A managing partner of a reputable and reasonably successful midsize law firm recently told me, "We look for partners who are just like us, who we know will fit in."
This is not the first time that my colleagues and I have heard about this "unwritten trump card," as a senior partner in another firm describe it. "If we have two candidates who are roughly equal, we will usually give the nod to the lawyer who has the better chemistry with us," a partner from yet another law firm once told me.
Especially in the traditional context of a law firm partnership, it is natural to want partners with whom one feels comfortable, with common backgrounds and points of view to one's own. We are more likely to trust and feel confident about people who are more like ourselves.
Is is perfectly natural.
It is also potentially lethal to any business, but especially law firms.
Our firm's experience working closely with law firm partnerships and practice groups demonstrates that a group of professionals is better able to make hard decisions, manage change, and get the best results from innovations if it has people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, personalities, and points of view.
Such groups are usually better able to:
By contrast, partnerships that are not diverse, where everyone is "just like us," are usually more likely to:
To read more, visit the Walker Clark Worldview Blog.