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Category Archives: The practice

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At a fork in the road?

Posted in Leaving the practice, The practice

In this economy, many lawyers are facing an unanticipated fork in the road.  Layoffs leave some lawyers contemplating an exit from the profession, others considering whether to launch a solo practice, and others still looking to shift practice areas in hopes of finding a new position. I recently watched a video of a presentation for… Continue Reading

The Law Firm Business Model

Posted in The practice

Legal management consultant Joel Henning concludes that the law firm business model is broken and that the currently-proposed fixes (such as alternative fees, offshoring, increased use of contract attorneys, etc.) are “insipid and inadequate.”  For Henning’s proposal, which centers on a regulatory revolution that would permit outside investors who “would bring to bear a more… Continue Reading

A host of great articles in the latest issue of The Complete Lawyer

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, Leaving the practice, The practice, Women and the law, Work/life balance

The latest issue of The Complete Lawyer features the theme “What’s Your Exit Strategy?” and includes articles that discuss exits including retirement, job changes, leaving the law, setting up a plan to ensure that your clients will be protected if you’re suddenly unavailable, and more.  Here are a few highlights: Rob Hockett offers simple advice on… Continue Reading

6 options for anger management

Posted in The practice

Lawyers who are or aspire to be leaders must learn to self-manage.  Especially when stressed or under pressure (and who isn’t, at least part of the time?) it’s easy to let self-management slide in the face of provocation.  Some attorneys I know offer a blanket apology to staff and colleagues — something like, “I’m feeling… Continue Reading

Determining decision-making authority

Posted in For new lawyers, The practice

In my experience, newer associates often have challenges in determining what they do and don’t have the authority to do.  Some may take on too little authority, undermining their usefulness to more senior lawyers who need not be consulted about every decision, and others may too on too much, possibly compromising strategic decisions that should be… Continue Reading

The client perspective

Posted in The practice

A couple of years ago, I was a party to some litigation, and I had the mind-shifting opportunity to be a client.  I learned a tremendous amount about what it means to be a client.  Because these lessons would have served me very well when I was in practice, I share them with you today. 1.     Communication… Continue Reading

Is practicing law fun?

Posted in The practice

 I’ve been having some interesting conversations lately with lawyers who demand a career that’s intellectually demanding, satisfying, financially successful, and fun.  Fun?  Can something as serious as practicing law be fun?  These lawyers won’t settle for less.  I’ve discovered 5 common attitudes and habits among these lawyers — how many do you share? But first, a… Continue Reading

Letter to a young lawyer

Posted in For new lawyers, Leadership, The practice

Some months ago, Stephanie West Allen requested that fellow bloggers write a “letter to a young lawyer.”  Susan Carter Liebel has recently renewed the request  and I am delighted to join in, at last. To the new attorney: Welcome to the practice!  You’ve learned much over the last three years of law school, and you… Continue Reading

New issue of The Complete Lawyer: Dealing with the jerk at work

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, News, The practice

  “There have always been, and inevitably will be, a certain number of bullies, braggarts, brutes and bigots who manage to insinuate themselves into any assemblage of humans, the legal profession not excluded. In the past, these misfits have been dealt with by peer pressure and sanctions; however, as the rude, degrading behaviors creep ever… Continue Reading

“Managing up” in law firms

Posted in Leadership, The practice

 One of the interesting things about practicing law is that, until relatively recently, little discussion occurred about how to advance in practice beyond becoming a top-notch practitioner.  While I have no doubt that other skills  have always been required (the ability to communicate well, to lead well, etc.), it’s quite clear to me that more… Continue Reading

Law and the tightening economy

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, The practice

 This week’s article AmLaw 200 Managing Partners Issue Fog Advisory for 2008 provides a clear snapshot of some of the challenges facing law firms and lawyers these days.  According to the article, a “substantial number” of managing partners (25% of those polled) are “uncertain” about their firms’ prospects in 2008, largely due to the slowing transactional market… Continue Reading

What’s the most important step you can take?

Posted in Billing time, Coaching for lawyers, Evaluations and feedback, The practice, Time management/productivity, Work/life balance

 Only 34 days remain in 2007, including weekends and holidays.  Before we know it, the books will close and another year will have passed.  What’s the most important step you can take today to ensure that you’re well-positioned as you move into 2008? Business development: Perhaps you could set aside a couple of hours to… Continue Reading

Change your mind, change your practice(s).

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, The practice

We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them.                                                        — Albert Einstein This is one of my favorite quotes.  It is, at least for me, a truism that I must change my perspective, my way of thinking, my approach to a problem before I can possibly solve the problem.  Another… Continue Reading

Relationship or one-night stand: How law firms view associates (and clients)

Posted in Client development, The practice

 As those who frequently reads this blog know, I’m a proponent of planned disengagement from work to facilitate full engagement while working.  Tomorrow will be a regular working day (complete with client meetings and the regular Tuesday Shorts on the blog) but the rest of the week will find me cleaning, cooking, and spending time… Continue Reading

Law, leadership, and the brain

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, The practice

 Thanks to Stephanie West Allen’s Idealawg, I’ve been mulling over a couple of interesting articles that connect neuroscience with the law and with leadership.  First up is a Wall Street Journal article titled, Except in One Career, Our Brains Seem Built for Optimism.  Research suggests not only that the human brain is predisposed to an… Continue Reading

Bad clients and bad news

Posted in Quick hits, The practice

There is such a thing as a bad client…  Tom Kane’s Legal Marketing Blog inquires, Are Bad Clients Keeping You Up At Night?  If you have bad clients (or wonder whether you do), the answer is surely yes.  Tom draws from a post on the Bootstrapper blog to help identify bad client characteristics and to… Continue Reading

Law firm leadership notes

Posted in The practice

Bruce MacEwen’s Adam Smith, Esq. offers Four Leaders on the State of the Profession — Make That, the “Industry,” a report from a panel discussion entitled Developing the Next Generation of Law Firm Leaders.  The four speakers were leaders (firm chair/managing partner level) from O’Melveny & Myers, K&L/Gates, Dechert, and Paul Weiss.  Their comments provide an interesting view… Continue Reading

Office Politics: excluded from the group

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, The practice

One of the enduring challenges for any professional is navigating office politics.  Regardless of the profession, office relationships can be extremely challenging and rewarding — sometimes even at the same time.  Challenges can come from a variety of sources: simple misunderstandings, failure to appreciate different skills and approaches, resentment about coworker’s work habits, etc.  Office conflict… Continue Reading

Practice skill: resilience (part 1)

Posted in Coaching for lawyers, The practice

I recently ran across a post by Ruthie on Ruthie’s Law inquiring, “Are you tough enough?”  Ruthie suggests that: The most successful lawyers are the ones who can accept that occassionally making mistakes is the price of progression, pick themselves up, move on and vow not to make the same mistake again. The most successful of all… Continue Reading