Summer's end for some...
Welcome back from summer, to those in my part of the world! The Italians and others in southern Europe have surely not all left summer behind— the calendar says we have 3 more weeks, and it can be painful to pull oneself off the beach. Here in Brussels, public school begins Wednesday and most people returned from vacation a while ago. Those in the Amazon and India are getting fed up with the rain about now, and the Chinese finished summer a month ago. The rainy season soon begins in South Africa, winter has come to an end in Australia, and it’s the start of spring for South Americans. There’s a good chart of seasons around the world at: Chart of Seasons and Months Around the World
No matter what time of year you once returned from school vacation and prepared to start the new year as a child, that season has particular resonance well into adulthood. I tend to get busy organizing and making lists of things I want to complete before year end.
If this is back-to-school time in your part of the world, have you thought about what you would like to learn by next June? Take a few notes, and make a plan for yourself. There are bountiful continuing education opportunities around us; not just at the office. This autumn and spring I plan to learn more about leadership for today’s international law firms and corporate law departments. I also need to learn about universities (including how to evaluate them) and the application process, since my daughter is nearing that age.
In keeping with the back-to-school spirit, I just wrote a two-part article on professional development for in-house counsel that you can find at American Lawyer Media’s Corporate Counsel online. It’s taken partly from an audio-seminar we organized for the Global Counsel Leaders Circle, with in-house counsel pros Tim Glassett (California) and Daragh Fagan (London) contributing great ideas.
Part 1 is about building a professional development curriculum for the law department: A Back-to-School-Plan for Corporate Counsel, and part 2 is about professional development for a far-flung in-house team (national or global): Professional Development for Far-Flung In-House Teams.
Law firms may wish to take note of the main comment that in-house counsel have regarding use of law firms for training: they say it’s essential to guide them very carefully. Perhaps a short questionnaire would be useful to guide a conversation with your clients that are interested in training, so you can be sure to tailor what you do based on what they want.
Law firms may also want to consider the skills that associates can gain in the company of their in-house counsel peers. It’s a great way to build relationships and reduce costs all around—not to mention that all lawyers will likely be more attentive in class when their clients or advisors are around.