The importance of candid conversations

July 19, 2017

One of the common laments I hear, as a legal recruitment consultant, from partners following the departure of a star associate is, “if they had only talked to me about this first, we could have fixed this/explained the opportunity before them/addressed the issues they purportedly left the firm over.” The challenge (as we often end up discussing) is the power imbalance between the parties, and the reluctance of associates to initiate these conversations in light of the imbalance. It highlights the importance of having a candid, regular conversation around these topics and it helps both build trust and facilitate these discussions which are critical to the long-term health of your organization.

While it would be ideal if associates could easily and regularly come to a partner to discuss the stresses, frustrations, and challenges they face in their current role – the reality is, such conversations require a deep level of trust by both parties in order to properly delve into these topics.

Candidly, a good measure of where the trust levels are at in your group is whether your associates are coming to you to chat about these broader issues of their own accord. If they aren’t, perhaps this is an opportunity to check in and see how they are doing generally.

It’s never too late to start. It could be the difference between keeping your star associate and having your competition scoop them up. Legal placement agencies all too often see the fall out of a lack of these meaningful candid conversations. Consider speaking to a specialist in legal professionals’ recruitment for advice if you are interested in addressing these issues with your associates but aren’t sure where to start.

Warren Smith, Managing Partner