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Creating a Culture of Learning

Law Firm Case Study

The Challenge

A Top 10 Global Law Firm wanted to hone the communication skills of its associates, while respecting the significant demands on their attorneys' time. The firm also wanted to ensure that learning and professional growth would become part of the firm’s culture, rather than just an occasional "training event."

The Solution

The firm adopted a comprehensive "curriculum" for junior, mid-level and senior associates that included a variety of core communication skills. They turned to their professional skills partner, Exec-Comm, to develop the following curriculum and deliver the communication training and one-on-one coaching:

  • 1st Year Associates focus on outlining their thinking which transfers to clear and concise communication skills. They learn how to prepare for a conversation and practice their presentation skills through role playing exercises.
  • 3rd Year Associates participate in a half-day class on developing client relationships. The class, for about 20 people, includes exercises and practical application of the skills. Reminder e-mails sent at regular intervals after the class keep the skills “top of mind” for the attorneys.
  • 4th and 5th Year Associates benefit from one-hour coaching sessions covering the skills learned in the class the prior year. During the coaching sessions, the associates are recorded in mock client meetings. Viewing themselves on camera heightens the experience and allows the associate to put into practice the skills covered in the group session.
  • 6th Year Associates hone their formal presentation skills in a group program to prepare them for sharing information in high-impact client settings, such as board meetings and industry conferences. Additional customized reminder e-mails keep the associates conscious of applying the skills.
  • 7th & 8th Year Associates experience personalized one-hour coaching sessions that reinforce the skills. The video recordings of these sessions, when added to the earlier recordings, provide the associates with a continuum of their development as communicators.

The Results

The combination of the group classes, individual coaching sessions and reminder emails offers 12 touch points for the associates to build awareness and enhance their impact regarding their communication skills. The firm established a culture of learning, and the varied modes of delivery keep the skills fresh and provide different avenues for different types of learners to develop their talent.

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