Effective Legal Leadership Assignment

Effective Legal Leadership Assignment

Effective Legal Leadership Assignment

Effective Legal Leadership Assignment

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Week 10 discussion Discussion – Week 10 COLLAPSE Effective Ethical, Moral, and Legal Leadership

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More and more law firms are becoming frustrated at their inability to achieve a consensus and make timely decisions on matters of firm policy, strategy, marketing, and management. Missed opportunities and false starts on firm management and marketing projects are often rampant. Many lawyers are leaving their law firms to go into solo practice in order to avoid the hassle of group practice and the resulting stagnation that frequently exists. Clients are leaving law firms as well. Consider the following statements often expressed to us by some of our law firm clients:

“We have no management scheme”
“There is no one to lead the charge — no team effort”
“The firm does not have a goal or charted sense of direction”
“The attorneys can’t decide anything”
“Firm management is a free for all”
“Things don’t get done because no one is responsible. Conflict exists because anyone may be in charge”
“The firm is strong on ideas but weak on implementation”
“The firm lacks leadership and focus”
“The firm has not found a way to project its image”
“I do not believe that we are capable of implementing any thing”
“The firm is too busy practicing law to have time to manage the firm and engage in long range developmental activities”
“Time spent on firm management by attorneys is not properly rewarded”
“The firm needs teamwork, communication, partner involvement, management, and training for new people”
The root cause of these problems is ineffective law firm leadership. Law firms that fail to address leadership issues may find themselves unprepared for the future and unable to acquire new clients and retain existing clients. As the profit squeeze, competition, and the maturing marketplace for legal services continues, law firms must be on top of every opportunity and aware of every threat to survival in the changing 1990s and beyond. As markets change; approaches to the delivery of legal services must change as well. This will require strong and effective leadership.

Recent Studies
Unfortunately, both past studies and surveys as well as day-to-day experience in the trenches indicates that effective leadership practices is non-existent in many law firms. A recent study conducted by the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association reported that both male and female lawyers do not have enough time for themselves and their families and their jobs are tense and pressure-filled. The Young Lawyers Division also reported the following causes of lawyer discontent: Poor communications Failure to set and communicate standards for evaluations Failure to communicate

plans and goals Lack of training and poor mentoring A precipitous decline in collegiality Failure to provide equal opportunities for women and minorities Failure to properly delegate client work The study concluded with the observation that the primary cause of lawyer discontent was the existence of widespread, unsound management practices.

Clients are also unhappy with law firms. A study conducted by the American Bar Foundation found that clients are unhappy with their attorneys for the following reasons:

Failure to keep the client informed of progress in a matter.
Failure to show interest in or concern about the client’s problems.
Failure to explain the issues involved in understandable terms.
Lack of promptness and responsiveness.
Failure to charge fair and reasonable fees.
Apparent poor work habits.

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