What Makes Lawyers Tick?®

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This post was originally published at the Legal Executive Institute website, a ThomsonReuters site, on July 29, 2015: Amidst the head-spinning change and the increased competition that all law firms face today, there is an increased emphasis on—some say a frenzy to—hire the best people. The cost of making a hiring mistake is growing, and the consequences of doing so take effect even sooner than before. Many law firms are re-examining their approach to talent…
This post was originally published at the Legal Executive Institute website, a ThomsonReuters site, on May 13, 2015: The Great Place to Work Institute publishes an annual list of the “100 Best Places to Work”. This year, 20 of the companies on the list are in the “Professional Services Firms” category. And of these, five are law firms. This is the first time that law firms have represented fully a quarter of those spots, and…
This post was originally published at the Legal Executive Institute website, a ThomsonReuters site, on April 15, 2015: Are you a practicing lawyer who is transitioning into a leadership role? Whether it’s as a managing partner, practice group leader, office managing partner, or executive committee member—in all cases, to be effective as a leader, you need to make a significant shift in your mindset in several ways. First, many lawyer-leaders default to the role of…
This post is a reprint of an article that I wrote for the ABA’s “Legal Career Central” website. It was originally published on November 15, 2015: The Lawyer Personality: Why Lawyers Are Skeptical I’ve been gathering data on lawyers’ personalities since the early 1980’s. Personality traits are typically measured on a percentile scale ranging from zero % to 100%. When large samples of the general public are tested, individuals’ scores on a given…
To those of you who have been followers of my blog, I offer an apology for going silent. It’s been almost two years since my last post here. That hiatus is the result of a combination of factors–(1) a very busy consulting practice; (2) some personal issues (aging parents) that had higher priority; and (3) I’ve been blogging over at the ThomsonReuters Legal Executive Institute website. For your convenience, I’ll be posting my LEI blog posts…
In talking to law firm leaders these days, what I am hearing most frequently are their concerns about disruptive change and its impact on their ability to maintain a profitable and competitive firm. One consequence of this increased focus on change is that rank-and-file partners are being asked to do more with less—to take on additional roles, step up their performance, be better at the things they never had to be good at before. This…
As I’ve talked with law firm leaders over the past six months, increasingly I’ve heard them describe a troubling list of symptoms that they’re seeing in their lawyers. In their own words, here’s what they’re observing: Malaise, complacency, burnout, an attitude of hopelessness, weariness, a “giving up” mindset; Increased conflict; not playing nicely in the sandbox; Failure to reach out to the best talent to staff a matter—sticking instead with their most familiar colleagues; Increased…
Baby Boomers are beginning to retire. In the legal profession, one microcosm of that trend is that managing partners are beginning to retire. In the old days, managing partners were mainly full-time lawyers who also carried out administrative responsibilities part-time. But in more recent years, the role has grown into a full-blown leadership role with much greater demands. Many of the firm leaders who have announced their upcoming retirements have been in office for ten…
In three previous posts, I’ve discussed the psychology of how to hold partners accountable. I focused primarily on approaches that work well with individuals. In this post, I want to introduce you to three approaches that are more strategic, and work well with teams, groups or an entire firm. As a consequence, they have broader reach and impact. Each one is based on relatively recent research and has a sound, scientific foundation. Each one has…