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Category Archives: Leadership

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Well dang! Those nimble NewLaw firms are at it again!

Posted in Australasia, Business Models, Change, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Uncategorized
NewLaw around the world and particularly in Australasia are quietly begun to call some shots, pushing old ways aside and winning some important chunks of work and clients and recruiting top people in the process. (Sean Larkan - Edge International)

I recently posted on nimbler firms chipping away at others’ brands. Well, it seems they have been at it again – baking some more of BigLaw’s cake and eating a few more slices along the way. Following this theme, an Edge colleague (Jordan Furlong) and I recently published a short Inventory of NewLaw in Australia focusing… Continue Reading

Don’t let nimbler law firms bake your cake and eat it!

Posted in Australasia, Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Personal Brand
If we are not careful nimbler brands will bake our cake and eat it

Each year I carefully review Interbrand’s excellent report on the top 100 global brands. No professional service firm brands feature there so you may well ask, what relevance do these largely commercial or corporate brands have for law firms? The reason I do is that Interbrand provides useful summary reports as to why these brands consistently outperform… Continue Reading

Women lawyers in Australia – how you can possibly help

Posted in Australasia, Culture, Diversity, Leadership, Legal Profession, People Strategy, Trust & Respect, Values
You can help women lawyers by completing the surveys referenced in this post - please see the clickable links (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

The President of the Law Council of Australia today published a column in the ALMJ along the lines of the title of this blog post – as a request was made for readers to complete an important survey, and given the importance of the subject-matter and the tight time-frame I have taken the liberty of… Continue Reading

Get Tough on the Little Things and Impact the Big Things

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Values
Allowing partners to consistently be late for meetings, fiddle with mobile devices or take calls, even if done quietly is tantamount to what is depicted here; chaos, rudeness and ultimately will cause a break-down of communication and respect. Leaders need to nip this in the bud and set the example in doing so. (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

Sometimes leaders  need to be tough on some of the little things. These can have significant ramifications which are not always immediately obvious. However, because the benefits are not obvious, or seem unimportant at the time, many leaders don’t address them, also possibly feeling that they don’t want to be ‘petty’. However, as we saw… Continue Reading

How Leaders can Track Actionable Emails and Electronic Media

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)
Leaders need to develop a system to manage following up on the dozens of important, single items that crop up and need attention - via email, a web article, a tweet or a LinkedIn enquiry (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

The life of a leader of a modern day law firm is full of variation, challenges and finding time to do everything. One of the toughest things for leaders to keep up with is attending to the small items – tracking and following up on actionable emails and other electronic or computer-generated items – those important,… Continue Reading

Old dogs can still play while the young guns surf

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Marketing, Social Media, Trust & Respect
As lawyers have moved away from more traditional relationship building practices due to other options becoming available like online social media they may be leaving a gap for canny lawyers to take advantage of. (Sean Larkan, Edge International)

Many of us who were lucky enough to be part of successful law firms of 20 years or so ago will recall how, in each of those firms, a couple of partners stood out for having impeccable client development and relationship skills. At the time we probably  assumed it was just the way things were done. There’s… Continue Reading

Edge Communiqué: women partners, hiring nouse and social media as strategy

Posted in Brand, Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media
Firms are making a dumb mistake when it comes to hiring and promoting female partners

In the April edition of Edge International Communiqué three of my partners address important issues and provide insights and outline opportunities for the legal profession: Jordan Furlong, in “Law Firms and Women Partners: You’re Doing it Wrong‘ emphasises that if firms are following typical practices in how they promote women into equity positions they are missing a strategic… Continue Reading

Are clients one-eyed when they choose your law firm?

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Personal Brand, Uncategorized
Here's looking at you kid - the Gouldian Finch chooses its mate by using its left brain and right eye. While humans may not do precisely this we need to recognise they are all different, use different criteria to choose our firm. This is critical as it is they who determine the power or otherwise of our brands (Image: (c) www.birdsville.net.au)

The Gouldian Finch, research conducted at Macquarie University in late 2012 has shown, uses just one eye and one side of its brain to choose its partner for life. In the study published in Biology Letters the researchers found that ‘Beauty, therefore, is in the right eye of the beholder for these songbirds, providing, to our knowledge, the first demonstration of… Continue Reading

Ignore your law firm capital structure at your peril

Posted in Financial management, Leadership, Legal Profession
Goldman Sachs meltdown

Law firms seldom pay much attention to their capital structures. This has certainly been the case traditionally. Management of this important area was and still is often delegated to ‘the partner who seems to have the best handle on the financial stuff‘, sometimes the banking partner as he or she works with financial institutions! Given… Continue Reading

All legal leaders need to know about growth via merger and alliance. . . and a touch of Swiss

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategy, Uncategorized
The latest edition of the Edge International Review 2012 - essential reading for all legal leaders and senior managers

Alternative growth structures such as Swiss Vereins, global alliances, non-merger affiliations, expansion strategies and a great deal more is covered in the latest edition of the Edge International Review. It provides essential insights for legal leaders – in fact, just what legal leaders need to know about! The review is downloadable from www.edge.ai. Download your… Continue Reading

Leadership is a skill, Manager is a role

Posted in Leadership, Management
radacina_men_in_black

Lyda Hawes is the Director of Client Services at LexBlog, the company that developed this blog. From time to time she and I have discussed the topic of management and leadership and I asked her to share her thoughts in this guest post. She also writes for LexBlog’s Client Services blog, Please Advise. Apart from this, as… Continue Reading

Is your latest big initiative truly an outflow of your vision and strategy?

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Vision
Too often, on further investigation, a strategic initiative or major issue taking up senior leadership's time and energy has not real connection with the firm's vision and strategy. Sometimes this is even the rule rather than the exception. Is it any wonder then that vision and strategy does not get enough attention or never truly gets implemented, reviewed or stress-tested. (Sean Larkan 2012)

Again and again I come across senior law firm executives who are frantically busy with or concerned about their latest ‘big thing’ but who on enquiry struggle to relate this to the firm’s vision and strategy. Sometimes the latest item getting all the attention has arisen as a few other key competitor firms are doing… Continue Reading

Salaried partnership – make it GOOD, not BAD or UGLY

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Partners
Good Bad & Ugly

Salaried partners as a proportion of total partners in law firms are on the increase. However, there are good, bad and not such good things about many implementations of the salaried partnership regime in firms. It makes real sense to ensure that your salaried partner structure is working in the best way possible. This means… Continue Reading

Your employees are far more powerful than you think

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Partners, People Strategy, Professional Service Firms (PSFs)
Firms seldom give proper credence to the fact that power lies with their employees and even potential employees in regard to their employment brands.

Law firms don’t recognise that the balance of power in relation to their employment brand lies not in their hands, but in the hands of their employees. To make matters worse, some of this power also lies in the hands of former employees, potential employees and other “employment stakeholders” such as recruitment agencies and digital media… Continue Reading

Losing high calibre lawyers or staff – don’t see it for what it isn’t

Posted in Brand, Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy
When something bad happens the challenges is always to retain some equinimity and try not to see it for what it is. That doesn't mean not acting, but acting with depth and not on the surface of things in a knee-jerk way

Like finding the toilet roll  empty, or getting a puncture, some things never come at a good time. But, of course, these things do happen so most of us have learned to respond with equanimity and of course maybe even do a little forward planning! The same applies to losing a really top calibre lawyer… Continue Reading

Beware the manager who speaks with a forked tongue

Posted in Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized, Values
Forked tongue Sharon Larkan copyright

As a law firm leader one of your best returns on investment can come from appointing the right support services manager. A good manager can easily make a partner-like contribution or more to a firm. They do need to be the right calibre, the right fit and possess good levels of emotional intelligence and initiative. They… Continue Reading

Leaders and accessibility – don’t just open the door, walk out the door

Posted in Leadership, Personal Effectiveness, Trust & Respect
Making yourself accessible as a leader seems to be about a number of things - being physically accessible and mentally attuned be so - also not just sitting in your office with an open door but going outside to wander about, go to staff teas, talk to staff in the passage or the lift, greet people warmly, take an interest in them and so on.

In a recent post I highlighted the importance of leader accessibility, responsiveness and reliability, effectively saying nothing beats these for importance. A reader suggested I follow up with a note on how a leader can achieve accessibility – here goes with my thoughts. I remember when I was in a managing partner role I thought… Continue Reading

Things we learn from young people

Posted in Leadership, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Uncategorized, Values
The penultimate day in a gruelling 1300km charity cycle ride

Despite the attractive laid-back hippy, flower power and surfing cultures which were around when I was young, our fairly conservative coastal-rural upbringing meant we thought more or less everything there was to learn would come through our parents. As one ‘matured’ one was tempted to think the youth of today had it easier and was… Continue Reading