For a recent ALIC conference, Michele Gallo, associate general counsel of Acacia Life, distributed some material she prepared about how to develop leaders in a law department. One slide, entitled “Vehicles for Development,” describes three ways in which in-house lawyers become more proficient. Gallo even estimates how much of their learning comes by way of each method.
“On-the-job” gets 70 percent, which is probably even on the low side for most in-house counsel. You learn your in-house craft by figuring it out as you go along (See my post of Dec. 22, 2006 about methods of learning, with OJT.).
“Coaching” accounts for another 20 percent of development, according to Gallo (See my posts of April 14, 2005 on coaches for general counsel; July 14, 2005 on knowledge coaches; April 30, 2006 on the looseness of the term “mentor”; June 7, 2006 on the boost of subsequent coaching to training; Sept. 25, 2006 on coaching compared to other forms of help; Jan. 20, 2007 on developmental and executive coaching; and July 14, 2005 on the difference between a mentor and a coach.).
“Formal training programs,” at 10 percent of the learning, completes her trio of development methods. That low figure puts paid to claims that CLE helps in-house lawyers very much (See my posts of Jan. 26, 2006 on specialization of in-house counsel and how it renders much CLE too basic; and Dec. 1, 2006 about the reluctance of law firms to train their counterparts.).