Sunday, 2 December 2012

Jo Larbie

If you want to make partner and still have a life, Jo Larbie can tell you how. Jo is a talent management and professional development specialist who's worked with a variety of professional services firms over the last 15 years or so, such as Bircham Dyson Bell, DLA Piper, Stoy Hayward, Eversheds. I caught up with her just before the launch of her book, How to Make Partner and Still Have A Life - co-written with Heather Townsend and published by Kogan Page this week. It's a distillation of her knowledge and wisdom garnered over the years, condensed into something very practical, that readers can use as a guide for effecting change in their lives. 

"The phrase "Partner Material" is bandied about in professional firms to separate those associates who are from those that aren't" she tells me. "But no-one really knows what this means. This is a problem for firms, as well as those aspiring to partnership - not to mention those already in a partner role! And of course, today the partnership itself is changing - it's no longer the only career destination for top talent in professional firms. 

"From the individual's point of view, the key is to decide objectively if partnership is for them, and if it is, what they need to do to make that happen. My book is aimed at helping people unpick what "Partner Material" is, helping them decide whether it's a role they want, assist in the job of skilling them up for the task if they do want it, and also guide them through the conversations they need to have with managers and peers to make it clear to everyone that that's what they are aiming for and to seek their help and advice along the way. The days are gone when you could make partner by working very hard and someone just noticing you. Today you need to have an astute understanding of the targets the business is working to - ie what matters to senior management - and then make sure you are excelling at those things. And never confuse input with output!"

Jo says that talented people are often shy about broaching the subject of their ambitions with their bosses. "But it's all about how you present the issue. A good idea at appraisals is to say something like: "If I want to be a partner, what do I need to do? Can you tell me about your experience? How did it change for you? What should I think about doing differently?"

Some senior partners mistakenly think the different attitude of Generations X and Y is about a lack of commitment compared to their day. This is not true. Trainees and associates today just have different expectations of work and life. In particular, their time scale is different: they don't believe in deferred gratification. They don't want to be shut in a room and fed work, for some later prize. They want it all now - interesting and challenging work and time to enjoy a meaningful life outside of work! And considering that most young lawyers today come out of law school with a £30-50K debt, who can blame them!  My book attempts to shed some light and help spawn a generation of professionals who can enjoy both their work and their lives!"

I've ordered copies of How To Make Partner And Still Have A Life for several friends already. In my book, talent coach Jo Larbie is a very talented lady herself! You can buy it from Amazon here.

A good night was had by all at the London Solicitors Litigation Association's Annual Dinner this week.  The great and the good of the London litigation scene (Litigaterati? Maybe not) were there in force, treated to sumptuous food  in the Law Society's beautiful Common Room and a speech by Lord Falconer: wonderful tales of his role as Blair's first Justice Minister and the "fun" he had taking ministerial responsibility for the poisoned chalice of the Millennium Dome.  

But it was LSLA President Francesca Kaye that gave us the most food for thought.  In recapping on where we are with the Civil Justice Reforms, she raised a very interesting question: the current fashion for Oligarchs to stage their legal battles in London's is generating huge amounts of money (and therefore taxes) for the country, but why is this not being used to reinvest in the whole civil justice system and its infrastructure, such as IT, to ensure we can continue to provide the level of service that big litigation requires at the same time as benefitting everyone else in the system? When you think of all the cuts and the different imaginative and multifarious ways that Legal Aid is being withdrawn, "Why" indeed.
Stocking fillers for the lawyer in your life #2  Only 22 shopping days left till Christmas (yikes!) so we thought you might appreciate a couple more gift ideas for the lawyer in your life who has everything. New at the book store is of course Jo's and Heather's book on How To Make Partner and Still Have A Life, but for an old favourite you can't do much better than Gary Slapper's Weird Cases and More Weird Cases - comic and bizarre cases from courtrooms around the world. Here's a flavour:

"Courts have seen judges do things like try to turn off a musical tie playing "We wish you a merry Christmas" while sentencing a defendant to prison, fall asleep in the middle of trials, flip a coin to decide a case, demand a foot massage from a clerk, and get sentenced for judicial racketeering. Courts have listened to the defences like that of a bogus dentist caught using DIY tools on his patients and a man who based his defence on being as hapless as Homer Simpson...The cases featured in Weird Cases are those that truly stand out as odd, even among all the unusual dramas that challenge the courts. The chapters are: Compensation and Punishment, Love and Sex, Food, Drink and Drugs, Judges, Death and Violence, Pets and Animals, On the Road, Lawyers, and Jurors, Friends, and Neighbours."


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Clare for this lovely blog - and I totally agree with you, Jo is a very talented lady.