CLIENT STORIES

Reigniting their identity.

Reigniting their identity.
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Freeborn & Peters, a 120-attorney law firm in a major metropolitan city, asked us to help them reignite their organization. The founders of this law firm came to FS/A to ask for help getting back to being the firm they were when they started some 28 years earlier. Their fear was they had become the very firm they had previously left in order to start their own. They had lost their identity, and what they stood for was not clear. FS/A undertook the effort to understand what it was that made the firm so very special in its early years, and to understand what had changed. A combination of founders and new leadership team members were assembled to guide the process.

Representatives from all aspects of the firm were interviewed, data was collected and a full-day retreat was held to determine what the firm wanted to stand for as it moved forward. There was a richness in the stories that made this firm special and different. After much storytelling and discussion of what enabled “at our best” performance, new standards were established for all in the firm.

“We now know what we look like when we’re at our best. FS/A helped us understand when we are honoring who we are meant to be, and when we are not.”
Law firms often are assemblages of independent contractors operating under one roof. This firm wanted something different; they wanted to represent a formidable force as a united team of competent attorneys committed to serving each other and the clients. Once the standards had been established, they created five committees responsible for different aspects of how the firm reviewed, communicated, rewarded, hired and trained their team to be at its best at all times. Their ownership of all aspects of this clarified identity was exemplary.

Changes were felt right away. Of particular note, the staff that supported the attorneys were most appreciative of the new respect demonstrated to them. There were challenges. Some people chose to leave – some attorneys and some staff – but the firm was on its way to honoring what they look like when at their best more consistently.

Several years later, the value of the clarified identity came to bear in a most exemplary manner. At an equity partners meeting, one of the high producing equity members was voted out of the firm by the other equity members for violating standards that applied to all in the firm. Once again, life got better, and they continue their journeys in a more professional and successful manner, with discipline.

 
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