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Archive for the ‘Practice of Law’ Columns

Making the Shift From People-Pleasing to Altruism

Are you a people pleaser?

Do you agree to things before you’ve had a chance even to think it over?

Do you find yourself overcommitted and taking care of so much business for others that you have no time left for yourself?

Altruism is the instinct to help others and is a significant value. When I ask lawyers what they like most about their work, the answer will often touch on how they help. Helping people out can be intrinsically rewarding. It feels good.

People-pleasing is the dark side of altruism. It is saying ‘yes’ and doing things out of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What if Our Access to Justice Efforts Succeed?

During my time with a strategic consultancy several years ago, one of our group retreats turned to the subject of marketing. Ideas were floated and plans were drawn up for a series of articles, speaking appearances, and other means by which we could raise our individual and collective profiles and drive more business through the door.

Eventually, I put my hand up to make what I felt was a salient point: Before the meeting began, we had all been chatting about how busy we were and how crammed our schedules had become. Before we engage in a business development campaign, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Powerful Self-Coaching With Two Words: Get Better

Janet is preparing for the review she’s having in the afternoon. She knows she’s going to get some positive feedback, but she’s also going to hear about some things that did not go so well, and some of it may surprise her.

To get ready for this meeting, she says to herself, “I’m going to use this as an opportunity to learn about where I can focus on getting better in my legal practice.”

Maryann is stuck on a tough assignment. The partner she reports to is busy and trusts Maryann to take a run at drafting something quite complex . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

What Do Women Lawyers Really Want?

Why We Wrote This Article

The President of Sensei Enterprises, co-author Sharon Nelson, is a woman. She is involved with multiple groups and associations of women lawyers. For two years, she has been hearing that women suffered more than men during the pandemic and that they have “lost ground” professionally. So . . . along with her co-authors, who are accustomed to a woman leader, we set out together to learn and report on what has happened to women lawyers in the last couple of years and what they now want for their professional lives.

Life Pre-Pandemic was No Bed

. . . [more]
Posted in: Legal Technology, Practice of Law

How Mindset Matters in Leadership

These days, I’m being asked to do a lot of presentations and training on law firm leadership. People with a marketing background tend to gravitate toward this area because so much of what we do focusses on helping to improve the leadership skills of the lawyers we work with – be if for practice groups, client teams, or simply to improve management of their own practice.

I’ve been focussed on this for years, but it’s taken a while for law firms to get here…to understand how critical strong leadership is. Back in my days in a national firm, I created . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Marketing, Practice of Law

How to Be a Good Litigation Partner

How to Be a Good Litigation Junior is the title of a CLEBC full-day conference every two years.

This year as I prepared for my presentation, I couldn’t help but think about what I might say if I was invited to a similar conference aimed at senior lawyers: “How to be a Good Litigation Partner.”

Many well-meaning, kind and ethical litigation partners have some blind spots when it comes to their leadership.

Leadership is a learned skill that develops with attention and effort. There are so many books and courses on leadership because it isn’t easy. It is all about . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Think Again – Managing Unhelpful Thinking

Jane is sitting with her partner at the dinner table, but her thoughts are miles away. She is thinking about an offhand comment she made to a client and worrying about how this could become a significant problem. Maybe he will complain and ask the partner to take her off the file. Perhaps the partner will complain to others and drop her from other files. Could she get fired?

Jane is so anxious she can’t get to sleep. She returns to work the next day expecting the worst, but nothing happens. There are no complaints. Later in the week, the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Creating a Workplace for the Next Generation

Very few lawyers in modern law firms devote much attention to whether their firm will still be around a generation from now. They’re far more focused on the next hour to be billed, the next call from the client, and the next round of draws and bonuses. They’re immersed in today, and as far as they’re concerned, tomorrow — and the law firm — can take care of itself.

But if you’re taking the time to read this column, then you’re different. You’re one of the few people giving serious thought to whether the firm will still be around in . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

When Should You Leave?

Law firms are in the midst of one of the most difficult “talent” markets they’ve ever faced. Every law firm I’ve worked with over the past two years has been desperately seeking qualified (or, you know, breathing) Associates and staff members to deal with business expansion, partner retirements or in particular, gaps left by those who left one firm for another.

Those Associates are being lured away by sometimes weekly calls from recruiters in search of a new commission. They’ve somehow convinced law firms to pay salaries well over industry standard, and to create signing bonuses more in line with . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Coaching Questions for January: Which Two Will You Choose?

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2022. Whether you are starting the New Year in a positive situation or find yourself facing many challenges, it can be helpful to remember there is always much within your ability to control and influence.

To help kickstart some reflection and to not overburden and overwhelm, what 2 questions would you ask yourself about what you want to give focus and attention to this year? To help you along, I have enlisted the help of my colleagues and fellow coaches at AMP (Associate Mentoring Plus).

Kathryn McNaughton, AMP Director of Education and Coach

  1. How
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law

2 Signs Your Scarcity Mindset Is a Problem

Fear of not having enough files, status, or money underpins many recurring woes that arise in legal practice.

Is either of these scarcity mindset challenges showing up for you or a partner at your law firm?

You are constantly buried in too much work. Clients are clamoring for attention. You feel like you are on a hamster wheel of deadlines and stress.

You cycle through associates who burn out dealing with your last-minute emergencies and leave your firm.

Still, you worry: “I can’t turn away work; what if I don’t get another file?”

Having too many clients and work and . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Time and Relative Dimensions in Slaw

As part of a holiday party gift-exchange mixup, you have been accidentally given a time machine. Since the Rules of Professional Conduct don’t specifically say you can’t tamper with history, you may now use it to travel throughout all of the past and future. You decide to visit great legal moments along the timeline, because you’re weird.

Respond to the following scenarios with the choice that seems the most appropriate.

1. You are present as the Code of Hammurabi is finalized in 1750 BC. Impressed by your Fitbit, Hammurabi invites you to add a line to the Code. What do . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Practice of Law