Declaring 2022 as The Year of BD Coaching for Lawyers

The last two years have been many things: stressful, frustrating, exhausting, and at times eye-opening. It’s important to acknowledge we have lived through a tumultuous time and the way we conduct our business will not be the same as before. This is why I declare 2022 as The Year of BD Coaching for Lawyers.

When the pandemic first hit in 2020, law firms of all shapes and sizes went into super action reaction mode. Firms’ entire teams, from the receptionist to the managing partner were setting up offices at their dining tables, dealing with slow internet speeds and children photo-bombing online meetings. As chaotic as it may have been in the beginning, working from home, attending client meetings online, and even attending court online, became the new order. These experiences have profoundly changed the way lawyers and law firms conduct business.

It would be a lost opportunity to pretend the last two years haven’t changed us. If 2020 was about reactivity, then 2022 should be about proactivity. As the new year takes shape, many lawyers are re-evaluating why, how, and where they work.

The Great Resignation is really a Great Re-evaluation. What people are resigning from is a culture of burnout and a broken definition of success. In quitting their jobs, people are affirming their longing for a different way of working and living.

(Arianna Huffington, 12 January 2022 – Twitter)

I believe the sentiment of Arianna’s quote is about a re-evaluation of values and motivation and moreover how they align with why, how, and where we work.  I’ve coached hundreds of lawyers over the years, and I’ve not met any who consciously choose to burn out. In many firms, success is predicated on the expectation that junior lawyers will churn and burn their way up the ladder. Overloaded with case work lawyers don’t stop long enough to consider their definition of success until extrinsic forces compel them to do so. Hello, global pandemic!

2022, The Year of BD Coaching for Lawyers, is an opportunity for curious minds, drawn to re-evaluate their definition of success, to proactively make it a reality. Lawyers’ pre-pandemic perception of success has evolved and with it is the need for law firms to support lawyers with re-baselining what success looks like in our new world. By doing so, law firms provide the appropriate support to employees and mitigate the risk of increased attrition[1]. How? An experienced, qualified BD coach will help to illuminate patterns of belief as well as the behaviours that might need strengthening or perhaps dropping altogether. A ‘re-evaluation guide’ if you will.

As lawyers re-evaluate how their values and motivations align with the way they work, leaders of the firms they serve must be receptive to listening, and to listen with the aim of understanding what has changed and how change is impacting their people. Doing so is a proactive exercise in talent retention.

Engaging a BD Coach is the first proactive step towards recalibrating your success and this is why I declare 2022 as The Year of BD Coaching for Lawyers.

[1] Most young lawyers to leave firm or industry in next five years, Hannah Wootton / AFR, 3 February 2022