Blawg Review #76
post # 198 — September 24, 2006 — a Careers, Client Relations, Managing, Strategy post
It is my honor to host the Blawg Review, a weekly selection of blogs related to the law.
Since I am not a lawyer, and this blog site is meant to appeal to a broad international audience working in a wide variety of professions and industries, I have (as previously announced) restricted my choices to the themes of work and professional life, firm management, marketing, strategy and careers (rather than legal topics per se).
1. Competition v. Collaboration in Firms
Tom “Bald Dog” Varjan has the blog post of the week in my view.
Of Sailors and Mountaineers: The Inherent Dangers of Internal Competition is a compelling piece of analysis, which nevertheless still leaves us wrestling with the mysteries of why our organizations run as they do. Are we all too competitive for our own good? If so, how has civilization thrived? Don’t miss it.
2. Throttling Clients
Ed Wesemann has a terrific blog for law firms called Creating Dominance, and his latest post is about â€œthrottlingâ€ clients (no, it doesn’t mean what you think it means). Itâ€™s not glamorous stuff, but itâ€™s important.
He discusses how he went about analyzing low-profitability clients, and then engaging actions which induced the clients to change their behavior (or leave). A clear exposition of some basic that all firms should be doing — and don’t!
3. Work-Life Balance
â€œI have met many hot worm lawyers and I suspect there may be whole firms composed primarily of hot worms. These lawyers thrive on conditions that might prove injurious or even fatal to other lawyers. I am concerned for the hot worm lawyers and the damage that might be done to them if someone decided that these torrid wigglers needed to swim in cooler waters, to achieve life balance as defined by some other worm. In many cases, a cool, balanced worm may be an unhappy or dead worm. Lawyers come in a wide variety of temperaments, each with a unique, individual, ideal allocation of what and how much goes on each scale of life. That uniqueness is best respected for the sake of the lawyer, the firm, and the client.â€
Fascinating — a wonderful counter-conventional blog post.
4. Advice for Young Professionals
Bruce MacEwan at Adam Smith, Esq. has a review of “The Curmudgeonâ€™s Guide to Practicing Lawâ€ (ABA, 2006), a wonderful book from Mark Hermann (of Jones Day). With great humor and deadly accuracy, Mr. Hermann cuts through the cant and provides tough love advice for those on their way up (and a few who have stopped rising).
I have read the book, and â€œAdamâ€ is right. Managing partners in law firms should buy copies for all their junior lawyers. In addition, I would estimate that at least one-half of the book applies to all young professionals, in any industry.
5. Leadership, Emotions and Performance
Arnie reports that, according to the piece, a key discovery the researchers made is that workersâ€™ performance is tied to their â€œemotions, motivations, and perceptions about their work environment”. There are lots of other good links in the blog to research in the field of â€œPositive Organizational Scholarship.â€
6. Must BigClients have BigFirms?
JD Hull at What About Clients? estimates that â€˜bet the company workâ€™ is perhaps 10% of legal corporate work out there, if that. So what about the other 90% of available corporate legal work? Is there any reason why firms ranging in size from 5 to 150 lawyers with the right talent and specialties can’t do that work for BigClients?â€
The questions is raised: when firms large and small can serve your needs, where do you go? Think carefully, and on the back of examination booklet explain why friendly neighborhood grocery stores no longer exist.
6. Future Earning Potential of Firms
Gerry Riskin of Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices provides a link to an article by his EDGE International colleague, Friedrich Blase, on assessing a firmâ€™s future earning potential by examining its human capital, its structural capital, its relational capital and its investment capacity.
It will start your thinking processes — thereâ€™s a lot to be done exploring these topics.
7. Advice on the road to L
F/k/a [formerly known as] links to a number of law professors offering advice to first-year law students, and offers the observation that â€œmuch of that â€œlostâ€ feeling never does go away â€” because far too many law school applicants, law students and practicing lawyers never took the time to assess who they really are and what they actually do want from life and from a career.â€
Like the rest of us.
8. Client Satisfaction
Mark Beese at Leadership for Lawyers continues the (re)announcement of survey company BTIâ€™s results that clientsâ€™ satisfaction with lawyers is going down dramatically, but provides link to other surveys and sources with confirming data.
BTIâ€™s findings (which have been extensively reported for a while now) should be the springboard for deeper discussion of the sources and cures of low client satisfaction in the law, but so far the analysis hasn’t progressed — at least in the blogosphere. Letâ€™s hope the firms themselves are taking the hint.
9. Recruiting Interviews
Ethical or good recruiting tactic? You be the judge!
10. Spotting the Winners Early
â€œwhipped through college in one year, relying on a combination of 72 AP credits that he collected in high school, followed by 23 credits his first semester in college (instead of the usual 15), a whopping 37 credits the next (he’d complained that he had too much time on his hands the first semester), with the last three, needed for a double major, completed during the summer. The article reports that after finishing up a masterâ€™s in math, Banh will forego the doctorate and head to law school to become a patent attorney.”
As Elefant puts it: law firms, start your recruiting engines.
11. A Harvard Business School Case Study
Nathan Koppel, guest blogging at Larry Bodineâ€™s Professional Services Marketing blog, informs us that Harvard Business School has written a 40-page case study on Philadelphiaâ€™s Duane Morris.
Based on my memory of how MBA students treated the companies offered up to them for dissection, this may not be the privilege that some at Duane Morris think it could be.
12. Diagnosis in Law and Medicine
Jim Belshaw at Managing the Professional Service Firm (what a catchy name!) picks up on a contribution by Prem Chandavarkar to begin an analysis of how diagnosis is performed in law versus medicine.
It doesn’t go deep, but itâ€™s a useful beginning on an important topic.
13. Branding a Fruit
Dilanchian Lawyers and Consultants caught my attention by telling the history of transforming the humble Kiwi fruit, through wise use of Intellectual Property tactics, into a branded product.
A bit of a diversion from our theme here, but a fun blawg tale.
Next, letâ€™s turn to some interesting blogs about blogging.
14. Marketing Yourself and Your Practice
No comment. Decide for yourself what you think about it.
15. Profile of a Prominent Blogger
Dennis Kennedy provides a useful link to an interview with (and about) him on the JD Bliss site, entitled Success Story: Dennis Kennedy: “TechnoLawyer of the Year” Bridges the Gap Between Law and Technology.
For the few who don’t know his background, itâ€™s a good place to start getting to know the well-known lawyer, consultant, speaker and writer who is considered among the most influential experts on the application of technology in the practice of law.
Dennis was very kind and generous with his time when I was trying to understand what a blog was. If you don’t know him and his work, you should.
16. Blogging by Trainees
Scott Vine at Information Overlord picks up on a UK Legal week report that Watson Farley & Williams is getting its trainees to write a weekly blog on the firmâ€™s web site. Each of the firmâ€™s 12 trainees will take it in turns to write the weekly blog, describing the work they have been involved in and the firmâ€™s training and social activities. Neat!
17. Blogging During a Court Case
Justin Patten at Human Law has a brief piece speculating on how blogging might influence the practice of law: â€œI envisage scenarios where lawyers in conjunction with PR Professionals and blogosphere monitoring tools, assess how a case is being seen on the web. Thereafter an assessment will be made whether a legal remedy is the right solution.â€
18. Regulatory Restrictions on Blogging
Walter Olson at Point of Law collects some links pointing to the emerging concern that new Bar regulations in New York â€œmight make it nearly impossible for attorneys in the state to publish or contribute to blogs about the law. (Each individual post would trigger elaborate compliance obligations of its own.)â€
19. Blogging as a Substitute for Law Reviews
Seems persuasive, important and powerful to me.
Blawg Review has information about next week’s host, and instructions how to submit your blawg posts for review in upcoming issues.