Firm sends senior lawyers to Harvard

An Australian law firm is planning for national and international growth by sending its senior lawyers to Harvard Business School

How can a small firm plan for national and international growth? Joydeep Hor of People + Culture Strategies reckons the trick is to invest in your people.

He has announced that the firm will be sending senior lawyers, from senior associates to directors, to Harvard Business School to take part in a prestigious programme.

“We have plans to grow quite significantly over the next four to five years…in order for that to happen we need to have a very solid leadership group and in addition to being outstanding legal practitioners, which they already are, I’m very keen on them developing and consolidating leadership skills and developing a broader business and commercial acumen,” he tells Australasian Lawyer TV.

“One of the challenges for law firms is they invest in the legal skills development of their team but not so much the commercial or leadership development.”

Hor says that being a smaller firm lends itself well to investing in work opportunities, access to clients and career opportunities.

The idea came to him after attending the first part of an owner president management programme at Harvard, which is done over the course of three years, with one three-week instalment each year.

“I’ve come back from the first unit of that and been inspired to allow those learning opportunities by my team, so a decision has been made that all senior members of our team - senior associates and directors who have been with our firm for at least 2 years - will have the opportunity to participate in a residential leadership programme at Harvard Business School,” Hor says.

The cost will be entirely funded by the firm, and will only be required to be repaid if the senior lawyer leaves within the next few years following.

The first lawyer is due to leave for Harvard in October, he says.

“Unsurprisingly everyone is hugely excited by the opportunity. No one has been able to point to another firm in Australia who sends all of their senior team to Harvard. We’re first starters in that particular space.

There’s no doubt it’s going to cost the firm a fair amount of money, and that’s not something that’s lost on the individuals who are going to go.”

In addition to sending its staff to Harvard, People + Culture Strategies have a structured training programme internally which is focused on both legal skills development and all-rounder commercial and sales skills.

“The whole team is just seeing this as a huge investment in them and they’re looking to learn a lot from it and pay back the opportunity in due course through what the skills are that they’ll acquire,” Hor says.

Watch Australasian Lawyer’s interview with Hor about the innovative staff investment concept by clicking here.

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