Why don’t lawyers do what you ask them to do? (first published on Legal Futures)

by Simon McCrum

In an article first published on Legal Futures, Simon McCrum explores why lawyers do not do what the firm needs them to do and recommends action to take to ensure that the policies and procedures put in place are followed.

Having been team leader, department head, division head and managing partner, I understand well the frustration (and anger) that managing partners and CEOs voice to me. ‘We have asked them a dozen times, but still they are not doing what we need!’ is the way the conversation usually goes.

What is it that lawyers are not doing? There is a long list:

The list goes on, and it builds up to a scenario in our profession where, in very many firms, highly paid and very clever lawyers do not do what the business needs them to do.

Why are the policies and procedures not followed? I believe the start of the answer is that very often chief amongst the culprits are the partners themselves. If they do not follow the rules, then they are not rules, are they?

Next, what sanctions are there for not adhering to the rules? None, usually. Someone who does good billing for example can be excused a dozen behavioural shortcomings, and very often a lawyer’s reward and progress up the firm is based solely on their billing. So what will everyone focus on at the expense of everything else?

There is no silver bullet that can change things overnight. But there are ways that you can reduce this recalcitrance, including the following steps.

In short, everyone has got a boss – and the boss is the business and its needs.

You can also read Simon’s blog on Legal Futures by clicking here.

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by Simon McCrum




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