Hiring and Developing Engaged Associates

Over the past few weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed presenting to partners in Atlanta, Houston, Chicago and New York. They have been very receptive to the Strategies for Investing in and Engaging Associates program I shared with them.  

Many firms have been struggling with associate engagement, and this training offers practical takeaways, such as a framework for building trusted relationships and a checklist to use when giving assignments.  

During each training, questions came up about giving feedback. To be honest, I was surprised how often I heard partners say that associates often become defensive when receiving feedback.  

How can an associate grow into the best possible attorney if they don’t get and learn from constructive feedback?  

When training partners, I equip them specific steps for sharing feedback, such as:  

  • Providing specific examples to illustrate your point  
  • Focusing on what the associate can do better in the future 

But how can you make sure to hire legal talent that is open to feedback in the first place?  

I recommend using the interview process to vet attorneys who have a growth mindset and can provide examples of how they have sought out feedback from prior supervisors. 

Building and cultivating a firm with great legal talent requires training your attorneys to interview for traits like grit and a growth mindset, as well as teaching them how to invest in associates’ growth.  

I welcome your thoughts on these challenges and best solutions!  

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