Ever read the bonus newsletters and feel like there was something missing? Sure, it feels nice to be rewarded for billables and all, but work is more than grinding out hours — what about the social component? And no, I don’t mean a thank you card and a thumbs up in the (virtual) hallway. I mean money! Thankfully, a couple of firms have gotten that message and are compensating their talent accordingly. From Law.com:
Law firm leaders and analysts say firms are trying harder than ever to recalibrate traditional revenue metrics beyond billable hours to emphasize collaboration and more subjective criteria. Even office attendance is being considered.
The centering on collaboration and soft skills is picking up steam. At first glance, Debevoise and Weil’s anomalous acting program for their associates may end up becoming an industrial standard! Bottom dollar aside, I would imagine that programs directed toward developing meeting coordination and civility would make the work-funded obligatory holiday parties a lot more bearable. Better teamwork could also have the effect of changing how praise gets doled out.
When it comes to traditional metrics, such as origination, law firms are also trying to better align them to incentivize teamwork. In some cases that might mean giving credit to the partner who originally brought in the work, as well as partners who supervised the work, or partners who collaborated in some other way at some point.
“A lot of firms are revisiting those revenue credits and how to recognize the different roles those partners play in generating the work, expanding the work and executing on the work. All of those roles are important—not just who might have gotten the initial calls 20 years ago,” Smith said.
I can almost hear the dudebros and… what is the female equivalent of a dudebro? As much as I’d like to be as even-handed as possible with my gender bashing, the equivalent escapes me. Anyway, you know the type — the type A personalities who’ve been biting at the bit to prove themselves, you’re up! Just be warned that showing up will likely include actually showing up. Was beautiful while it lasted, Zoom.
What has changed in the last year or so are the subjective aspects: promoting diversity, mentoring, planning partner retreats and even showing up to the office. Simmons said while the firm doesn’t require a number of days in the office, firm partners are trying to ensure there’s a “critical mass” of people who are present in each office who can help train and mentor, and that it does come up in compensation discussions.
While there is yet readily available information on how firms are implementing the financial rewards to increased socialization and mentoring, you can guarantee that when the time comes to rank firms based on their networking bonuses, we’ll be here making the list. I hope your email box is prepared.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.