(No)Where to Hide (inside a law firm)

“To become the most of anything.”


The idea of there being (No)Where to Hide is paradoxical.

On the one hand, anyone exposed to the full glare of chargeable time, will know there is no escaping the need to be present. But, with the number of passively disengaged people in legal practice, they will also be looking to keep a low profile. They don’t want to be out t-h-e-r-e.

And therein lies the problem.

Partners have to accept much greater accountability to get the best out of their people. There should be no place to hide.

Too many people are ignored. The silent majority. You leave them alone because they aren’t causing enough of a ripple.

But how much of their capability are your (a) taking for granted or (b) allowing to remain parked elsewhere?

Any leader worth his/her salt will have the empathy to know when someone is faking it. Lawyers are brilliant at disguising their true emotions. Most do it for fear of losing their jobs.

Next time you call a team meeting, look around the room and ask yourself how many people are coasting. Accept your part in that travesty and resolve to do something about it.

Start with earning the trust of your people. Understand why they came into law. What they see as their greatest achievement. And how you can work to a position where they have more opportunities to shine. Your work is never done. It is not about motivation. It is about putting your neck on the line, vouching for someone who may have been ignored before and working with them to reach their full potential. Yes, you can expect a degree of cynicism but if you give in to the chill wind then you are in the wrong job.

Your legacy: to make sure that everyone is the most of anything and they build a catherdral of wonder around their professional life, rather than looking for the nearest cave to hide away.

~ Julian Summerhayes ~

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