Definitely Mabey

Engaged lawyers are better lawyers

Given the daily barrage of articles, newsletters and periodicals there is little room to doubt the competitive marketplace law firms find themselves in today. Textbooks, consultants, and other great prognosticators tell us the essence of winning in a competitive marketplace is being in the right place before the right time.

Stephen Mabey Author

To do this, firms must either develop a “breakout innovation” —development effort that goes beyond new and improved into the realm of very different or self-re-inventing—or “performance innovation”—improve already established services or processes by adding new features, improving quality, reducing delivery times, or enhancing support services.

Either type of innovation requires a high level of engagement by your lawyers.

There is a story that goes something like this: A group of villagers is weaving a basket together. A wise man walks by and asks them what they are doing. The first says, “I am pushing one straw against another.” The second says, “I am making a basket.” The third answers, “I’m helping a family carry food to feed the family.” The last villager was engaged.

The Institute for Employment Studies in a 2003 study defined engagement as: “a positive attitude held by the employee towards the organization and its values. An engaged employee is aware of business context, and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organization. The organization must work to develop and nurture engagement, which requires a two-way relationship between employer and employee.”

So we are on the same page, I would define engagement for a law firm as the willingness of its lawyers to go beyond the call of duty to contribute to the firm’s success. It is equally important to understand what engagement is not, and that is simple satisfaction.

We all know lawyers who are satisfied but spend no time thinking about the clients or firm before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m.—satisfied yes—engaged no (please note I didn’t say they had to be at the office or working on a specific matter)!

The benefits of engagement are simple but direct and include:

The rest of this article is available in Stephen Mabey's new Book

Book Cover - Leading and Managing a Sustainable Law Firm - Tactics & Strategies for a Rapidly Changing Profession by Stephen Mabey

Available for purchase on BookBaby.




Until next month, remember, as Samuel Coleridge is alleged to have said:

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."


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First Published in Canadian Lawyer
April 18, 2011
. Copyright © Applied Strategies Inc.

Legal Strategy Consultant