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Category Archives: Risk Management

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The Intersection of Law and Psychology

Posted in Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Uncategorized, Wellness, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
On February 21-22 of this year, the Boyd School of Law and Saltman Center for Conflict Resolution at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas held a very interesting conference on Psychology and Lawyering.  Attendance and enthusiasm were high and organizers anticipate future conferences well-fueled with the expanding research on these related areas. Here are some… Continue Reading

Telling it Straight

Posted in Culture, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Uncategorized, Wellness, Work Satisfaction
Jennifer Alvey “is a recovering lawyer who was once one of the 20% of Feelers in law firms.”  Now she coaches other lawyers in the Nashville area, many of whom are miserable practicing law. In her post “Why Are There So Many Asshole Lawyers?”, she tells it straight about her and her clients’ experiences in “dysfunctional”… Continue Reading

Diversity in Personal Style

Posted in Announcements, Conflict, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction, Work/Life Balance
Muir spoke at the Center for Legal Inclusiveness Summit  in Denver, Colorado on Monday, May 12, a well-run event drawing people from all directions, despite a spring snowstorm.  Muir’s topic was “Achieving the Advantages of Diversity in Personal Style,” a review of the narrow personal style profile that prevails in many legal organizations, the hazards… Continue Reading

The Thing About Blind Spots

Posted in Assessments, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork
Discrimination comes in all forms. In our 2011 entry on the dismissal of an EEOC suit against Bloomberg, we noted that Karen Lockwood, a senior female partner in Howrey, a Washington D.C. firm and then president of the D.C. Women’s Bar Association, made a distinction between discrimination and unconscious bias: “Law firms are way beyond discrimination…… Continue Reading

Sharpening Our Prediction Skills

Posted in Assessments, Client Service, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Management, Profitability, Risk Management, Uncategorized
The Lawyer’s Global Litigation Top 50 2013 annual survey of senior in-house UK lawyers has found that projected litigation costs provided by counsel to their corporate clients were off by as much as 100%, with the average being 40%. “[E]ven experienced law firms are often woefully inept at accurately forecasting litigation costs,” the report concluded. That mis-forecasting… Continue Reading

Addendum to Lust

Posted in Client Service, Conflict, Culture, Decision-Making, Emotional Intelligence, Ethics, Management, Risk Management, Uncategorized
While our last posts have discussed the law and warmth, love, compassion, niceness and caring, there remains the unspoken kind of ardor.  No, not that one.  The one between lawyers and their clients. One of the most all-time popular posts on this blog continues to be “Practical Practice Tips: Lawyers Lusting After Clients and Their Spouses.” … Continue Reading

What About Just Being Nice?

Posted in Books, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Compensation, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Pro Bono and Community Service, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Uncategorized
So you’re not really feeling the love?  Or even the compassion?  How about being nice–can you at least get into being nice? Fitting nicely into our recent blog posts about the more heartful arts, the November/December 2013 issue of the ABA Law Practice Magazine is entitled “The Business of Giving,” and features a story entitled “Being Nice.”… Continue Reading

Muir Webinar on Emotions in the Office

Posted in Announcements, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Risk Management, Teamwork, Wellness, Work Satisfaction
Muir presented a Webinar September 12, 2013 to members of the Organization of Legal Professionals on “Crying Happens: Managing Emotions in the Office” tailored to recognizing and managing the emotional challenges in a legal office.  Comments included “wonderful” and “good stuff!”… Continue Reading

And Further in the Bad News Department…

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Uncategorized
As if we needed any further confirmation of the dropping demand for legal services, TyMetrix, the giant electronic billing clearing house, recently reported their “LegalView Legal Market Index,”  based on the purchases of legal services by the LegalView 70.  These are 70 large corporate clients across eight industries, 21 of which are Fortune 500, with… Continue Reading

No Growth and Hands Out

Posted in Business Development, Compensation, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Risk Management, Uncategorized
A flurry of reports this month on law firm financial results for the first half of 2013 have come in with fairly uniformly disappointing news. Flat Growth Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group reports that “while the industry is no longer in freefall… tepid demand and intense pricing pressure continue to plague most firms.”  Rate growth… Continue Reading

Clueless at the Top?

Posted in Assessments, Books, Coaching, Communication, Compensation, Innovation, Law Departments, Management, Mentoring, Professional Development, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction
While workers with high emotional intelligence are consistently the best performers on all steps of the corporate ladder, interestingly enough it is those at the top level of management who have the lowest overall average emotional intelligence (EI or EQ)  in organizations. Prompting one journalist to contend that “Your Boss Probably Wouldn’t Pass Yale’s Emotional Intelligence… Continue Reading

The Dilemma of Managing Partners of Mid-Size Law Firms

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Conflict, Decision-Making, Innovation, Leadership, Management, Risk Management
A recent survey of 75 managing partners of mid-size firms, i.e. mostly 20-75 lawyers, gave an interesting picture of the challenges those leaders are facing. For starters, these MPs have no job description, no identified successor and no exit strategy.  They are provided with no leadership training, and do not have a finalized firm strategic… Continue Reading

Those Gorilla Signatures–Size Does Matter

Posted in Assessments, Decision-Making, Diversity, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Risk Management, Uncategorized
In the May 2013 Harvard Business Review, researchers reported on companies led by CEOs who have large signatures–an indicator, the authors of the study contend, of narcissism, usually characterized as being dominating, vain and self-centered.  The trait is named after the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image. According to Wikipedia, “persons… Continue Reading

Shall We Raise the Profits of Partners?

Posted in Books, Business Development, Client Service, Compensation, Conflict, Culture, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Succession, Uncategorized, Work Satisfaction
The Altman-Weil 5th annual survey of law firm leaders has been recently published to much commentary. Some of the more striking results of the survey relate to leaders’ assessment of the market challenges (primarily reflecting the viewpoints of 250+lawyer law firms) and their firms’ ability to meet them.  Over the next 24 months, most managers cited the… Continue Reading

The World’s Best Legal System?

Posted in Books, Client Service, Ethics, Leadership, Management, Risk Management
After hearing in one of our lastest posts that China may be the United States of the 21st Century, is there any arena where the US still clearly reigns supreme?  Niall Ferguson, a Harvard University professor and Hoover Institution fellow, tackles that question in his recent book,  the cheerfully titled The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay… Continue Reading

Communist Leadership and Pornography

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, Innovation, Law Departments, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Productivity, Professional Development, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Teamwork, Work Satisfaction
Speaking of China, while touring a  job fair in Tianjin last week, China’s President Xi Jiping  answered his own question to a local official as to what the critical ingredients of  good Communist leaders are. “Intelligence quotient and emotional quotient – which is more important?” the president evidently asked.  When the official answered “both,” it was reported that… Continue Reading

The UK Addition to the Three Hundred Pound Chinese Swiss Gorilla

Posted in Business Development, Innovation, Management, Profitability, Risk Management
Coming not long after the disappointment of NOT announcing at their partners meeting in Hong Kong this past March the anticipated merger of King & Wood Mallesons with WongPartnership, KWM is now expected to vote on a merger with SJ Berwin, a UK firm established by Stanley J Berwin in 1982. The effective date is speculated to… Continue Reading

Only Slightly Higher Hopes

Posted in Business Development, Client Service, Decision-Making, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management, Uncategorized
Our last post reported on  Citibank’s first quarter financial analysis and noted that in spite of “alarmingly low” growth in demand currently, managing partners of mostly AmLaw 100 firms were exhibiting an unusual display of optimism:   they expect overall demand for legal services to increase this year.  A more nuanced snapshot of managing partner… Continue Reading

Coming Into 2013 with Lower Demand and Higher Hopes

Posted in Business Development, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Risk Management
First quarter 2013 results obtained from 166 firms included an “alarming” drop in demand of 3.3% from the comparable quarter for 2012, according to Citibank’s  Law Firm Group.  Lower revenues this year had been anticipated because of last year’s push to capture revenue ahead of 2013’s tax increases.  And revenues were in fact lower, just much… Continue Reading

Lawyer Personalities at Above the Law

Posted in Assessments, Business Development, Client Service, Coaching, Communication, Conflict, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Law Departments, Law Education, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Professional Development, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, White Papers, Work Satisfaction
Above the Law columnist Susan Moon, an in-house lawyer at Wyndham Worldwide, gave our The Unique Psychological World of Lawyers a nice plug last week, just hours after much of the data in it was discussed at a presentation at Yale Law School.  An older article (since updated) and a “bit on the dry side,”… Continue Reading

Attrition is Back!

Posted in Compensation, Culture, Leadership, Management, Productivity, Profitability, Recruitment, Retention, Risk Management, Work Satisfaction
A question was posed recently in the press: – "Why are lawyers such terrible managers?"  The article appeared in CNN’s online Money/Fortune magazine.  It cites statistics from the National Association for Legal Professionals Foundation that in 2010 law firms with 100 and fewer lawyers and 251-500 attorneys lost nearly one fifth of their associates.  This is after the… Continue Reading

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

The Lawsuit(s) Whose Name We Dare Not Speak Part 2

Posted in Risk Management
A while back we considered in a couple of entries the issue of eroding ethics in the legal arena: What’s Ethics Got to Do With It? Part 1 and What’s Ethics Got to Do With It?  Part 2. Apart from the regretful plunge in ethical behavior, another consequence of the well-documented and increasingly evident problem of lawyers failing to perform professionally… Continue Reading