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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Worker bees versus business owner?

Greatest American Lawyer has an effective post regarding the set-up of law firms and the natural roles that develop therefrom. Here's a snippet:

Making it rain takes time, energy and commitment which have nothing to do with billing hours and driving the immediate need for revenue. I would suggest that many big firms are set up to discourage large numbers of attorneys from making it rain. After all, if large law firms allowed everyone to meet potential clients for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and spend the time with those clients that is necessary in order to land their business, there would be no one back at the office billing hours. Large law firms are structured in part around the different roles that make the business go. Many (but not all) of the top rain makers of a firm simply don't spend as much time billing hours day to day. Those rain makers need the so called worker bees to bill the clients they bring through the door. The issue is not that the worker bees can't make it rain (although certainly some do not have the social skills necessary to accomplish that goal). The issue is that they are not provided the resources and tool sets, or the time, to do so. Nor are they encouraged to do so. In some instances they are effectively precluded from doing so (I should know seeing as I worked in at least two such firms).

That's one of the main items that irked me about associate life. I questioned how was being an associate attorney helping me develop into a business owner (legal or otherwise)? That and the limited opportunities for leadership were at the core of why I had to start The Olson Law Firm, LLC.


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