Friday, October 12th was the last day of the 2018 annual IBA conference being held in Rome, Italy. Over 7,000 lawyers from around the world converged on the Eternal City to listen to dozens and dozens of programs on topics of interest, including updates in subject matter expertise, innovations in legal process and other subjects of rising interest.
Muir spoke on a late-afternoon panel on Monday that discussed winning and retaining clients through cross cultural understanding. In spite of its late time and competing programs, the room was full and the panelists, representing Brazil, Finland, Japan, the UK and the US, covered obvious and less obvious aspects of working cross-culturally, including considerations of gender, religion, deductive vs inductive thinking styles, civil vs common law traditions, and emotional intelligence.
On Thursday morning, Muir participated on a panel, chaired by New York lawyer Mark Hsu, on Emotional Intelligence and the Law that included speakers from Scotland, Germany, Hungary and New York. Drawing from her book Beyond Smart: Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence, Muir gave an overview of how using emotional intelligence skills in the unique context of law practice helps lawyers have a more successful and satisfying career.
Panelists discussed how important achieving an emotional equilibrium is to managers of firms and departments, to getting and keeping clients, and to dealing with professional and personal stress, and made suggestions on how to improve lawyers’ EI skills.
Although attendance had generally fallen off at working sessions by Thursday and panelists were expecting a sparse crowd, in fact the double room was filled to capacity with the overflow standing in the corridor.
The takeaway from this conference is the good news that emotional intelligence is a topic of increasing interest and relevance to lawyers around the world.