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Leadership skills for lawyers: ten skills to survive in changing times.

We read with interest analysis in the news this week of the Jeffrey Review, commissioned by the Justice Secretary to look at the provision of independent criminal advocacy services (http://www.justice.gov.uk).   This review will certainly fuel once again the debate surrounding the changing, challenging future of the law profession, with ‘rivalry within profession cutting numbers of young barristers and risking ‘talent pipeline’ for QCs and judges’.


Five years ago my360plus did not have one law firm as a client. Now we have several.  This has not been down to any targeted marketing from us, but more of a sign of the changing times and challenges that face traditionally stable and simple business sectors.  Today’s lawyers need to be aware and responsive to the onslaught of change created by industry consolidation, government intervention (e.g recent legal aid cuts), increased client demands and diverse competitive pressures.  Leadership skills for lawyers are not traditionally taught at law school, so lawyers should not be surprised when they find themselves without the tools required to cope.

Leadership of a law firm is not the same as practice management.  Instead of focussing on internal operational and transactional matters, leadership skills need to be externally focussed, able to strategically plan in an unpredictable climate.  The leadership skills lawyers benefit from developing include:

  1. Having systems for identifying new opportunities and new markets
  2. Setting strategic direction, with action plans that are supported
  3. Understanding and addressing ways to improve the strengths and to combat the weaknesses of the organisation
  4. Identifying appropriate partners, alliances and external resources to further the organisation’s goals
  5. Understanding the new generation of lawyers
  6. Having a high self awareness
  7. Increasing team performance with a sustained learning culture
  8. Effective communication to all stakeholders
  9. Managing talent
  10. Driving innovation

The challenges of an ever changing competitive world make leadership development imperative.  As the Jeffrey Review states: ‘Simply carrying on as at present in an attempt to keep intact every aspect of the traditional model is not a viable option’.  Times…they are a changing.

If you would like to find out more regarding the leadership development that we do with some of our law clients please get in touch.

As a result of a highly successful 360 leadership development programme with law firm, Stevens and Bolton, my360plus was highly commended as part of the Best Training Programme” at the Legal Education and Training Group Awards 2013.  The award citation mentions that “the impact of the programme is already evident with greater business development activity being seen across the firm”.


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