Surround Yourself with Good People

Kathy Fortin
Sept 27, 2016

At a recent luncheon I attended, Princeton Women’s Basketball Coach, Courtney Banghart, was the guest speaker. The topic she spoke on was leadership. Courtney set basketball records as a player at Dartmouth, went on to become Assistant Coach there and is now Head Coach at Princeton, where she has an award winning team. Fortune Magazine named her one of 50 Greatest Leaders, recognizing her for taking a mediocre team and making it great.

The lesson Courtney learned is that you cannot achieve success all alone. Surrounding yourself with good people is essential. From classmates, teammates and colleagues, the people around you help you become better at what you do and help you achieve the goals you set.

Courtney’s principle is applicable to the law firm environment. In our consulting work with small and mid-sized law firms we address issues of efficiency and profitability, which are dependent on the people working in the firm. When the associates, paralegals and other staff are qualified, skilled and working as a team, the firm is already on the road to success. In firms where the individuals are not right for the position or do not have the right skill set or are not team players, the level of success the firm strives for is likely to fall short. The Partners have not surrounded themselves with the right people to achieve the desired success.

Often times, we see that law firms hire less qualified employees. Sooner or later, the firm realizes they made a mistake. Some of these mistakes may last for many years, having an adverse impact on the firm’s success. It is understandable how challenging it can be to find the right employees. Often the errors are made out of erroneous notions to save money or misguided intentions to provide on-the-job training. If a firm owner can remember the message from Courtney – Surround yourself with the best people, from the beginning, they will reap the rewards they seek.