Top Lawyers Beat Bushes for New Work
Posted May 31, 2007 6:28 PM CST
By Martha Neil
Unlike their corporate counterparts, attorneys in senior positions often have trouble transitioning to another rewarding career role when the time comes to pass the law firm leadership baton.
"Although you have experience of running a major professional services firm for eight years, you are not viewed as someone with management experience," Guy Beringer told the Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper, after announcing last month that he would give up the top job at Allen & Overy after eight years. "You would not be offered the posts that you would be offered if you had that post in another professional services arena."
Mentoring, however, may help -- along with a less traditional view of what it means to be a lawyer, the paper reports. "The challenge is trying to get lawyers, when their co-ordinates change, to understand what that means in practice. And that can mean quite a voyage of discovery, as I found myself," says Janet Gaymer, a former senior partner at Simmons & Simmons. "Maybe the lawyers have themselves to blame a bit, because one of the problems is that lawyers don't always think about doing something other than lawyering. That's where mentoring can play a role, because it can get people to think about what might be out there as an opportunity."