The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
April 22, 2011

Coming Soon! Talent Management for Law Firm Pro Bono

Just in time for our spring reading list, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project is set to release a new toolkit offering guidance and tips for using pro bono opportunities as part of any core competency and performance evaluation system.

In the aftermath of the economic downturn, numerous large law firms have reevaluated their attorney management strategies.  Many of the nation’s largest and most prominent firms have announced that they transitioned away from the “lockstep” model and turned to one focused on core competencies.  Associates are now required to master certain delineated skills in order to advance in salary, billing rate, and seniority.  The hands-on experience pro bono work provides is especially invaluable to this evolving model.  Developmental pro bono assignments, or targeting pro bono work to develop skills, are particularly effective ways for attorneys to develop and demonstrate many of the “hard” and “soft” skills outlined in any core competency model.  Experience has shown that the kinds of matters that an attorney works on today may be very different from those one works on five or ten years from now, and pro bono can offer opportunities to acquire skills that complement the mix and volume of commercial work at the firm at any given time.  Strategic linking of pro bono assignments with professional development opportunities and thoughtful performance evaluations offers tremendous value both to law firm pro bono supporters and professional development leadership.

This publication, available free of charge to Member Law Firms, will be a valuable resource for law firm partners and professional development staff, including training, assignment, and evaluations committees, who should be mindful of how they can utilize developmental pro bono opportunities to boost their implementation of core competencies and performance evaluations in a cost-effective manner.  Likewise, the publication has been designed as a resource for pro bono responsible staff, who should be aligning their outreach and intake efforts to build core competencies, and satisfy attorney development goals.  The successful integration of pro bono and professional development can serve the dual good of assisting indigent clients and promoting access to justice while fostering the growth and training of firm attorneys.

How does your firm use pro bono to develop attorneys’ skills?  Has your firm mapped competencies and skills specific to pro bono matters?  Send us any material you’ve developed and/or leave us a comment below.

Do you want access to this exciting resource? Learn more about how you can become a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project.

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