Competency Development

For more than a decade, Shannon & Manch consultants have been on the leading edge of the competency-based performance management movement in law firms.

Building a High Performance Culture

A competency model is an invaluable tool for law firms seeking to improve their talent management programs and motivate associates. A competency based approach to performance management can be used to optimize lawyer development and build a firm-wide high performance culture. Trends show us more firms are moving to this model because it works.
What are Competency-Based Performance Models?

Competency-based performance management models in law firms include:
Core competencies that represent the factors critical to success in the firm with performance criteria that define behavioral objectives.
Practice-specific benchmarks or practice milestones that describe the activities and experiences associates should be accumulating.
A recruiting process designed to hire individuals most likely to demonstrate the firm’s core competencies and succeed at the firm.
Performance assessments that measure progress on the development of the competencies and readiness to move to the next level.
Training and professional development supports that build skill sets related to competence.
An advancement process that rewards mastery of the core competencies.
Competency-Based Approach Advantages

Competency-based approaches differ from traditional law firm performance management practices in that they offer explicit definitions of performance criteria, describing “competence” or mastery for a core group of skills, behaviors, and personal qualities that are deemed necessary for success. While every firm is different, reported and observed advantages of the successful implementation of a competency-based approach to performance management include:

Firms can identify a core set of performance factors critical to success and further refine those by practice areas.
Associates and supervising lawyers have explicit definitions of what is expected.
Defined expectations allow the Firm to target work assignment practices and training/developmental supports in ways likely to result in the development of the skill sets outlined within them.
Benchmarks provide associates with tools to set developmental goals.
Associates and supervisors can map progress using the competency definitions and benchmarks.
Those charged with making advancement decisions have an additional tool to assess the extent to which lawyers have achieved a level of mastery required for promotion.
Our highly trained consultants offer expertise in assessing firm readiness for a move to a competency model, assistance in designing the appropriate performance framework, and support in integrating the model with other lawyer development processes in the firm such as assignment coordination, evaluations, and mentoring.

For more information, please contact us.