Simon Coath Consultancy

In-House CPD: Law Society's Management Course

Management

In writing this course we have set out to challenge and be critical of some of the more conventional approaches to management training for lawyers.

Simon Coath is well qualified to do this as he has served as Managing Partner of a City practice and has written a Masters thesis on Law Firm Management.

"...Although we do of course cover the Law Society 'syllabus', we do so in a more conceptual and challenging way than that envisaged by the Law Society prescribed 'Guide to Good Management'."

"Our approach is more demanding for trainer and delegate alike but ensures that delegates leave the session feeling more aware of the contingencies that have a bearing upon the way in which they practise Law and how these contingencies need to be 'managed'..."

Charles Handy:

"...I think we are conceptually impoverished. Management education seems to be all about techniques, tricks and counting rather than concepts to help you frame the world..."

Course Content and Training Methodology

The course is a 7-hour programme that qualifies for 7 CPD Hours.

The programme is broken down into 4 Sessions.

Session 1 - Introduction to Management

The objectives of this introductory session are to enable delegates to recognise:

  • The network of relationships between the solicitor and other individuals (both in and out of the firm)
  • The characteristics of the manager's role, the demands placed upon them, the constraints under which they work, the choices they have to make
  • The priorities of the organisation and the implications these have for jobs within the firm
  • Their own managerial roles and responsibilities
  • Their own personal development needs in relation to their management responsibilities

These objectives are met by short lectures, small group work and tutor led discussion.

The short introductory lectures (supported by notes) facilitate an understanding of some key management issues such as:

  • Contingency management theory
  • The changing role of the "manager" in modern organisations
  • Leadership
  • Learning organisations
  • Organisational culture

Session 2 - Managing Client Relationships

The objectives of this session are to recognise that the management of the "client relationship" is at the heart of "quality management" in a service organisation. To these ends the following topics are examined:

  • The nature and characteristics of a "service organisation"
  • The concept of "quality"
  • The manner in which organisations such as law firms and other service providers might manage "quality"
  • The importance of "establishing and agreeing client requirements" and the related task of "managing clients expectations"

This session includes short lectures and notes on topics such as the characteristics of service industries, managing the Client's expectations, managing complaints and client dissatisfaction. Small group exercises and discussion facilitate understanding of these concepts together with Law Society regulations such as Client Care.

Session 3 - Managing the Firm

This session provides an overview of some of more popular management systems and provides a broad grounding in the development of management theory. This background helps delegates better understand the quest for pervasive management principles as well as the philosophical divide between the two broad "churches" of management theory.

The workings of the following systems are examined as illustrations of management systems:

  • Law Society Practice Management Standards
  • ISO 9000
  • Investors in People

The session considers the characteristics of these systems alongside a case study that facilitates discussion and small group work.

Session 4 - Managing People

This final session examines the management of people, which many would say reflects the hardest yet most important and rewarding element of the management function.

Upon conclusion of this section delegates will appreciate that the management of people is a very practical skill and that the effective manager will be able to call upon a number of interventions as and when a particular scenario arises.

By reference to a case study and with small group work and discussion delegates will examine:

  • What is often described as the "personnel management" function within an organisation, such as recruitment and selection.
  • The areas where managers can make most impact, namely motivation, performance management, and appraisal.

The process of teamwork through an investigation of the stages of team development and the preferred roles of individuals within a team setting.

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