Question of the Month by Bruce | September 24, 2019 | Articles, Cultural Considerations, Practice Group Management, Question of the Month | 3 comments Returning from a hiatus, our Question of the Month appears refreshed and in the pink. You know what to do. Use the comments box for editorial embellishment. [poll id=”18″] Thanks for being a voter! Print Version| Share « Previous Article Next Article » Related Articles Is the American Legal Profession a Guild? Three Cheers for Black Box Comp Who Needs To Be Listening To Your Clients? You do. Merry Christmas The Associate Salary Wars Yet Again Email Delivery Get Our Latest Articles Delivered to your inbox + 3 Comments Richard Punt on September 24, 2019 at 11:21 pm Dear Bruce Greetings from Dallas. Actually In my experience I think it is a version of your first option but quite distinct. Lawyers don’t think they can do everything better than anyone else – in fact they acknowledge their limits. Yet they regard what they can do as being far more important than anything else – so even leading practitioners in other matters are second class. Bruce on September 25, 2019 at 9:49 am Deeply intriguing insight, Richard, and thanks. Truth be told, I have not been entirely comfortable with the formulation I wrote for the poll, and yours is more accurate and true. Janet certainly experienced this in her tenure at Orrick as Director of Client Service. More broadly, we have seen it at other law firms with other business professionals right up to and including the COO or Executive Director, and there is clearly more to the lawyers’ being dismissive of the businesspeople’s efforts than the lawyers simply “putting clients first.” Everyone in organizations finds ways of balancing the “urgent” (clients’ demands) against the “important”–enhanced financial hygiene or greater sophistication about strategic client management, say. Except, it seems, the lawyers. Sorry about Dallas. Andrew Thompson on October 22, 2019 at 12:37 pm Hello Bruce and thank you for posing this question. My response lands firmly in all of the above, but I thought I would comment to add some nuance. From my experience in both technology and the practice of law, I noticed that attorneys are not used to going through the iterative process necessary to come up with tech-driven solutions. If a version 1.0 has a bug – which they all do – attorneys often dismiss the product, are biased against the product after the initial bug is discovered, and lose interest in participating in the tech solution beyond one or two versions. Not sure if this is symptomatic of time constraints, a desire to discover a winning answer (“argument”) and wrap up the project, or a lack of interest in things outside the practice of law, or a belief that the practice of law is the most important function of their job and the rest should be left to others to simply “figure it out and get back to me.” In the inverse, a well-intentioned attorney that enthusiastically engages with another type of professional or subject matter expert may slow down of frustrate the non-lawyer. Lawyers go to school learn how to learn and often believe that they can get up-to-speed on any issue or subject matter quickly, then meet the non-lawyer professional with an equal understanding of what a project needs. (truth be told I’m guilty of this, and in light of that I am likely avoiding a self diagnosis of “lawyers think they can do everything better than anyone else”) Great question of the month!