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Law People

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Category Archives: Law Education

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Who Wants to Go to Law School?

Posted in Client Service, Compensation, Culture, Law Education, Management, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management
Given our last entry, it is not surprising that law school applications have been going down dramatically over the last few years. With the high cost of law school, the paucity of jobs (only half the number of jobs as there are law school graduates) and the dimming career and earnings prospects for lawyers who do get law jobs, young… Continue Reading

Law School–the Bomb

Posted in Compensation, Law Education, Management, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Succession, Work Satisfaction
There aren’t many developments in the legal industry that literally bowl you over–okay, the demise of Dewey & LeBoeuf was a fast-paced shocker. Hearing over the last few months questions about the future viability of one or another well-respected law school has been another.  Let’s review the bidding in that part of the legal field:  Unprepared to Practice.  There… 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

Embracing The Next New Thing–Or Getting Run Over By It?

Posted in Client Service, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction
Speaking of the industry being "over-lawyered," one of the reasons that that conclusion is being reached is because of the impact of incoming new technologies, which are not even yet being fully felt in the industry–technologies that both raise the hope of more targeted and cost-efficient client service while at the same time spelling the demise of many back-office, data slogging, routinized legal jobs.  The current… Continue Reading

Downsizing the Legal Industry

Posted in Compensation, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management
In case anyone questions whether the legal industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation, you might consider some of these developments:  The number of US law school applicants is down almost 25%, or over 200,000 applicants, over the last two years. Which might be in part because the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over the next ten years only… 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

The Advantages of Depression

Posted in Assessments, Decision-Making, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Recruitment, Risk Management, Wellness, Work Satisfaction
The rate of depression among lawyers is widely recognized as a multiple–in some studies a double-digit multiple–of the rate of depression in the general population and also in other professions.  This rate is high by the second semester of law school and only escalates over time. There has been speculation as to whether depression in lawyers is a condition… Continue Reading

Learning Emotional Intelligence

Posted in Client Service, Coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
Even the original researchers in the emotional intelligence field–Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey–have taken different sides in the controversy as to whether EI can be learned.  That uncertainty has put law firm professional development managers in a difficult spot, second-guessing the usefulness of providing lawyers with EI training programs. The most recent research suggests that, instead of EI being an attribute you… Continue Reading

Muir Keynote Speaker for Hofstra Law School Boot Camp

Posted in Announcements, Emotional Intelligence, Law Education, Leadership, Professional Development
Muir will be the Keynote Speaker at Hofstra Law School’s Boot Camp on Tuesday, January 11, 2011.  Her presenation “Emotional Intelligence—Your Secret Weapon for a Successful Law Practice”  will cover what the term ”emotional intelligence” means, the history of its discovery and development as a leadership skill, how lawyers score in emotional intelligence, how it… Continue Reading

Will Law Schools Help Build a Healthier Profession?

Posted in Culture, Law Education, Mentoring, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
According to a recent article in the ABA Journal, "Law schools need to do more than teach the legal basics–they also have a moral obligation to produce healthy and satisfied lawyers."  Specifically, Michael Serota, a recent law grad, suggests in his opinion column in the New York Law Journal that law schools "help students identify their… Continue Reading

Georgetown Law School Center for the Study of the Legal Profession’s Conference — “Law Firm Evolution: Brave New World or Business as Usual?”

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Compensation, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Law Departments, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Succession, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
It was my great pleasure–something I don’t often say about a conference– to attend this invitation-only gathering last week, March 21-23, of both august and up-and-coming law industry professionals as they prognosticated the future of our practice and what that might in fact look like up close for a broad array of providers and clients.  While I will digest and relay over the… Continue Reading

From Generalization to Specialization and Back Again

Posted in Client Service, Law Education, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork
If you stay with it long enough, a practice that goes out of fashion will often come back around again.  Those of us of a certain age remember when the first year or more at a big law firm was spent "rotating" around departments to get a good feel for the full range of legal practice. … Continue Reading

Sotomayor and Predicting Who Rises to the Top of the Lawyering Heap

Posted in Assessments, Diversity, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
The recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on the New Haven Fire Department vocational advancement exam in Ricci v. DeStefano once again stirs the waters on the question of how to choose the best from among a crowd. (See our entry "The Outliers of Law–Embracing Heresy".) The "best" in this case was determined to be simply the highest scorers, even if… Continue Reading

Working with Introversion

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Law Departments, Law Education, Leadership, Mentoring, Professional Development, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
Lawyers are introverts, big time.  According to Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) results, almost 3/4th of lawyers, compared to only 1/4th of the general public, are introverts.  That means they go inward to charge their batteries– preferring internal introspection to external interaction.  On the Caliper Profile personality test, lawyers also rank astonishingly low in the sociability trait–which measures how comfortable a… Continue Reading

Growing Leaders at Harvard and Other Business Schools

Posted in Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Emotional Intelligence, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development
Growing future leaders at our best business schools increasingly involves teaching "softer" skills, and often using personal style assessments. One of the more rigorous and long-standing low-residence courses at Harvard Business School is the nine-week Owner President Management Course (OPM), which spans three years.  Roughly 120 business owners, only half of whom are usually from the US, are… Continue Reading

Assessing Courage and Courageously Assessing

Posted in Assessments, Coaching, Culture, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Law Departments, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction
"We evaluate ‘courage’ as a behavioral characteristic of our lawyers, and we link this evaluation to compensation," says John P. Donahue, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Rhodia Inc., in the July 2007 issue of InsideCounsel.   Rhodia has "embraced professional objectivity of its in-house lawyers as a core value" and Donahue wants to make sure that "our… Continue Reading

A Short History of the Billable Hour and the Consequences of Its Tyranny

Posted in Culture, Law Education, Management, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Work/Life Balance
Herewith a short but concise history of the twisted path that has led to billing by the legal hour, and the consequences of its tyranny. During the 1800s, US legal fees were capped "per service" by state law, and litigation fees were usually paid by the losing party.  Some lawyers were able to collect "bonuses" or charge retainers to circumvent the… Continue Reading

Partnering with Law Schools to Improve Diversity

Posted in Law Education, Mentoring, Professional Development
Pepper Hamilton has recruited one of their of-counsel attorneys who sits on a diversity committee to be responsible for a new program that Pepper Hamilton is sponsoring with Villanova University School of Law.  Pepper Hamilton will provide two three-year law school scholarships, help screen applicants for the scholarships, hire minority law students as summer associates… 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