Discussions delve into how these key management roles are changing and introduce the people who aspire to improve and advance the business of law. In her plus years at the firm, she has grown in her roles from chief talent officer, responsible for the firm's innovative people-related initiatives, to COO about two years ago. A: One of the most surprising changes is the increased focus on innovation in everything that we do.
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The focus has shifted from ensuring that we keep the trains running on time, which continues to be critically important, to rethinking the way we run all aspects of our business. That ranges from how we recruit, develop and retain talent to how we incorporate technology into the way we practice and manage the firm.
With this trend, firms are shifting more responsibility for the business of the firm to people in professional roles so that their partners can spend more time with clients. I think the heavy emphasis on innovation in law firms has also led more Am Law firms to recruit COOs from diverse backgrounds.
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Q: What key challenges do you face as COO? A: Aligning everything we do around our strategy. We have three clear strategic priorities: to be a leader in technology, energy and infrastructure, and finance; to be a "best place to work"; and to innovate in everything that we do. Within that, the question becomes how you determine what investments and choices are going to best drive that strategy. Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? One of the great things about this position is that I have the opportunity to work with people throughout the organization.
How do we meet the demands of today and anticipate the demands of tomorrow?
Also, I work with people who are inspiring, creative and enjoyable to be around. A: There are three intertwined changes I think are important.
First we need to listen carefully to our clients, then align the organization and our people around what we hear. We often hear clients want a focus on value, which translates to thinking like the clients, understanding their business, solving their legal problems and helping them manage costs — and doing so in a predictable fashion. One of the most interesting challenges is how to effectively adapt our metrics system.
How are we going to use the data we have to be responsive to what clients are asking of us?
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Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention that we must continue to focus on diversity. Q: What does leadership mean to you?
A: We use a definition here at Orrick that perfectly expresses my personal definition of leadership, which is, simply put, making the people around you better. Leadership shows differently at different levels of the organization — and in this role, you have the opportunity to work with people in different levels and to provide them with early opportunities to show that they can succeed.
I have benefited throughout my career from having mentors and sponsors who created opportunities for me to learn and to demonstrate my skills, and I strongly believe that those opportunities played a ificant role in my success. They make a difference, and we as a firm — and as leaders — have an obligation to create them for our people.
I often watch the way our awesome employment lawyers advise their clients and work with me, helping me deal with some of our most challenging issues, and as I work with them, I find myself thinking how much I would enjoy solving the problems they solve.
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