Herbert Smith Freehills is one of the latest firms to create and deliver an advanced legal operations training program for its lawyers. On the surface, it may seem these types of programs are designed to help their lawyers deliver better outcomes to customers (everything must tie back to customers, revenue, and profit, right?!). Still, I’ve come to learn that these programs serve something way more important – improving morale and happiness for lawyers.

How? Well, we’ve all seen the viral 2019 Juro survey that identified greater than 60% of lawyers surveyed responded that their biggest challenge was being ‘buried in low-value work.’  Further and more recently, the 2021 EY Law Survey revealed 75% of GCs are having difficulty handling current workloads and that workload is projected to increase by 25% during the next three years.    

Lawyers are finding themselves in precarious situations involving their time. The formula for ensuring lawyer time is spent only on the most valuable activities is getting harder to solve, or is it?

Training lawyers ‘how to operationally fish,’ even at a basic level, delivers lawyers a basic ninja skill set that isn’t taught in law school, and worse, unintentionally fanned in law firms by the billable hour model. Training on efficiency teaches them how to spend their most valuable currency – their time.

At Elevate, we built legal operations and efficiency training into our core development program and provided full access to our associates. Without it, our lawyers and legal professionals would feel exposed to a world where most, if not all, of the conversations revolve around improving cost, quality, or efficiency within the practice of law.  We see connections between those who take the training and those who feel more confident and in control of their roles.

Training is good, but don’t mistake it for the end game. Training is a tease for the actual outcome (once trained, your lawyers know and feel the possibility of what could be but can’t fully achieve it alone). That’s why we need to complement our high-achieving lawyers with the right team to get the job done. Our friend Mark Cohen superbly nails this concept in his recent Forbes article, Law Is a Team Sport In The Digital Age.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are interesting stats on how training, as a first step, improves employee retention and morale. We have to assume this applies to our legal brethren as well.  

Kudos to all of the law companies and firms who are proactively arming their lawyers with the gift of more time and happiness, ahem, I mean legal operations training…