Grinders and Drones

There is an interesting conversation taking place between Neil Witmer (via Larry Bodine’s blog) and Gerry Riskin about the ability of legal “grinders and drones” to become rainmakers.

A question that seems a bit lost in the discussion is just how do big-firm lawyers become grinders or drones?  With the tremendous number of billable hours big firms require, might the firms be responsible for their own plight — by turning otherwise social, interesting young lawyers into grinders and drones to get those billable hours in?  I do know this, big firms aren’t complaining when a second year associate ignores his/her family, forgoes a social life, and loses touch with former classmates while clocking 2,417 billables.

If the firms spent more time nurturing the skills that help young lawyers become rainmakers, instead of letting those skills atrophy, perhaps there would be a bunch more rainmaking partners.

UPDATE:  Check out the Greatest American Lawyer’s Post on the same topic.  As usual, he says it better than I did.

One Response to Grinders and Drones
  1. Patrick Lamb
    December 13, 2005 | 1:35 pm

    You know the old maxium–you reap what you sow? Holds true in law firms too. Firms reward what makes them money in the short term–hours. Then they look to “trim” non-productive partners. Its a terrible business model.

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