Are Managing Partners Really “Leaders”? (Part 1 of 2)

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Based on an article in ABA’s LAW PRACTICE TODAY, (Dec. 14, 2015) moderated by Nicholas Gaffney, a member of the Law Practice Today editorial board and a veteran public relations practitioner. He asked 6 “legal field veterans” their perspectives on the multi-faceted nature of law firm leaders. My responses to his questions follow.

HOW DO THESE INDIVIDUALS BECOME BETTER LEADERS IN THEIR FIRMS?

A “respected” law firm leader needs three skills: the ability to listen, the readiness to make decisions; and — one that is most often missing — holding people accountable for implementing the decisions. In addition, thinking about what their legacy will be for the firm must be clear, concise and often courageous.

ARE DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STYLES NECESSARY FOR DIFFERENT-SIZE FIRMS? WHAT ABOUT IN DIFFERENT PRACTICE AREAS?

Heading a practice area is often a non-position. All too many firms designate someone to lead a group, provide no support or direction, and expect results. But for those who actively work to improve the services provided by the practice group, and work at cross marketing with other specialties, the results can be powerful.

More questions and answers in the next post.

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