Leaders of law firms should cultivate common values and facilitate personal development, writes Zia Mody, managing partner of AZB & Partners
Managing a law firm is really about overseeing a substantial number of articulate, highly skilled, egotistic professionals. By and large, lawyers are risk-averse and management-averse. In most Indian firms the group is still relatively small, cohesive and easy to handle. However, as a firm expands, balancing the practise of law and management of a firm becomes increasingly challenging. At some point, having a professional full-time management system, as most international firms do, becomes crucial.
In today’s highly competitive cross-border world of mergers and acquisitions and project finance, a critical number of lawyers is essential. To be a serious player in the Indian context, a firm requires at least 100 lawyers as well as a strong presence in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, if not Hyderabad and Chennai.
A law firm is only as good as its professionals, so the most demanding task involves maintaining the high calibre and motivation of young lawyers. The work must be as stimulating as possible; the infrastructure and support services should be top-class; and the partner-to-associates leverage should be agreed upon sensibly in order to prevent oversights and ensure quality and efficiency are not compromised. Continuous training and legal education are vital to achieving the goal of professional excellence.