In the era of the global law firm comes (wisely, in our view) the introduction of the position of Global Chief People Officer into law firm senior management . Reed Smith announced last week that its creation of the position underscores the increasing importance the firm places on running itself as a business.
"You see more of this in global companies," said Gary Sokulski, Reed Smith’s chief operating officer. "Since we’re a people business, it’s only natural to have someone who focuses on the people aspect. It’s similar to a human resources officer, but focused more on employee concerns such as work-life balance, better managing and evaluating talent, and creating higher-level training programs."
Since 2001, Reed Smith has consolidated with firms from around the world, including in New York, California, Chicago, London, Abu Dhabi, Greece, Dubai, Paris, Hong Kong and Beijing, increasing in size from 600 attorneys based in the U.S. to more than 1,500 worldwide. Meeting the challenges of that much lateral integration alone would merit a full-time professional.
DLA Piper, with more than 3,600 lawyers over 64 offices in 25 countries, and arguably (depending on which moment you’re counting) the second largest law firm in the world, has had a Global Chief People Officer for several years, Robert Halton, headquartered in London.
"Unlike other organizations, the cliche of people being the best asset is completely true in law firms. We don’t have any machinery or stores, so it’s the people providing the competitive edge in the market. Getting the right people is crucial to the success of a law firm, and keeping that pipeline of talent flowing is also crucial," Halton says.
Small and mid-size firms face equally critical people issues as do the new behemoths, but for them, adding a dedicated full-time professional to firm overhead in order to address those issues often is unrealistic.
We at RRR offer an Outside/Inside Consulting arrangement whereby we will spend a designated number of days per week or month as your Chief People Officer. Our experience brings efficient expertise to your people concerns in an affordable format.
Make way for a Global Chief People Officer at your firm, whatever the size.