Many managing partners learned their leadership skills the hard way: through trial and error. In early February, Law Week gathered five of them to discuss management with topics ranging from their own move into management roles to strategies for raising up young lawyers to become leaders in the firm.
Participants included Suzanne Griffiths, managing shareholder of Gutterman Griffiths; William Henry, managing partner of Robinson & Henry; Paul Lopach, Denver office managing partner of Bryan Cave; Steven Suflas, Denver and Boulder office managing partner of Ballard Spahr; and Kristin White, Denver office managing member of Jackson Kelly. Tony Flesor of Law Week moderated the discussion, and Hunter + Geist reported it.
LAW WEEK: One of the things that prompted my thought for this discussion was the new partner class coming in at the beginning of the year. Also, it seems that there is a trend of law firms going to co-managing partners, some using CEOs. I’m just curious in hearing some of your opinions on the thought of lawyers as leaders and lawyers as managers. And so with that, I’m curious about hearing how everyone got their first taste of leadership — how you came to be where you are.
STEVE SUFLAS: Before coming to Denver almost two years ago as the office managing partner here, I was the office managing partner in our New Jersey office, and both of those jobs came about the same way: I got a call late at night from the chairman of the firm. So I don’t know how common that is, but that’s certainly my story.