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Ida Abbott Consulting LLC

NOTE: Please see the updated Second Edition of Lawyers' Professional Development.

This comprehensive guide offers a wealth of practical information about all aspects of professional development, including performance evaluations, training, mentoring, work assignments, and much, much more. 

This book is written for legal employers, managers, professional development directors, training partners, and everyone interested or involved in lawyers' learning and development. It is intended to be a complete reference for those who are starting, expanding, revising, or restructuring professional development activities. Whether you are new to the field or have extensive experience, this book will be an invaluable resource.

Review of Lawyers' Professional Development

"... a virtual encyclopedia of professional development for the 21st century."
- Libby Saypol, The ALI-ABA Insider

"... the most important book on the subject to date ... a must read for those who manage law firms or corporate or governmental legal departments."
- Bryn R. Vaaler and Nancy O. Fraser, Law Firm Partnership & Benefits Report

"Ida Abbott's latest book is a prodigious gift indeed! ... More than a gift, this book is a milestone. The first book of its kind, it marks the emergence of law office professional development as a profession in itself."
- Gaye Mara, Professional Development Quarterly

Paperback – 423 pages (December 5, 2002); ISBN: 1557330336

Table of Contents

Part I: Establishing the Foundations for Effective Professional Development

  • The Professional Development Imperative
    • Today's Practice Environment
    • Why Professional Development Is Essential
    • What Goes into a Professional Development Program?
  • Designing a Professional Development Program
    • Approaching Professional Development Strategically
    • Leading the Strategy Development Process
    • Developing a Strategy
    • How Will the Parts Fit Together?
    • Continuous Reassessment
  • Leading the Professional Development Program
    • The Training Partner
    • Professional Development Committee
    • Professional Development Specialists: Responsibilities
    • Professional Development Specialists: Qualifications
    • Finding Professional Development Specialists
    • Reporting Relationship of Professional Development Specialists
    • Practical Suggestions for Professional Development Specialists
  • How Legal Employers Help Lawyers Learn and Develop
    • Adult Learning
    • How Lawyers Learn
    • Informal and Formal Learning
    • Creating a Learning Environment
    • References Related to How Professionals Learn

Part II: Four Essential Components of a Professional Development Program

  • Work Assignments: The Core of Learning
    • Developmental Work Assignments
    • Allocating Work Assignments
    • Monitoring Associates' Work: Productivity, Progress, and Human Resource Management
    • Components of an Effective Work Allocation System
    • Specialization and Practice Group Assignments
    • Creating Learning Opportunities
    • Pro Bono Assignments as Learning Opportunities
  • Mentoring: Promoting Development Through Relationships
    • The Influence of Mentors
    • Enhancing Informal Mentoring
    • Establishing a Mentoring Program
    • Mentoring Program Elements
  • Using Evaluations to Promote Lawyer Development
    • Informal Feedback and Formal Evaluations
    • Basing Evaluations on Explicit Performance Standards
    • Adopting and Implementing an Evaluation System
  • Training
    • Needs Analysis
    • Curriculum Considerations
    • In-House Training or Outside CLE?
    • Technology in Training
    • Course Design for In-House Programs
    • Faculty
    • Instructional Materials
    • Time and Place
    • Administrative Support
    • Technology
    • Program Costs
    • Evaluating Training Programs
    • Measuring Investment in Training
    • The Law Firm as an Accredited CLE Provider
    • Multi-Office Firms: Special Training Considerations
    • Common Training Questions

Part III: Knowledge Management

  • Knowledge Management: Harnessing Information and Expertise
    • How Does Knowledge Management Work?
    • How Does Knowledge Management Benefit Lawyers and Firms?
    • Knowledge Management and Professional Development
    • Obstacles to Knowledge Management
    • Making Knowledge Management Work to Support Learning

Part IV: Budgeting

  • Budgeting for a Professional Development Program
    • The Budgeting Process
    • Special Budgeting Issues for the Professional Development Director

Part V: Coordinating Professional Development Efforts with Recruiting, Summer Programs and Orientation

  • Associate Recruiting and Summer Programs
    • Associate Recruiting
    • Summer Programs
  • Orientation Programs
    • Content and Format of Orientation Programs
    • Organizing an Orientation Program

Part VI: Special Issues Related to Professional Development

  • Women and Minority Lawyers
    • Diversity Training
    • Training for Practice Development
    • Work Assignments
    • Evaluations
    • Mentoring
    • Culture Change
    • Useful References on Diversity and Work-Life Balance
  • Associate Participation on Committees
    • Associate Committees
    • Associate Selection for Firm Committees
  • Career Guidance
  • Succession Planning
  • The Role of the Ombudsperson

Part VII: Professional Development In Corporate and Government Settings

  • Corporate Law Departments
    • Career Advancement and Development
    • Orientation
    • Work Assignments
    • Evaluations
    • Mentoring
    • Training
  • Lawyers in the Public Sector