Most everyone knows what an elevator speech is: it’s a short, pithy, memorable description of a company’s services. Lawyers have always built their reputations on their expertise, such that the creation of an elevator pitch should be one of the easiest things for an attorney to do; however, many lawyers still stumble over the basic question: “What do you do?”
I have two memos sitting unread in my inbox. One of the memos is great; the other one is terrible. I know which is which. And, as I said, I haven’t yet read either one of them. Isn’t trust terribly unfair?
Do law firms set performance objectives for their lawyers? I worked at two different law firms over the course of 25 years, and I remember only one meeting where anyone sat down and talked with me about setting performance objectives. We set the objectives; no one ever followed up to see whether I’d achieved them; […]
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the difference between résumé-based interviews and behavioral interviews. (In a nutshell, résumé-based interviews ask applicants for opinions about their personal histories; behavioral interviews ask for factual descriptions of how applicants handled certain situations in their lives.) I really didn’t expect that to be a controversial topic, but […]
People have occasionally asked me for advice about interview techniques. My suggestion has always been short and pointed: “Say something smart. Say something funny. Ask a good question. And get the heck out of there.” What about on the other side of the table? I really don’t trust interviews. I don’t believe that it’s possible […]
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I saw this all the time at law firms: I’d be in the middle of preparing to argue an appeal — reading key cases, studying the excerpts of the record, and thinking about likely questions from the bench. My mind was completely engrossed in what I was doing. And someone would walk into my office […]
Here’s proof that I view my readers at ATL as family: In this post, I’m going to share with you the results of my recently concluded 360-degree performance review and tell you how I plan to improve my personal job performance. (That may not be quite as sexy as pictures of naked judges, but you […]
Years ago, I saw a memo written by a law firm partner who was renowned for mistreating junior partners, associates, staff, and lost children who wandered in the front door looking for their parents. But this memo showed a whole different personality. The memo was directed to a practice leader who had solicited comments about […]
Two comments from folks who recently moved in-house prompt this post. The first comment came from a guy who spent more than ten years with an Am Law 100 firm before moving in-house: “When I was reading the newspaper on Sunday, I realized something. Before I moved in-house, I never truly understood ‘Dilbert’ and the […]
Our research shows that inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality. Employees are far more likely to have new ideas on days when they feel happier. Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in […]
360-degree reviews are helpful because you critique others. It’s relatively easy — or, at least, routine — to be asked to critique folks situated beneath you in a hierarchy. But it’s a little different to be asked to critique folks who are situated horizontally or above you. When you’re asked to critique those people formally, it makes you think a little harder: What are those people doing right? What are they doing wrong? What information should they hear about their performance?
Do you ever get the feeling that the a$$holes in your office end up doing better than the decent folks? Yeah, you’re not wrong. A new study shows the people who score below average in “agreeableness” make more money than people who are nice. Doesn’t that sound like a law firm partner you may know?
Every so often a lawyer with a small firm will ask me what to do about providing employees with paid sick days. The practice is much more common in large firms, but many lawyers have come to expect it as a perk no matter how big their firms are. (To be clear, I’m talking about […]
It’s tough to “lateral up” at a big law firm. Since I just invented the phrase “lateraling up,” I suppose I should define it: It’s when a fairly senior lawyer asks an older lawyer to help on a project. If you’re 40 years old and just landed a small- or medium-sized matter, it’s hard to […]