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Talent quicksand: Why law firms should provide new career paths

Is the traditional career model for lawyers dead? Rachel Brushfield and Mitch Kowalski explore why law firms need to break away from linear career paths

13 November 2013

The traditional career model for lawyers in law firms is clear, straightforward, well established and relatively easy to operate. However, it’s also exceptionally myopic, focusing primarily upon fee-earning ability and rainmaking, resulting in a non-diverse and inclusive view of talent. It ignores valuable contributions to the firm’s long-term sustainable success by lawyers who have other talents and may not be interested in joining the partnership.

The conflicting agendas of partners at different levels of seniority creates divisive decision making that is not always beneficial to the health and agility of the firm in challenging and uncertain markets. Millennials do not want to wait at the foothills of the pyramid hierarchy to be involved in decision making; forcing them to do so also inhibits and stifles much-needed entrepreneurial oxygen for change.

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