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Category Archives: Law firm practices

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Feminenglish Part V: Remedies for Lousy Communication

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

In recent posts, we have been discussing the wasteful and demoralizing patterns of “asymmetrical communication” between male and female lawyers, particularly as it impacts team collaboration and effectiveness, as well as good Legal Project Management (LPM). But what, as a practical matter, can be done about it? How Can We Tackle the Problem? One school of… Continue Reading

Feminenglish Part IV: Pointing the Finger

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

We’re no sociologists, but it’s not hard to divine the root cause of asymmetrical communication between male and female lawyers: the perks, pleasures and pursuit of power.  Power both creates and reinforces inequality – that’s its purpose, after all.  So as between men and women, isn’t unequal power the inevitable consequence of the whole men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus… Continue Reading

Feminenglish Part III: Causes and Consequences

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

Our current series of posts about Feminenglish, that peculiar deferential language female lawyers and business women have learned to speak in meetings with men, and last year’s related series about how men tend to grab the mike in meetings and “borrow” women’s ideas, are not intended as a feminist manifesto or a deep dive into… Continue Reading

High Power, Low Volume: The Dynamics of Feminenglish, Part II

Posted in Law firm practices, Legal Project Management

Typical of the way catchy neologisms leap into common currency, there’s a hot new compliment making the rounds these days: “So-and-so speaks truth to power.”  The connotations of this high-powered compliment are rich indeed, suggesting here’s a person who is confident, courageous, smart, principled, forceful, truthful, and outspoken. The so-and-so receiving this compliment is almost… Continue Reading

Battling Law’s Second Language

Posted in Law firm practices

Americans are derided in foreign cultures because so few of us speak a “foreign” language. We simply figure that in light of America’s overwhelming economic, political and cultural power, we are entitled to demand that everyone around the world – particularly lawyers, business people and airline pilots — speak to us Americans in the way that… Continue Reading

Manterruption, Part II: The Quest for a Cure

Posted in Law firm practices

In our last post we discussed the widespread tendency of men to interrupt women in settings where the power stakes were high (manterruption) and their tendency to appropriate women’s comments and ideas as their own (bropropriation). This Really Does Matter We emphasized that this is not a minor impediment to women’s career advancement. As Dr…. Continue Reading

FLASH UPDATE: No Seat at the Table

Posted in Law firm practices

Life Imitates Blog Only a few days ago we posted a blog post, Are You a Manterrupter?, in which we discussed how unconscious gender biases of men may compromise leadership communication and result in female colleagues being marginalized, shut out, interrupted and generally frustrated in the exercise of senior-level professional responsibility.  A second, related post… Continue Reading

Are You a Manterrupter? – Part I

Posted in Law firm practices

This is Doug, and I’m going to be flying the airplane in this post. Pam is standing by me, as usual contributing a wealth of valuable and timely information, but she’s going to hold her tongue. Why? Because research proves the likelihood that if she tried to make her ideas heard, she would learn the… Continue Reading

Taking the Plunge: Do You Want to Be Managing Partner?

Posted in Law firm practices

UPDATE: This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week award! So you’re thinking about diving into the election for Managing Partner, eh?         You think your chances are good: you enjoy the respect of your partners, your business judgment is on a par with your legal judgment, and during your term on the Executive… Continue Reading

How You’ll Know When Your Firm’s Been Fired

Posted in Law firm practices

UPDATE: This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week award! I sat in on a meeting recently when a major corporation’s General Counsel, CFO, and COO made the unanimous decision to fire a law firm that had been serving the company for over two decades. There had been no catastrophic we-bet-the-company-and-lost kind of screw-up, no egregious failure… Continue Reading

DISPATCH TO MANAGING PARTNERS: 5 Key Observations on Law’s Tectonic Shifts

Posted in Law firm practices

UPDATE: This article won the BigLaw Pick of the Week. BigLaw is a weekly email newsletter that provides helpful information for the world’s largest law firms and the corporate counsel who hire them. For several years now, all us bloggers and pundits have been pushing the Chicken Little button and trying to get your attention. We all have… Continue Reading

It’s All in the Game: Managing Partners Come to Grips with “Gamification”

Posted in Gamification, Law firm practices

Many managing partners tell us they are struggling to get their arms around new tools and techniques for driving more efficiency and cost-effectiveness into legal service delivery. Firms are seeing more and more RFPs in which clients make increasingly draconian demands for better management and control of legal work. AFAs (alternative fee arrangements) are reshaping… Continue Reading

Adventures in Magical Thinking – Part III

Posted in Law firm practices

In our last two posts, we’ve been discussing “Magical Thinking,” the tendency of firm leaders to assume that rank-and-file partners can and will divine the reasoning of the Executive Committee and will take all necessary steps to keep abreast of firm economics, strategic decisions and operational guidance. This tendency produces frequent disconnects between the way… Continue Reading

Adventures in Magical Thinking – Part II

Posted in Law firm practices

In the last post we discussed “magical thinking” – the wishes and hopes of firm leadership that the lawyers they lead will exhibit certain desirable behaviors just because leadership wants them to or hopes they will. Magical Thinking Building Blocks There are five common components to magical thinking: 1)      Reality Disconnects: Leadership may “get it,”… Continue Reading

Adventures in Magical Thinking, Part I

Posted in Law firm practices

The good news is that the strategic brain trusts of many law firms often are populated with realistic, forward-thinking leaders who grasp the sweeping economic and operational forces that are reshaping the face of the legal profession. They see the big picture better than many of their colleagues in the trenches who view the legal world… Continue Reading

Lawyer Assessment and Client Development – An Emerging Trend

Posted in Law firm practices

As part of an innovative individual business development coaching program for a group of its high-potential partners, a forward-looking global law firm was persuaded to include a battery of personality and motivational assessment instruments to map out each partner’s “game face,” interpersonal style, motivational drivers and likely stressors or self-awareness blind spots. This firm’s Executive… Continue Reading

Lateral Integration: The Real Elephant in the Room

Posted in Law firm practices

  In our last few posts, we’ve  been discussing topics and insights that arose in a recent Managing Partners Forum sponsored by Edge International. One concern the MPs cited as a major area of management concern was:  Law firms’ frequent and unacceptable failure to successfully integrate lateral hires. Uh, Oh… Looking past the failure of… Continue Reading

Is This In My Job Description? What Managing Partners Say About Their Job

Posted in Law firm practices

This post continues an ongoing series deriving from discussions by a group of leaders of small and medium-sized firms at a Managing Partners Forum recently sponsored by Edge International. This group of MPs report that daily they confront a bewildering – often seemingly crazy — variety of issues and frustrations they did not anticipate when… Continue Reading

Loneliness at the Top: Managing Partners’ Scary Balancing Act

Posted in Law firm practices

In our last post, we described the almost overwhelming variety of issues reported by firm leaders attending an Edge International-sponsored Managing Partners’ Forum, and we promised a more granular look at several of the challenges that really keep them up at night. In this installment: How do I balance my management responsibilities and the demands… Continue Reading

Up Close and Personal – Perspectives from a Managing Partners’ Forum

Posted in Law firm practices

Edge International recently co-sponsored and facilitated a Managing Partners’ Forum in Savannah for medium-sized firms in the Southeastern region, and I came away from the discussions both with some eye-opening impressions and a renewed sense of respect for how hard law firm leaders’ jobs are these days. My partners and I were there not to… Continue Reading

The Death of Lifetime Partnership?

Posted in Law firm practices

In a recent article entitled “Layoffs Threaten Law-Firm Partners,” The Wall Street Journal broke the startling news — irony intended — that “as firms grapple with continued lackluster demand for legal services, some are handing out pink slips” to unproductive partners. The article quoted one unnamed partner as saying, “you’re only as secure as the… Continue Reading

Battling the New Inefficiency Disease: Digital Distraction

Posted in Law firm practices

Today’s increasing drive for more efficiency in the delivery of legal services tends to focus on proactive tactics and technologies to achieve faster communication, faster results, and complete elimination of time that doesn’t add value. Ironically, however, today’s technological advances are creating an escalating and little-acknowledged source of inefficiency. How? By creating constant and unavoidable distraction… Continue Reading

Legal Project Management: Going for Broke and Turning Up the Heat

Posted in General Counsel, Law firm practices, Law Firm Profits, Legal Project Management, Legal Spend, Outside Counsel

Heretofore, the burgeoning worldwide Legal Project Management (LPM) trend has shown what you see when the buyer turns up the heat.  It’s safe to say that if more and more clients were not demanding legal services that are on time, on budget, efficiently managed and predictably rendered, we’d still be back in the “good old… Continue Reading