Don’t worry, training won’t affect your billable hours

15 Aug 2019
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For law firms, billable hours are essential as they keep the firm profitable and help solicitors keep track and measure their results. However, where does time for ongoing development fit in? Ongoing professional training is important as it allows lawyers to learn and enhance their current skills. A balance between the two should be taken into account when working in such a busy and competitive industry like law. In this blog we will be reviewing some of the key reasons why training courses like Continued Professional Development (CPD) and Higher Rights of Audience (HRA) are essential to continued competency and enhanced levels of service, as well as team satisfaction.

 

Balancing profitability and performance
Billable hours aren’t without their challenges. Some law firms require lawyers, especially newly qualified solicitors, to meet a minimum target of billable hours for the year, leaving almost no time available for personal development. Most lawyers work long hours in order to hit this target and they face the fear that not fulfilling it can lead to a potential dismissal. This can cause anxiety and stress thus negatively affecting their performance and lowering their efficiency. Lawyers experiencing stressful situations can find it hard to concentrate and pay attention to detail which is essential when dealing with a hefty workload and we know that mistakes can have a significant impact on legal outcomes. A study carried out in 2016, showed that when lawyers were asked to bill more hours, their mental well-being decreased as well as their productivity and performance. So what can be done to keep the profits up while maintaining team performance?

 

Unlocking the value in professional development
Motivating your team and keeping them engaged can be crucial to the success of your firm and it’s something that should always be front of mind. According to a recent study around millennials and development opportunities, 87% highlighted the importance of ongoing development when looking for a job. Investing in training courses aimed at developing lawyers’ needs and skills will help your firm to build a strong team, increase profits and retain talent. You might want to take into consideration professional courses which will allow your team to enhance their skills, address knowledge gaps to allow for improved consultancy, as well bolstering bottom lines. Giving them opportunity to develop their competences will also have the added benefit of improving their confidence, resulting in better performance.

 

To train online or not to train online?
Involving your team in the development discussion has the potential to give them the option to select and undertake training courses, allowing them to go above and beyond to reach their goals. Dedicating sometime in the workplace to training shouldn’t be seen as waste of time but as a benefit for career progression as well as business success. For example, courses like Management & Leadership would be beneficial for a lawyer in order to better manage their everyday tasks and increase overall profitability. At Kaplan Altior we encourage a blended approach to learning offering face-to-face and online courses. Sometimes the pressure to stay in the office to reduce time offsite can become overwhelming and our Live Online option helps to ease pressure by allowing delegates to take the course from the comfort of their desk, reducing hours spent on travel time as well as carbon emissions. If instead, individuals prefer to get out of the office to train and network with like-minded people, a face-to-face approach can be more beneficial. Or perhaps you’d look to take advantage of our in-house offering. Whatever approach you choose, the delivery of the course and the content will be same, so don’t worry about missing out on any key information.  

 

Learning is an ongoing process that should be taken seriously. By planning training for your team, your firm will be able to reap the benefits by building an efficient and competent team and increase overall productivity. It doesn’t matter how busy the work day is, managers should invest in some training in order to give their team the opportunity to progress in their career and grow on a personal and professional level. A skilled solicitor should be seen as an advantage as they will be able to offer an improved service to clients, resulting in greater profitability as well as higher client retention rates. But always remember that a healthy balance is key.

For more information about Kaplan Altior’s upcoming CPD and HRA courses, contact 02920 451 000 or email altior@kaplan.co.uk