associate Attorneys work with the clients on a daily basis. This is a pivotal role challenge. How does this interaction go? Are the associates attentive and positive? Do they connect with the client on a personal basis such that they build durable relationships? Are they participating in social events designed to strengthen and build these relationships? Demonstrating these behaviors will be critical.
The associate Attorneys can be developed and trained and certain metrics can be used for elements like responsiveness. Others such as relationship building and positive attitude will require work in recruiting the right people and assimilating the existing culture. Customer feedback mechanisms should also be developed and maintained. Some customers already provide individual and firm-wide “report cards. ” In addition to the pivotal role challenge as it relates to customer interaction, another pivotal challenge exists with respect to Associate Attorney interaction within the legal community at large.
It is the development of these relationships that ultimately serve as the underpinnings of the relationship between the Firm and its primary customers. This is also critical in maintaining the reputation of the Firm. Within this component, relationships with judges, court personnel, opposing attorneys, and competitors are critical. Metrics can be developed to monitor the Associate Attorneys’ development with respect to these other peer groups (by speaking with the judge, opposing counsel, other attorneys involved in a particular case during the course of or at the conclusion of a particular case. Most of these other peer groups are willing to share specific information concerning attorney development and this information can be analyzed to determine whether it conforms with existing reputation standards and Firm specific cultural norms.
Product quality deliverables have some tangible elements that can be measured. Standards can be developed for brief writing and other report deliverables. Mediation, arbitration and trial protocols can be developed to set a standard. In summary, the Associate Attorney is identified as the pivotal position. Pivot Role Challenges center around; customer interactions in support of the Service and Reputation strategic elements, the interaction within the general legal community in support of the Reputation, and the state of the final product in support of the Product Quality strategic element.