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Top firm uses computer simulations to train new partners

Hogan Lovells: Successful pilot

UK/US giant Hogan Lovells is using computer simulations of legal practices to train new equity partners in how to run a law firm, it has emerged.

The firm said that following the success of last summer’s digital leadership programme, developed by California-based Simulation Studios, it was planning to run the event again this year.

The pilot, held in Monaco before a global partners conference, involved around 25 new equity partners from across Hogan Lovells, including the UK, dividing into groups of five to run simulated law firms.

Case studies were used to teach the partners how to make decisions on resources and staffing, which had financial impacts on their firms.

The participants were scored on the simulated firms’ profitability, on their leadership skills and on client and employee satisfaction.

A spokeswoman for Hogan Lovells said that as well as “culture and people” management modules, the programme simulated the overall revenue of the business “resulting from large work wins or losses”, along with the investment cost in developing new clients and pitches.

Secondment costs and benefits, and training costs and returns were also taken into account, together with the impact on work for clients of using “different personnel and structures”.

She said: “Participants make decisions in all of these areas in each round and the impact of their decisions is modelled in the various outputs for the following round.”

A spokesman for Simulation Studios said its computer software enabled the law firm to “successfully implement a training strategy for its new equity partners”, putting participants through 60 strategic decision-making scenarios and “providing real-time feedback as they competed in teams to win clients”.

The spokesman said Bill Hall, founder and president of learning and strategy at Simulation Studios, worked closely with Hogan Lovells’ global chief learning officer, Heather Bock, to create the Transition to Equity leadership development simulation specifically for the firm.

“Participants stated that the programme was an intense, rewarding boost for their future careers.”

Mr Hall added that Hogan Lovells was the first law firm to adopt its business simulation training strategy.

Simulation Studios, also known as SimStudios, describes itself as “a boutique corporate training firm that creates highly engaging strategic tools for Fortune 500 corporations and small-medium sized businesses”.

The company, founded by Mr Hall in 2003, said he had created “a computer-simulated strategy to train companies in the what, why, and how of leadership in a way that delivered a demonstrable impact on business performance”.