BarkerGilmore Report: Decoding Legal Succession Dynamics 

Decoding Succession Dynamics and the Impact of Executive Coaching on Legal Professionals 

In a groundbreaking exploration of legal leadership dynamics, BarkerGilmore, renowned for building world-class legal and compliance departments, has unveiled the insights gleaned from its extensive 2024 Aspiring General Counsel Report. This comprehensive study, conducted via an online survey in September 2023, provides a nuanced understanding of the factors shaping the career trajectories of in-house counsel across the United States. 

Executive Coaching Takes Center Stage: 

Highlighting the distinctive feature of BarkerGilmore’s services, Managing Partner Bob Barker emphasizes the transformative role of executive coaching. The report reveals a significant correlation, indicating that in-house counsel who undergo executive coaching are nine percentage points more likely to be recognized as potential successors to the General Counsel. 

Key Trends Explored in Detail: 

Management-Identified Successors: A deep dive into the report unveils that 42% of Managing Counsel and 11% of Senior Counsel have been acknowledged by management as potential successors to the existing General Counsel. Notably, the report underscores the pivotal role of executive coaching, with coached in-house counsel (35%) exhibiting a higher likelihood of being identified as successors compared to their non-coached counterparts (26%). 

Diversity in Succession Planning: The report sheds light on gender dynamics, indicating that women are marginally more likely to be identified as successors than men. This trend is particularly pronounced in non-profits (60% women vs. 40% men) and private companies (59% women vs. 41% men). Additionally, the report highlights the increasing representation of potential successors from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, constituting 23% of the identified pool. 

Professional Development Dynamics: The report delves into the professional development landscape, revealing that a substantial portion of Managing Counsel (37%) and Senior Counsel (20%) have engaged with an executive coach in their current positions. External service providers are the preferred choice for coaching (91% Managing Counsel, 74% Senior Counsel). Moreover, the data emphasizes that management-identified successors consistently receive higher rates of professional development, emphasizing its integral role in grooming future leaders. 

Aspiring General Counsel Dynamics: Offering insights into the aspirations of legal professionals eyeing the General Counsel position, the report highlights that the majority of aspiring General Counsel have been in their roles for two years or less. A notable trend emerges, with Managing Counsel (72%) actively communicating their interest in ascending to the General Counsel position more than Senior Counsel (61%). 

BarkerGilmore’s 2024 Aspiring General Counsel Report provided a panoramic view of succession planning intricacies but also underscores the transformative impact of executive coaching on shaping the legal leaders of tomorrow. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, understanding these trends becomes imperative for organizations committed to fostering a diverse and effective leadership pipeline.