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Star quality: keeping talented lawyers motivated — and contained

Love them or hate them, rainmakers are what makes most firms tick, but in addition to support, they need to be controlled, says Alicia Fortinberry

1 March 2019

Many law firms increasingly rely on star power. They are striving to distinguish themselves in the marketplace and often to strengthen their strongest offerings rather than support marginal practices. As one managing partner of a London-based global law firm said to me recently: “Our future depends largely on our outstanding revenue earners and potential rainmakers. They’re the ones we have to keep happy.”

Stars are rare, they account for .0019% of the normal work pool, according to The Oxford Handbook of Talent Management. By definition stars are characterised by outsize talent, performance, remuneration, and big names in the marketplace. In some law rms stars have nearly as much clout as management, although they usually eschew the day-to-day hassle of administration.

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