“This book tells you all you need to know about how to get on.” The Times

“Relatively few books have been written with assistant solicitors in mind, about how to succeed at the business of being a lawyer… fewer still have devised a programme for so doing that runs alongside a book. This book does both.”Law Society (The Law Management Section)

5 star rating HR Magazine

The Big 3 (brand, business & leadership) Blog

Get out of your head

I had lunch a while back with a lawyer friend who was worried about her job.  So she spent most of our lunch playing “What if.” (“What if I lose my job?”  “What if I don’t find another one?”  “What if I can’t pay my mortgage?”)   Thinking about the conversation later I was reminded of a remark once made by Mark Twain that he had been through some really rough times during his life, and in fact some of them had actually happened.  We all do this.  I call it “awfulizing”, meaning, taking a situation and contemplating its worst-case scenario.  We can put ourselves through hell and usually for no reason— because in most cases the worst case doesn’t happen. 

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Welcome failure as feedback

When inventing the light bulb, Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before eventually succeeding.  When asked how it felt to fail so often, Edison replied that he had not failed at all—he had just discovered thousands of ways how not to make a light bulb.  We should all attempt to cultivate such a healthy attitude to failure, because it’s from our failures that we learn the most.  When we fail, we should analyze our mistake, figure out where we went wrong, and then try to discover a better method next time.   Failure is the best (and toughest) feedback there is!   

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See the big picture

I’ve sat through so many meetings throughout my career that I developed a habit of each time deciding who was the best leader at the meeting—strangely enough, usually my answer failed to match the person who was the designated leader!  The true leader was typically not the brightest person in the room either.  Instead, the person making the strongest contribution was often the one able to take a step back from the detailed content and see the bigger picture.  For example, how the project fits into the politics of the client company.  Or how the objectives of the client can be achieved taking into account various stakeholders, with their particular interests and goals.  And, of course, a strong leader understands that every project involves people and their personal feelings and interests, and determines exactly what these might be.

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Lead through relationships

I was presenting at a law firm retreat this week.  After my discussion on leadership one lawyer said to me, “You obviously think leadership is all about relationships.”  Well, she had clearly been listening because I believe relationships are key for effective leadership and this had, not unnaturally, been the main point of my talk.  I’ve learned to emphasize this point because so many lawyers believe that it’s their thinking and their persuasive abilities that enhance leadership prospects.  In actuality, it’s your relationships that make you a leader—or not. 

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Social sensitivity creates greater collective abilities

In my book Juggling the Big 3 for Lawyers, I urge lawyers to synergize and work together on the basis that the group can achieve far more than any single individual—especially when the styles and expertise of the group members are complementary. While this seems obvious, I know that lawyers love evidence. So here it is:

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