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Category Archives: Trust & Respect

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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

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

Always deliver what you say you do or offer to deliver

Posted in Brand, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Trust & Respect
Always deliver what you offer. So if you say 'contact us' make sure your website and links actually make it easy and intuitive to do just that, 'contact you'! If it does not, don't offer it as you will simply annoy actual and potential customers and lose their trust, respect and hammer their loyalty.

A fundamental of a successful brand is building trust. You build trust when other individuals who experience your service, product and brand offering trust that you will deliver on what you offer to do thereby achieving what I term ‘Brand Fusion™’. In turn this builds loyalty, that much sought-after, but rarely achieved status. But, it… 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

Remember to walk your fence-lines

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized, Values
As leaders and senior managers we need to constantly remind ourselves to 'walk the fence-lines' of our organisation, keeping in touch with what is truly happening and how people are feeling - also picking up on any great achievements by anyone, or issues which are troubling someone.

My wife and I bought a small farm three years ago. As the grazing was leased out to a beef farmer the quality of the boundary fencing was paramount. The lady we purchased from told me up-front (and has reminded me ever since!) – ‘now Sean, remember to walk your fence-lines‘.  She was essentially saying… Continue Reading

Nothing, but nothing, beats accessibility, courtesy, responsiveness and reliability

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, People Strategy, Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Trust & Respect, Values
Nothing beats being accessible, responsive and reliable. You can be the sharpest tool in the workshop, but if you can't be found, don't respond well when used or don't the job you called on to do, people will eventually tire of using you. The same applies to professionals

You can be the brightest spark in the office but if people can never get hold of you, or after they do you take ages to respond or are simply unreliable, no-one is ever sure you will do the job, professionally you are going to do yourself in. I know of one professional who is… Continue Reading

The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs – just one more thing: PART FOUR (final)

Posted in Brand, Culture, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Personal Effectiveness, Thought Leader, Trust & Respect, Values
'They look so good you kinda wanna lick 'em'

So far we have considered some 18 leadership lessons from Steve Jobs from Parts ONE, TWO and THREE of this series and how they may be relevant for legal leaders – all based on the Walter Isaacson article it the HBR. There are some things however I wouldn’t recommned for legal leaders. So what are… Continue Reading

Why law firm support service groups don’t add value, and how to fix this

Posted in Brand, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Strategy, Trust & Respect, Uncategorized
Sometimes support service areas do not realise their full potential due to basic inherent problems in the way they are established, viewed, structured or supported. It is worth straightening this out and turning them into strategically powerful elements within your firm.

Many support service groups in law firms do a fair job of delivering their services and work hard at doing it, but beyond that, do not ‘add value’. That is a fairly common observation we have when we undertake firm reviews for clients and my own experience having run large law firms in three jurisdictions…. Continue Reading

You gotta feel sorry for those angry, difficult partners!

Posted in Culture, Leadership, Legal Profession, Management, Professional Service Firms (PSFs), Trust & Respect, Values
The harsh reality is that you have to deal with truly difficult partners - otherwise they are a lighted fuse waiting to go off in small bursts or maybe, at some stage in a loud and damaging implosion.

It does seem like we have been laying into angry or difficult partners lately – so much so, you (almost) gotta feel sorry for them! (not really, we all know how difficult they can really be and how much time and positive energy they eat up) –  3 recent posts attest to this: Difficult partners… Continue Reading

Pricing, billing and value – tough messages and ideas from two senior General Counsel

Posted in Change, Legal Profession, Trust & Respect
The debate around pricing and billing rages on - at the end of the day the crucial issue may simply be ensuring a basis of trust and respect between lawyer and client

Issues and challenges around pricing, alternative fee arrangements and value understandably still get plenty of air-time. They received top billing at the recent COLPM (College of Law Practice Management) Futures Conference in Chicago. I read through my notes from talks by two senior in-house counsel  - there are strong words and some important messages and… Continue Reading

8 leadership tips for legal leaders from business leader

Posted in Change, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Management, Trust & Respect, Vision
Image by Patrick Hoesly

I talked on leadership tips and frames at a keynote at the annual Boss of the Year Awards Convention in South Africa in August 2011. Brand Pretorius, recently retired former head of Toyota and McCarthy Motor Holdings in South Africa and a recognized ’captain of industry’, also delivered a keynote drawing on his extensive leadership experience, with some… Continue Reading