Unicorn lawyers

What is a “unicorn skill”? It’s a skill that reasonably performing professionals in the field do not have, which is why they are just…reasonable. They can still do their job but are not “A” players. A unicorn skill is thus rarely found, and those who have it stand out as…unicorns. I learned about the term … Continue reading Unicorn lawyers

Review: Katrina Lee’s The Legal Career

Katrina Lee’s new book on the business of law, The Legal Career: Knowing the Business, Thriving in Practice (West 2017), starts by exploring the design of a law-firm office. Lee points out that the law office can be seen as a microcosm of the legal industry: evolution, yes, but also persistent adherence to the old ways. … Continue reading Review: Katrina Lee’s The Legal Career

#InHouseTwitter

In-house counsel and anyone who works with them—such as, say, outside counsel—will be interested in the new hashtag, #InHouseTwitter, started this summer by @J_Dot_J. J.J.'s Twitter bio tells us she is an "employment/cyber-security lawyer, mom to a 2-boy wrecking crew, endorsed as 'not half bad.'" She has shared some pithy—sometimes salty—advice from her in-house perspective … Continue reading #InHouseTwitter

Listening to punctuation

Thanks to Julie Schrager, counsel and legal writing coach at Schiff Hardin, for this guest post.  I have been desperately trying to find a way to write about exclamation points. I grew up in a time when they were reserved for exclamations: “Congratulations on winning that game!” or “That’s the reason he got that promotion!” Lynne … Continue reading Listening to punctuation

Categories of listening

Katrina Lee from Ohio State tweeted earlier this week: Focus on doing more empathetic #listening, < self-focused listening. Quick read fr #biglaw talent developmnt director. cc @ListenLikeaLwyr https://t.co/uwjkwIbScj — Katrina Lee (@katrinajunelee) September 20, 2016 The article referred to in her tweet is by  Jim Lovelace, Director of Talent Development at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, and … Continue reading Categories of listening

Listening and legal tech

I have followed Mike Whelan, Jr., on Twitter for a while now but only recently discovered his blog, Lawyer Forward. Mike is a Texas family lawyer and law-practice coach for lawyers who founded a CLE conference, also called Lawyer Forward. Whelan says his "ninja thing" is "teaching and cultivating relationships." It's therefore not surprising his … Continue reading Listening and legal tech

Anticipation = preparation

This week Attorney at Work re-published a "classic" (i.e. 2012) post by Gerry Riskin on "Five Things Lawyers Hate to Hear Clients Say."  This post lays out some predictable, potentially recurring situations where communication is sensitive and can easily go awry. These situations certainly deal with classic challenges to lawyer-client relationships such as setting retainers, … Continue reading Anticipation = preparation

Is teamwork the same as collaboration?

  Earlier this week Listen Like a Lawyer discussed Google’s teamwork study investigating the qualities of effective teams. In the post I mentioned that teamwork is so important in part because many cases are too complex for one person to manage. One bit of feedback on the post agreed that teamwork is “vital now for … Continue reading Is teamwork the same as collaboration?

Teamwork for lawyers

The thing I’ve most wanted to share here in recent months has been “What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team,” published in the New York Times Magazine’s recent Work Issue. Building perfect teams—or at least more effective ones—is pretty important for the legal profession. For law firms, the complexity of many … Continue reading Teamwork for lawyers