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Category Archives: Ethics

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Nice Guys Finish Last? A Meditation on a Questionable Virtue

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
Most of us have very high standards for the work we deliver our clients.  We demand from ourselves and those on our team the best possible product. "Performance at whatever price" might be our mantra, even if it requires nagging and criticizing or even bullying.  Yet confrontational environments feel uncomfortable to most people and over the long run are in fact not conducive… Continue Reading

What’s Ethics Got to Do With It? Part 1

Posted in Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Professional Development, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
Recent reporting happened to recount within days of each other three instances of fraud in the legal world that bear some reflection.  In New York in late July, after a short deliberation by the jury, two attorneys were convicted of 10 felony counts of perpetuating for over almost a decade mortgage fraud, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud… Continue Reading

Muir to Speak on Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Wellness, Work Satisfaction
Ronda Muir of Law People Management LLC, Randall Kiser of DecisionSet, and Daniel S. Bowling III of Duke Law School will be co-presenting a Center for Competitive Management audio presentation on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 2pm EDT entitled "Lawyering with Emotional Intelligence." The presentation will cover the relatively new science of emotional intelligence, its relationship to… Continue Reading

Practical Practice Tips: Lawyers Lusting After Clients and Their Spouses

Posted in Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Ethics, Management, Risk Management
In our Practical Practice Tips: The Art of Ending Work Relationships, we concluded by promising another entry on the thorny problem of conducting personal relationships with clients and/or their spouses.  This is a temptation that seems to be irresistible to many, with legion stories cataloging bad behavior and worse– everything from the divorce lawyer who got caught in the courthouse literally… Continue Reading

Updates Galore: Hospitality, ABSs and Law School Hell

Posted in Client Service, Ethics, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Recruitment, Risk Management
There’s so much going on in the legal world these days, it’s hard to keep up.  Here are some updates on topics we’ve covered recently.  Hospitality In connection with our entry Bringing the Hospitality Mind-Set to the Law is this recent inquiry into what makes a small hotel with no designer touches or fancy perks like restaurants or… Continue Reading

The “Blame It On Law School” Controversy, or Unrequited Law Students

Posted in Compensation, Culture, Ethics, Law Education, Management, Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
Perhaps the only players in the legal world getting a harsher strafing these days than law firms are law schools.  The biggest complaints are 1) financial: that they unfairly entice students into their folds on promises of big payday legal jobs that most will never have a shot at and that the law schools do so at tuition rates that impose mortgage-sized… Continue Reading

Natural Morality

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Culture, Decision-Making, Ethics, Management, Risk Management
David Brooks’ editorial in the Friday, July 23rd New York Times was on morality, in particular the type which naturalists view as another outcome of evolution. The naturalist position is that, much as we have over time developed receptors for sweetness and saltiness, we have also developed receptors that recognize fairness and cruelty.  At a recent… Continue Reading

Muir to Lead Discussion on Lateral HIring and Integration

Posted in Announcements, Coaching, Communication, Compensation, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
From 2:00 pm to 3:15 EST on Thursday April 29, 2010 Muir will lead an audio conference discussion hosted by the Center for Ccompetitive Management (CCM) entitled "Lateral Partner Hires: Selecting and Integrating the Best Fit for the Firm," centering on the issues associated with hiring and integrating lateral partners. A record number of lateral partner… Continue Reading

What We Can Learn from the HOGS

Posted in Books, Client Service, Communication, Culture, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management
"In times of drastic change, it is the learners who will inherit the earth.  The learned will be perfectly positioned for a world that no longer exists."  Swarthmore College’s 2009 Lax Conference’s keynote speaker Richard Teerlink started his presentation with this quote from Eric Hoffer.   Teerlink led Harley-Davidson’s fabled turnaround, fueled in part by his belief that… Continue Reading

High Performance Coaching for Low Performing Times

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Communication, Compensation, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Law Departments, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Pro Bono and Community Service, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Succession, Wellness, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
This is the time of year when many of us take stock of our direction and goals and make plans to step up our effectiveness.  This particular year, 2009, many lawyers are facing an extremely difficult once-in-a-century marketplace for which no one has been truly prepared.  So we may also find ourselves questioning our ability to successfully grapple with the challenges ahead.   How to acquire… Continue Reading

Making Law School Practical

Posted in Client Service, Ethics, Pro Bono and Community Service, Professional Development
Washington and Lee University School of Law has announced a plan to replace all third-year academic classes with hands-on "experiential" learning.  Recently approved unanimously by faculty, the new curriculum will be phased in over 3-4 years and teach practical skills by using simulations and real-client interactions.  It will also emphasize non-traditional topics like attorney-client communication, working… Continue Reading

Taking “Bah Humbug” out of Success in the New Year

Posted in Books, Ethics, Management
Is living a life filled with distrust and deception the price of achieving professional success?  As we head into another year, it is a query worth pursuing. Steve Katz, adjunct professor at Northwestern University’s Business Institutions Program, points out a bestseller published in 1998 that purportedly draws from centuries of powerful leaders (on the order of Machiavelli,… Continue Reading

Building an Ethical Culture

Posted in Books, Client Service, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention
One of the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley rules for publicly traded companies is that they demonstrate that they are promoting an "ethical culture" in the workplace.  What does that mean? "The Manager’s Book of Decencies:  How Small Gestures Build Great Companies" by Steve Harrison, chairman of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based Lee Hecht Harrison, the employee outplacement… Continue Reading

The Superman General Counsel

Posted in Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Professional Development, Risk Management
Behavioral science is not often invoked in the halls of law departments, but maybe it should be.  Two recent articles highlight the importance to a GC’s success of understanding why people think and act as they do. General counsel are in the position of having to reconcile two jobs: being both a business partner in the management of the… Continue Reading

Banking Our Image

Posted in Client Service, Communication, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Pro Bono and Community Service, Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management
Burnishing an image that is bankable is what every professional tries to do–both for him/herself individually and for the profession as well.  Doctors take bed-side manners lessons, the NYPD are being instructed on common courtesies.  What about lawyers?  What do they do to bring out the gold? From the looks of things, not much. A Harris… Continue Reading

Developing a Risk Conscious Firm Culture

Posted in Announcements, Culture, Ethics, Management, Retention, Risk Management
Ronda Muir will be making a presentation on managing the people risks that arise in law firms at a conference for Managing Partners in Chicago on Thursday, June 21. Sponsored by ARK Group, the conference, entitled “Developing a Risk Conscious Culture in Your Firm,” explores the relationship and interdependence of ethics, risk management and legal compliance.… Continue Reading

What’s Morals Got To Do With It?

Posted in Books, Client Service, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Pro Bono and Community Service, Productivity, Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction
Should lawyers “do the right thing” in addition to “being right”?  A favorite cartoon depicts two lawyers at a desk evidently discussing strategy. One lawyer says to the other: “Is it right?… Is it fair?  Get a grip, Carlton—we’re a law firm!” Integrity In an interesting study issued recently, the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence found that… Continue Reading

Raves for Muir Presentation on Risk Management

Posted in Client Service, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Pro Bono and Community Service, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
Ronda Muir, Esq., Senior Consultant at Robin Rolfe Resources, was featured as a speaker at a conference on Risk Management for the Modern Law Firm, sponsored by ARK Group. The conference was held in Chicago on April 17 and 18, 2007.  Muir’s presentation was on the risks that arise in managing a law firm’s greatest asset: its people. She… Continue Reading

Teaching the Business of Law

Posted in Coaching, Ethics, Management, Mentoring, Productivity
Temple University’s Beasley School of Law is including a course on law firm management in its curriculum for third–year law students starting this past month. Called "Legal, Professional and Business Aspects of Law Practice," the class is divided into four sections:  law firm economics, time management, client development, and ethics related to the business of firms.  Some of the… Continue Reading

“Resolving Clients’ Dilemmas”

Posted in Client Service, Conflict, Ethics, Law Education, Management, Professional Development, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction
Harvard Law School’s goal in its revised curriculum this year is to teach young lawyers how to “resolve client dilemmas.” How exactly is that done successfully in the modern practice of law? By calculating dollars won in the final judgment, for example? By assessing the investment of time and energy versus the payoff?  Everyone has by now heard… Continue Reading