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Most in-house counsel neither manage nor lead others – they do work

Upwards of 80 percent of all US law departments have fewer than 10 lawyers. Even at the top of the range, assuming at least four or five direct reports to the general counsel, none of the other lawyers manage more than one or two lawyers and maybe they share management of a paralegal and a secretary...

Top 10 Laws of Leadership

New lawyers take note, although these rules apply to attorneys throughout your legal career. As part of the annual MCCA (Minority Corporate Counsel Association) " Creating Pathways to Diversity " conference, the authors of The Little Black Book of Success led an occasionally rollicking session...

Young Lawyers: Differentiate Yourself

Lessons in Leadership and Advice for Setting Yourself Apart from the Crowd. Adam Bryant, columinst at the NYT and author of the book, "The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons From CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed," just put up an article titled: Distilling the Wisdom of C...

Can Leadership Skills be Taught or Developed?

Phase one: Identify brain's neural pathways linked to leadership skills. Phase two: Concoct brain exercise machine to tone up, sculpt and strengthen those leadership skills. Phase three: Execute leadership maneuvers. Building off decades of research in the neurosciences, information technologist...

Business plans for gigantic canoes

For several months now, I and some of my colleagues in the Public and Professional Interest Division of the International Bar Association have been reviewing the business plans of the PPID committees and other entities. These groups range from very small task forces and working groups of fewer than...

Law Firm Staff: Overlooked Marketers

Most employees of law firms are in a great position to help in the firm's business development efforts - or help damage them. A lot of that depends on how they are treated, how much that love or hate their job, and are otherwise engaged in the business of the law firm. This is particularly...

Life after managing partner

The Lawyer reported this morning that Mark Walker, until recently the managing partner of Cleary Gottlieb in New York, has moved to Paris and into the world of finance as a senior advisor to the global sovereign advisory group at Lazard. One of the subtle flaws in many law firm governance schemes...

How Dumb Is the Pointy-Haired Boss?

Scott Adams and Dilbert regularly ridicule management, usually represented by the pointy-haired boss, or PHB. Over the many years Adams has been drawing the strip, he's certainly found plenty of targets for ridicule. Many of them have struck home with workers and bosses alike. I thought...

Legal Project Management by another Name

Jay Shepard has an interesting post today at Above the Law where he talks about the need for partners to teach associates to be future partners . He lists seven things a teaching partner should do to strengthen the firm for the future: Be consistent. Share the whole picture. Provide...

Steve Jobs, Teamwork, and Legal Project Management

Jonah Lehrer writes in Wired and The New Yorker about Steve Jobs using architecture to inculcate teamwork when he took over Pixar. He insisted that Pixar's headquarters be designed so that disparate groups of employees were forced to come together for certain functions. He insisted on a large...

The Hobgoblin of Foolish Consistency

(I should have posted this yesterday, when hobgoblins were out and about in the neighborhoods. And the first half wanders far afield before returning to project leadership concepts. You can skip the intro and jump right to that point .) I was working on some slides when I noticed that PowerPoint...

Comparing Your Law Firm (or Department) to Apple

Most people, especially those outside the technology industry 1 , think very highly of Apple. What would your law practice look like if your clients felt that way about you? Some practices already get rave client reviews; these firms are proving to be tough competition. Yet I've heard senior...

Leadership: actions and words

In September and October 2011, our firm conducted a worldwide survey about law firm leadership, as part of our ongoing support of the Law Firm Management Committee of the International Bar Association . 374 lawyers participated, more than half of whom are or have been managing partners of law firms...

A Lesson in Leadership from Aon’s Litigation Counsel

Mark Herrmann, Chief Litigation Counsel for Aon, writes about his first 360 review here . A 360 review is common in many corporations for mid-level and senior managers. An HR consultant (usually) helps you map your self-assessed strengths and weaknesses against those defined by your manager(s)...

The challenges of change in managing lawyer careers

Our firm is currently advising several law firms about improvements to their career management policies and procedures. In some legal markets this has become a very important strategic issue - not just one of internal human resources management. In order to make the improvements that are necessary...

Market leaders lead the market

When a group of law firm partners discusses significant changes in their respective firms, one of them will almost certainly say: "But no other firm in our market does this..." We have three responses that we ask our clients to consider: First, are you sure? We have frequently discovered...

Inspiration for the New Year | Bringing great projects to life

There are two fatal errors that keep great projects from coming to life: Not finishing Not starting -Buddha A DEEP BREATH OF LIFE Early last year I took a yoga class at Florida Keys Community College. While I was far from a good student, having missed more than half the classes,...

Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy...

Can Lawyers Learn From Best Buy?

Larry Downes in Forbes has an article on the decline and (they presume) fall of Best Buy . Other than the hagiography of Amazon.com, 1 there are some very interesting points in the article. Before you read it, though, consider what you think intuitively is Amazon's core advantage over Best Buy...

Project Leadership and Motivation

What does science know about motivating employees that businesses too often ignore? That's the topic of an 18-minute talk by (nonpracticing) lawyer Dan Pink . He frames it as an argument to the jury of the audience. In this 2009 talk, he describes the science of motivation, which is fairly...

Google's Watching You: The Good, the bad, the ugly

This morning Google announced a change in its privacy policy . I link to the Washington Post article about it because searching Google for "Google Privacy Policy" does not bring up Google's privacy policy as its first result!!! (Okay, it's first if you count the ads... but many of us...

Are You Choosing to Lead?

In recent months, I have given a lot of thought to the idea of being a leader. One of my favorite Ted.com talks by Dave Meslin touches on this subject beautifully. He argues that society has conditioned us to believe that we must be designated or appointed a leader before we step into the leadership...

Marshall on Leadership – A Guide for the Compliance Practitioner

General George Marshall was not only one of the greatest generals that this country has ever produced but he served as US Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and was the architect of the European recovery plan which bears his name, the Marshall Plan. Nominated by President Franklin Roosevelt to...

Agricultural Leadership is Hard Work

During our Indiana Ag Leadership class trip to Liberia, West Africa recently, I saw something that has stuck with me since I arrived back in Indiana. At a United Nation's peacekeeping outpost in Ganta, Liberia--manned completely by Bangladeshi troops and engineers--I noticed a large saying hand painted...

An Event That Changed the World and Fostering Compliance Leadership – Part I

This coming Saturday, June 28th, is the 100 th anniversary of most probably the single most momentous event of the 20 th century; the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo, then located in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I view it as the singular event of the prior century...