Patrick J. McKenna is a highly respected lecturer, strategist and advisor to law firms. McKenna’s experience has taught him that the best performing teams have discovered to operate effectively they need to formalize what they should specifically be able to expect of each other as members. He calls these expectations the group’s ‘Rules of Engagement’, and in this article he articulates that to be effective, these rules of engagement must be clear, consistent, agreed to and followed. A challenging endeavor in any workplace, but critical to high performing and innovative law firms.
Confidence in the Supreme Court is declining – but there is no easy way to oversee justices and their politics
Recent evidence showing that Virginia Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent at least 29 text messages to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows urging him to help overturn the 2020 election has reignited a long-simmering debate about judicial ethics and the nation’s highest court. Professor Eve Ringsmuth writes, “As a Supreme Court scholar, I think it is important to recognize that there is no formal code of conduct guiding the work of the Supreme Court, which contributes to a lack of clarity regarding the ethical boundaries for justices.”
Attorney Jerry Lawson is a legal tech expert with decades of experience delivering effective presentations. In this, the second part of a multi part series, Lawson shares insightful recommendations and techniques to successfully manage what can be challenging interactions with audience members during the course of a presentation.
Jim Calloway is the Director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program. He informs us about the range of legal services delivered by what have been designated as “primary-care lawyers.” From Calloway’s perspective, there is people law, and there is business/corporate law. Over the years, there has been a greater divergence in these two types of law practice focuses. He makes the case that increasingly, these are completely different types of law practices, with different types of challenges and processes. Calloway believes this is not only true but profound. He views it as profound because consideration of the differences should inform and impact the method of legal service delivery depending on the type of client.
Rick Anderson is University Librarian at Brigham Young University. His commentary addresses timely, thoughtful and critical conversations and knowledge sharing around the issues of censorship, book banning, library ethics and professional responsibility across communities.
Legal sector analyst Jordan Furlong writes that it’s taken two years of rolling pandemic lockdowns to shake us from our torpid habit of gathering together only to work alone. Over the next decade, a Stanford professor estimates, US workers will spend a quarter of their work time at home — “the number of person-days in the office is never going back to pre-pandemic average, ever.” This has obvious ramifications for corporate office space, employee well-being, and even climate change. But the workplace itself is ground zero for this change, and there will be enormous ramifications in this regard alone. Furlong’s thought provoking essay identifies critical choices that can be made that will result in better outcomes for law firms moving forward.
In over 30 years of working with law firms on improving productivity and profitability Heather Gray-Grant has seen countless marketplace surveys on the incredible value of client feedback mechanisms. In many instances it’s been labelled as one of the fastest and most effective ways to boost firm revenue. So, you’d think that law firms would be all over this business practice as a standard operating procedure. But…not so much. Gray-Grant discusses how to effectively execute client surveys and audits that will benefit firms as well as customers.
Lisa M. (Bradford) Mayo, Director of Data and Analytics at Ballard Spahr LLP identifies how and why data and analytics are on the forefront of much of the firm’s modern technology offerings. Unlike many firms, Ballard’s data and analytics function sits inside their Client Value and Innovation department, where they have some latitude with a research and development budget and the directive to “fail fast” if they determine a proof-of-concept did not meet our needs. The firm’s data management mission statement says in part that we “contribute to the firm’s strategic goals by using innovative technologies, a variety of flexible and adaptive data sources, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and ongoing data literacy education to help redefine the Firm’s internal performance objectives and accountability drivers and transform how the Firm delivers legal services to its clients.” Just 48 words but loaded with meaning and purpose, both for now and in the foreseeable future.
OK, you have gotten through the body of your presentation satisfactorily. Time to relax, right? Nope. There is one hurdle left: The question and answer period. This is when some presenters wilt and others shine. With a few tips, some experience and a modicum of intestinal fortitude, you can shine every time. Jerry Lawson’s extensive experience as a speaker is put to good use in this article as he provides best practice advice for each stage of your presentation.
Employees are feeling burned over broken work-from-home promises and corporate culture ‘BS’ as employers try to bring them back to the office
As vaccinations and relaxed health guidelines make returning to the office a reality for more companies, there seems to be a disconnect between managers and their workers over remote work. A good example of this is a recent op-ed written by the CEO of a Washington, D.C., magazine that suggested workers could lose benefits like health care if they insist on continuing to work remotely as the COVID-19 pandemic recedes. The staff reacted by refusing to publish for a day. While the CEO later apologized, she isn’t alone in appearing to bungle the transition back to the office after over a year in which tens of millions of employees were forced to work from home. A recent survey of full-time corporate or government employees found that two-thirds say their employers either have not communicated a post-pandemic office strategy or have only vaguely done so. As workforce scholars, Kimberly Merriman, David Greenway and Tamara Montag-Smith are interested in teasing out how workers are dealing with this situation. Their recent research found that this failure to communicate clearly is hurting morale, culture and retention.