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The Warsaw Voice » Law » August 13, 2008
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Coaching in Private Law Firms
August 13, 2008   
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Until recently law firms placed the most emphasis on the professional development and training of lawyers. However, today a wide range of advisory and training programs are being introduced in the field of so-called soft skills. A number of law firms use coaches to help lawyers extend their skills. Coaching brings permanent benefits in both personal and professional development. The main aim of coaching is to assist the client in defining and reaching their goals. The next step is to provide the methods and tools that will assist in further personal development.

Coaching is most often used by principals and local and national partners, as well as senior associates in law firms. Lawyers in such senior positions have long stopped being exclusively legal specialists. They have become mangers responsible for a dozen or more staff. One of the main objectives of coaching in law firms can also be teaching coaching skills to lawyers in management positions, so that they can then coach their own team.

Coaching in law firms usually covers issues that are typical for management-level positions in other companies. It strengthens areas such as strategic thinking and business development, through to all aspects associated with taking up or planning to take up a management position, including managing a team, coordinating projects at many levels, time management, decision-making, as well as support for top management in achieving a balance between private and professional life. The main advantages of coaching are its speed and achievement of permanent change, which is every client's objective.

Coaching for lawyers above all involves supporting them in being able to combine their duties as a manager with their work as a lawyer. On the one hand, the additional managerial duties that appear as a lawyer's career develops (a team of younger lawyers, individual management of large projects, increased responsibility for business development, working to enhance the firm's reputation on the market and so on), and on the other hand the constant need to improve legal expertise in a highly specialized field-that is quite a task.

The type of support provided to lawyers (training, mentoring, coaching or other) should be jointly decided by management, the HR division and the client himself.

Irena Iwasiewicz, Coach ICC
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