Managing Lawyer Behavior Through Compensation

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 61 minutes
Recorded Date: April 23, 2020
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  • Identifying Present Issues or Concerns
  • Rewarding Subjective Contributions
  • Compensation Systems
  • Firm Values & Culture
  • Perception of Equity
  • What is Profitability
  • Horror Stories
  • Behaviors
Runtime: 1 hour, 1 minute
Recorded: April 23, 2020


Compensation is a proven tool for influencing lawyer behavior. This program will explore the desired behaviors to encourage as well as the behaviors to avoid. Behavioral objectives include subjective and objective goals. Is your compensation system administered by a compensation committee, management committee, managing partner, "benevolent dictator" senior partner, "democratically" by all the partners, or by a non-lawyer executive director?

Whether you are starting a new firm or trying to resolve issues that come up among the partners in your longstanding firm, it "pays" to understand how the compensation system affects behavior and ultimately the firm's success. Pete Roberts and Debra Bruce will describe ways that the compensation system and the manner in which is it administered can cause problems that negatively affect the operational health of the firm. They will also provide tips on factors to address in designing (or amending) compensation systems to fit your firm's culture and values. Topics discussed include common types of compensation systems, system impact on desired behaviors, pros and cons of incentive bonuses, compensation for essential non-billable activities and aligning the compensation with the values of the firm.

This program was recorded on April 23rd, 2020.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Peter D. Roberts

Chair, Law Firm Finance Committee

PETER D. ROBERTS, MBA is a consultant to attorneys based in Seattle. He is Chair of the ABA’s Law Firm Finance Committee. Peter managed the Law Office Management Assistance Program of the Washington State Bar Association for 13 years.

Debra L. Bruce

Lawyer-Coahc LLC

Debra L. Bruce is President of Lawyer-Coach LLC. Capitalizing on 18 years in law practice, she coaches lawyers on leadership, management and productivity. She is the Co-Chair of the ABA’s Productivity & Knowledge Strategy Committee and has held leadership roles in law practice management committees of the Houston and Texas bar associations.

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