Archive for May 2010

May 31st, 2010 | Author: Scott Love  | No Comments »

What are the danger signs and early indicators of a difficult partner?

According to Joel Rose, management consultant to law firms, the following are the early warning signs of someone who could possibly cause heartburn and heartache in the office:

• Works too few hours, rendering time spent on clients as unproductive.

• Does not produce adequate revenue, although a hard worker.

• Hoards work due to inability or unwillingness to delegate.

• Readily assigns work, but does not follow-up or provide direction to other attorneys or staff.

• Holds the firm hostage by threatening to leave if things aren’t done “my way.”

• Accepts work that does not generate adequate revenue.

• Has experienced a reduction in, or elimination of, work due to external causes, i.e., loss of client due to merger or acquisition, deregulation, higher interest rates, etc.

• Devotes a disproportionate amount of time to pro bono, bar association, or personal business activities.

• Displays an unwillingness to communicate with other partners on business or substantive matters.

• Will not trust other partners to handle client work.

• Shows an unwillingness to permit others to handle matters in a different fashion.

• Was admitted to partnership and is unable to perform at the partner level.

• Lives beyond personal means and the economics of the office.

• Defends feelings of insecurity by taking every comment and criticism as a personal affront.

• Undervalues work performed and repeatedly discounts or writes-down fees and costs of services.

• Exhibits an excessive fear of losing clients, consequently committing the office to unrealistic timetables, deadlines, or fee estimates.

• Possesses unrealistic economic objectives for the office and for him- or herself.

• Does not recognize personal shortcomings.

• Lacks the ability to adjust to working with others.

• Is a senior member of the office with significantly higher earnings, but less than desired contribution to office profits.

• “Over-lawyers” client work due to lack of adequate volume.

• Manipulates the system by recording substantial fee-producing or billable hours, and then writes off many of these hours prior to billing the client.

• Simply does not work hard enough.

• Will not “cross-sell” or refer work to others within the office.

• With misapplied frugality, will not approve the expenditure of funds for essential items or services.

• Refuses to train associates and younger partners, or communicate with these attorneys, on client matters.

• Exhibits overly aggressive behavior and tends to “turn-off” other partners and clients.

• Lacks a sufficient commitment to the office’s objectives.

• Will not serve as a team member.

• Lacks professionalism within, and outside of, the office thereby damaging the office’s image and reputation.

• Will not share authority or control with others.

• Will not participate in office-approved activities, i.e., practice development, etc.

Rose gives several common sense solutions that firms of any size can implement to resolve the issue or to at least minimize the external damaged caused by a problem partner.  To read Rose’s full article, click this link: .  His website is