During this recording of the webinar, you will learn from BarkerGilmore’s panel of experienced Senior Advisors and Managing Partner how to develop and execute an effective succession plan for the legal department. Click here to access the WEBINAR RECORDING and download the SLIDES.
There were a few questions we didn’t have time to address in the webinar, which we have responded to below.
- I would like to succeed our GC (who is 60) but we do not have a formal succession plan. I attend board meetings and the GC has delegated most of the board presentation responsibilities to me, which is encouraging. In the absence of a formal plan, are there other signs I should be looking for that I am in line to succeed our GC?
As we discussed on our webinar, some positive signs include being given stretch assignments and new challenges, particularly those that expose you to senior leadership and the board — like your board presentation responsibilities. At the same time, I’m in the camp that candid conversations with your GC about future prospects are perfectly fine, particularly when part of a regular review process. Depending upon your experience, it is also a time to talk about opportunities to build new skill sets and future projects to increase your exposure.
- How have you handled demands of the business when giving stretch assignments outside of an attorney’s experience to foster their growth? Is the leadership tolerant of either the extra cost (in needing to use more outside counsel with the expertise on that assignment) or in being patient with the attorney who is not as familiar with their new area?
The GC needs to ensure the consistent delivery of timely and efficient legal services while those stretch assignments are underway. Frequent check-ins with the counsel involved — as well as the customer of those services — are among the best means to do so. The customer check-ins are also an opportunity to get real time feedback about your counsel's performance, identifying improvement opportunities along the way.
- What steps can you take to try and retain the candidates who are not selected for the GC role?
There may be opportunities to give the lawyer a promotion, with expanded responsibilities, in the legal department (for example, making someone the head lawyer for a practice area or a business or geographic market, if your company has several business lines and markets, or giving the lawyer more people or areas to manage). If you give the lawyer who has not been selected expanded responsibilities, with a promotion, an increase in compensation may help to retain the lawyer.