“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

Don’t mistake technical abilities for future potential

One of the biggest mistakes I find in law firms and young lawyers is that they mistake current high performance for future potential. Superstar technical performers will have to step up into more complex roles if they want to achieve partnership: they’ll have to become business developers and inspiring leaders.  Aspiring candidates should be tested for their abilities and ambitions in these directions—and long before they might be expected to demonstrate them.

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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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Duke Ellington—A Model for Leadership

Yesterday I met with a young partner I used to coach. When she initially came to me for help she was working around the clock and feeling overwhelmed. We then discovered that her main problem was a near-complete inability to delegate. It’s been a challenge, but she has since learned to entrust her associates with increasing responsibilities, and has even gained enough confidence to assume that they can deliver to her expectations. (Trust is the essence of successful delegation.) The result is that she is no longer micromanaging and is able to focus on the bigger picture—the things that will move her career forward—allowing her to become a much more effective leader.

 

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