Given that the brand of the firm and the brand of the individual are so interlinked in Professional Services, the individual lawyers personal character is integral to the firms brand - so says Andrew McMillan, former head of customer service at John Lewis.
He is right, of course, but as the old Punch joke goes. The last thing you want is to be represented by Mr Knight at the firm Bastard, Bastard, Bastard, Knight & Bastard, whether Mr Knight is a 'Good Lad' or otherwise.
At a previous firm we used to have a grudging gag about a feisty, and highly competent, professional adviser:
He might be a weasel, but he's our weasel.
‘Hire for attitude,’ McMillan advised, alluding to his own experience of customer service: ‘You can’t teach someone to be nice. You can teach them to sell a computer.’ Recruitment energies should therefore focus on bringing people with the right ‘personality’ into the business. If they provide a poor cultural fit for the firm’s values then they should be removed from the firm within six weeks, he said. This was vital for firms seeking to differentiate themselves, he stressed, adding: ‘Done with enough conviction, a “halo effect” transfers from [your individuals] to the brand.’