What Is the Value of Cooperation Within a Law Firm?
When many people think of attorneys, they conjure up an image of a well-dressed man or woman confidently arguing a case in front of a judge or jury in a wood-paneled courtroom. While we know the reality of the profession is quite different most of the time (what small percentage of the average day is truly spent in a courtroom?), movies and TV shows have created this dramatic impression in the public consciousness.
This is also a solitary image. It’s one person, often on a crusade, flying solo like a hotshot fighter pilot. Most people think of lawyers as singular entities operating on their own. While that may be the case in some instances, and hyper-competitive environments like law school may foster a survival-of-the-fittest mentality, there is increasing value for attorneys and firms that are willing and able to cooperate in order to foster an environment where team members work together for a greater good.
The benefits of working together
Despite common misconceptions, the vast majority of cases don’t go to trial. Some kind of accord is usually worked out ahead of time. Often the two sides come together to compromise, to work towards a single end that is beneficial to both parties — or at least as good as can be hoped for, depending on the circumstances.
When this sort of collaborative effort bleeds into the daily practice at a law firm, it can have beneficial results. There is such a wide breadth of subjects and topics when it comes to the law that attorneys increasingly tend to focus on one specific area. At times, this focus can be incredibly minute and exact, leaving potential gaps in knowledge and expertise.
If, across a firm, the lawyers can turn to colleagues with experience and proficiency in certain areas, gathering advice and insight, such a talent pool is advantageous to individual cases. This type of alliance can provide an edge and help everyone work more efficiently in high-pressure situations.
Such a multidisciplinary approach broadens the scope of the cases a firm can handle, and there are clear potential financial and professional benefits. The more work firms can take, the higher the volume of clients they can see, and the more people they can help. Attracting high-value patrons raises a firm’s profile, brings in more business, and profits, status, and workflow may increase accordingly.
Get your whole firm on board
Cooperation doesn’t end on the legal side of the equation, either. While attorneys may be proficient in matters of the law, there is more going on in a firm than just the cases. As technology becomes increasingly important in our daily world, tech players form vital pieces of the puzzle. Members of marketing departments, HR personnel, accountants, and other non-lawyers are vital in maintaining and supporting the day-to-day running and operation of the practice. All of these gears working together, lawyers and non-lawyers alike, leads to a smooth, efficient company.
In a marketplace where the complexity and specificity of cases continues to increase, the need for attorneys to collaborate and work together across a firm grows as well. Just having a talented team full of top-tier professionals may no longer be enough. All of these individuals need to bring their unique knowledge bases and skill sets together to complement and augment one another.
A cooperative approach will better serve clients, addressing their needs more completely, driving business forward, and leading to unique, innovative solutions to pressing problems and legal issues. Sharing individual knowledge and expertise helps a firm truly become more than just a collection of distinct parties and to develop into something greater than the sum of its parts.