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Category Archives: Law firm practices

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Where the Buck Stopped: Comments on a Unique Triumph

Posted in Law firm practices

“Stucco!” When I was a kid, that’s what the surprise victor would yell when the worm turned and the underdog triumphed over long odds and greater forces. It was a corruption of “stuck it to you!” And so to female senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins (and also, for the purposes of this post, to… Continue Reading

9 Awesome Articles – AI & The Law

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Law firm practices

How Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Legal Profession Technology For Law Firm Leaders: Services as Products AI and the Law: The Paradigm Shift Hits the Fan Do Robots Make Better Lawyers? A Conversation About Law And Artificial Intelligence 5 Questions on Artificial Intelligence How AI and Crowdsourcing are Remaking the Legal Profession Is Artificial Intelligence… Continue Reading

AI and the Law: The Paradigm Shift Hits the Fan

Posted in Law firm practices

  AI – artificial intelligence – and its relatives, digital research engines, “bots,” and other automatons, have made their beachhead in the legal profession, and it really looks like this is gonna change everything. Yeah, yeah, we know this isn’t the first time we and other pundits have predicted that sudden and/or overwhelming forces or… Continue Reading

Bower and Wesemann: Missing Giants

Posted in Law firm practices

The legal landscape is a sadder and emptier place today, following the recent deaths of two giants in legal consulting, Ward Bower of Altman Weil and Ed Wesemann of Edge International.  Both succumbed to unexpected heart attacks. We had the pleasure of working as partners with both of them, and the privileges and pleasures were… Continue Reading

How to Fail at Collaboration

Posted in Law firm practices

We all know that many law firms send mixed messages to their lawyers (and often to their clients, too).   They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk, particularly when it comes to the informal norms and values that define “the way we do things around here.”  This opens them up to charges of… Continue Reading

How Lawyers Can “Get a GRIP” on Collaboration

Posted in Law firm practices

This post is targeted to Leaders – to all you Practice Group Leaders, Project Leaders, Team Leaders, and even Firm Leaders – whose role is to get assorted performers to pull together effectively in harness.  But you followers and worker bees should feel free to listen in, because, after all, you are the object of… Continue Reading

What Lawyers Can Learn from Google About Collaboration

Posted in Law firm practices

Problem: These days productive lawyering, successful onboarding of lateral hires, and effective Legal Project Management (LPM) place a huge premium on effective collaboration, and a recent Harvard Business Review study found that “time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more over the last two decades.” But lawyers, because… Continue Reading

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