Silver Spooners Or Boostrappers? Billionaires Teach Law Firms About The Most Incentivizing Compensation Models

Ebola on American soil, ISIS and Iraq troops not coming home, unemployment rates still not where they should be… there’s so much despair for Americans these days.

However, today we reason again to be proud of our nation. No money? Low-paying job? Victim of abuse or discrimination? Today is your day to become a billionaire.

The American dream is still alive and well—perhaps more so than in previous decades, reports Forbes.

A new study conducted by Forbes examines the wealthiest people in the U.S. and the lengths they had to go through to make their way to the top.

It turns out, when you look at the numbers over time, the data shows that in 1984, less than half of people on The Forbes 400 were self-made; whereas today, 69 percent of the 400 created their own fortunes.

In fact, many of today’s wealthiest people were born into poverty, or lower middle class, and had to overcome obstacles such as being left an orphan, forced to work low-paying jobs, or faced abuse or discrimination.

“Oprah Winfrey… grew up dirt poor, raised alternately by her single mom and her grandmother, and was sexually abused by several male relatives,” writes Agustino Fontevecchia for Forbes.

“And George Soros… survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest, fled Hungary under Communist rule and worked his way through the London School of Economics as a railway porter and a waiter.”

Howard Schultz, creator of Starbucks, is the son of a New York truck driver and was the first person in his family to go to college. With a personal net worth of $1.5 billion, Schultz only gets ranked 354th richest person in the U.S. Not bad for an ex-Xerox employee.

Jan Koum, entrepreneur, grew up outside Kiev in Ukraine and moved with his mother and grandmother California in 1992, where a social support program helped the family to get a small two-bedroom apartment. Koum worked as a cleaner at a grocery store and only became interested in programming at the age of 18. He enrolled at San Jose State University and simultaneously worked at Ernst & Young as a security tester. Today, you may have heard of his little mobile messaging application—WhatsApp—which was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion.

But if you’re in a law firm office, thinking, “I’m not an entrepreneur.” That may be true, but you can still act like one. What does it take to live the American Dream? Hard work.

The common thread among all these stories is the “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps.” These success stories aren’t about luck or timing. They’re all stories of persistence and patience.

Lawyers are no strangers to being cash rich, time poor. It’s the price you pay for working hard. But even our bootstrap billionaires had help.

Before developing WhatsApp, Koum visited his friend Alex Fishman and the two talked for hours about Koum’s idea for an app over tea at Fishman’s kitchen counter.

Gayle King, now a co-anchor of CBS This Morning, is most famous for being Oprah’s right-hand (wo)man.

In a discussion at the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in 2006, Alvin Shuster, former foreign editor of the Los Angeles Times, asked Soros, “How does one go from an immigrant to a financier? When did you realize that you knew how to make money?” (via Wikipedia).

Soros replied:

“Well, I had a variety of jobs and I ended up selling fancy goods on the sea side, souvenir shops, and I thought, that’s really not what I was cut out to do. So, I wrote to every managing director in every merchant bank in London, got just one or two replies, and eventually that’s how I got a job in a merchant bank.”

That job was an entry-level position in Singer & Friedlander, whose help and training was crucial in making the business magnate and investor who he is today.

When it comes to compensation models, it’s important to reward hard work and bootstrap attitudes. But hard work is often bolstered by teamwork, which does not temper or take away from any individual person’s contribution.

Teamwork should be encouraged. According to a recent New York Law Journal article, the ‘eat what you kill’ compensation model for law firms does not motivate partners to share intelligence or collaborate; it lowers firm efficiency and profitability.

This is why many law firms are transitioning their methods of allocating origination credit, transferring some to other members of the firm and not just senior partners.

Failure to handle this crucial compensation component correctly could kill your firm’s competitive advantage—and your own chance at becoming a billionaire.

The Center for Competitive Management (C4CM)’s audio course “Origination Credit and Partner Compensation: Incentivizing Collaboration for Increased Efficiency and Profitability” details the best management practices for when and how to track, allocate, transfer and transition origination credit for partner compensation in a manner that enhances firm collaboration.

With your order you also get C4CM’s top-selling best practice guide, Law Firm Origination and Cross-Selling Credit—a $249 value—absolutely free. Even if you struggle with the financial side of law, that’s the kind of math you can get behind.

The big difference between silver spooners and bootstrappers? For young entrepreneurs–or young lawyers–the monetary impact of hard work on your life is much higher. With the right incentives, your firm can incentivize all of its attorneys, not simply the senior partners, to attract clients and promote new business at the firm.

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Throw-back Thursday To 3500 B.C.: What Your Law Firm Should Know About The Wheel & MS Excel

How about a throw-back Thursday history lesson (and then some law). It’s about Iraq—but way before the country was valued for oil, it was valued for ideas.

Sumer is a civilization that existed slightly before that of Ancient Egypt and located in southern Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). By the late fourth millennium B.C., Sumer (or Ki-en-gir, ‘Land of the Sumerian tongue’) was divided into approximately a dozen city-states which were independent of one another and which used local canals and boundary stones to mark their borders, according to historians (read more about Sumer here).

There are at least four different translations (although they sometimes conflict) on the names of Sumerian rulers and their illustrious lengths of rule. It’s on one such document that an early Sumerian invention is described: the wheel, dating to circa 3500 BC.

You could perhaps claim that Iraq was forever—since as far as Sumer—destined to be a place highly influential in the creation of the car.

Besides the wheel, however, law firm professionals—people, in general—should be thankful for Sumer’s many crucial contributions to modern technology and language. For example, the civilization reminds us even today why there is no point, thousands of years later, in reinventing the wheel (although many people throughout history have tried).

Going back to the practice of law, think about how many new computer programs, tablet and mobile apps that organize case matter material, new-fangled software to organize all the details of your case.

Do we need it all?

When it comes to timesheets, timelines, case status updates, “to do” lists, and other casework assignments, Microsoft Excel has become a tried and true tool for lawyers and law firm managers.

And, its many features are available on the iPad, a favorite among attorneys.

So, last month, when Microsoft Excel rolled out a bunch of new features for Excel for iPad, you should have been paying attention. But, just in case you weren’t, here’s a run-down of Excel for iPad’s new design additions (thanks to AccountingWeb):

Pivot table functionality. In the first incarnation, pivot tables were literally trapped under glass, meaning you could only scroll the data around on the screen. Now, although the workbook must already contain a pivot table before opening it using the app, you have the capability to expand, collapse, filter, and even refresh pivot tables, as shown in Figure 1.The caveat on refreshing is that the source data must be within the same workbook as the pivot table.

Email documents as PDF. Previously, Excel spreadsheets could only be emailed in their native format, but you can now email spreadsheets in PDF form. Figure 2 walks you through the steps.External keyboard support. Using an external keyboard allows you to use the same navigation and data entry techniques that you do in the desktop-based versions of Excel..

Flick to select. You’ll quickly wish for this innovative feature in the desktop versions of Excel. Flick a cell’s selection handle in any direction to automatically select all data in that row or column for a contiguous area of the spreadsheet. It’s a huge advance in using Excel on a touch-enabled device.

Third-party fonts. You can now access third-party fonts installed on your iPad in the Excel app.

Picture tools. Excel for iPad now supports in-app picture editing.

Not yet convinced of Excel’s application to your law practice? Here‘s a detailed account of how lawyers can use Excel.

Not only that, attend The Center for Competitive Management’s audio course on “Excel Charts and Graphs Made Easy” on Friday, October 17, 2014, from 2pm to 3:30pm EST.

Remember the history of Sumer and Iraq and don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to (and don’t add unnecessary conflict in your professional life over it, either).

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Study Shows Lawyers Seen As Competent But Not Trustworthy: How Your Firm Can Get Out Of The Gutter!

Why do so many people hate lawyers?

No, this isn’t another set-up for a lawyer joke. As a legitimate question, Victoria Pynchon for Forbes explains:

“People hate lawyers because they represent the interests of people and corporations without really caring who they are, what they did, what harm they caused, or, how culpable they are.”

The practice of law, rather, legal representation, is a right of American citizens. As such, it seen as a public service. So when powerful men in power suits undermine the “little guy,” people get bitter.

Isn’t the law supposed to be helping the public, not hurting them?

“It’s OK to hate lawyers because the top of the profession—which wields true economic and political power—continues to run its operations as a old boy’s club, making it less diverse than the GOP.”

Well, that explains it then. Or does it?

“As I’ve written before,” continues Pynchon, “cronyism runs law firms. And because cronyism—you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours—duplicates itself in gender and color, the power in BigLaw is concentrated in the hands of a few white men… And that’s a problem for the rest of us.”

In the end, the bearish reputation of BigLaw dominates the news. So local stories of law firms doing good or pro-bono work for communities take the back burner.

It’s no wonder lawyers remain one of the most reviled professions.

Luckily, attorneys—like misery—have company.

In a recent review, published by the Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), lawyers are viewed as “competent but not trustworthy,” alongside CEOs, Accountants, Researchers, Scientists, and Engineers.

Of course, in this small continuum, attorneys are at the bottom of the scale (see the diagram here—literally at the bottom).

Apparently Americans are wary of a few experts-in-their-fields. The public distinguishes between professional respect and warmth. So, you can be wonderful at your job, but not necessarily a wonderful person (and the reverse, as is the case for child care workers, who are seen as mediocre in competency but high in warmth).

“Scientists have earned the respect of Americans but not necessarily their trust,” explains lead author Susan Fiske, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology and professor of public affairs, according to PhysOrg.

However, there’s hope to improve.

“But this gap can be filled by showing concern for humanity and the environment. Rather than persuading, scientists may better serve citizens by discussing, teaching and sharing information to convey trustworthy intentions.”

The same applies to attorneys. Your social skills may be holding you back, but there are myriad ways to increase that coveted bedside manner.

Here are a few simple things to remember:

  • Don’t do all the talking—work on your listening skills. Clients want to feel heard.
  • Use phrases that convey compassion, like “yes, that must be really hard for you,” or “I understand this is difficult to hear, let me know if you need a minute.”
  • Communicate over the phone or in person—clients value being valued, which means stop dropping cavalier e-mails.
  • Provide solutions—don’t just point out the problems with a person’s case, provide solutions. There’s always a work-around, “Plan B”, or even long-shot to be tried—so try it!

In the end, clients want to see you’re as hopeful of a positive outcome as they are—and not just because of the billable hours.

Need to brush up on some leadership skills? Listen to C4CM’s audio course, “Attentive Listening: Essential Tips and Techniques to Effective Leadership and Overall Success.

Leadership applies not only to your own team, but the team you build with both colleagues and clients.

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Privacy & Ethics In An Internet Age: The Sad Truth For Citizens & Facts For Attorneys

There is no more privacy in America.

Friends. Family. Neighbors. Strangers. They can gather information about your whereabouts, your actions, your accolades, and even your darkest hour.

Take, for example, the case of three people charged with two counts of aggravated assault and other offenses in Philadelphia this week after a horrific attack on two gay men in Center City.

According to an article by The Examiner, about a dozen men and women in the 20s dressed to the nines and started for a night out. They ended up verbally and physically assaulting a homosexual couple based on the victims’ sexual orientation.

Then, assault transformed into theft as one of the suspects stole a bag containing the personal information of one of the victims. By the time police arrived on the scene, the group got away.

Or so they thought.

Philadelphia police quickly released a surveillance video of the suspects, which sent the social media-savvy public in a massive manhunt.

Blog, the Daily KOS, breaks down the process here. First, a Twitter user obtained a photograph that allegedly showed the suspects at dinner and retweeted the photo. Next, Philadelphia residents replied to that tweet with the name and location of the restaurant, located 500 feet from the attack.

Finally, another Twitter used went to the restaurant’s Facebook page and looked at who “checked-in”. Facebook users “checked-in” at the restaurant were easily matched to individuals seen on the surveillance photo.

There are at least a few attorneys—those defending the individuals arrested in the attack—who are gaining business from social media sleuths. But, certainly there are many other law firm professionals and citizens who have some concerns over the implications of incidents like this one.

Why? Let’s briefly consider another incident.

In 2006, an eighteen-year old woman crashed her father’s car into a tollbooth in Orange County, California. She was decapitated in the accident and the local coroner deemed the manner of death so gruesome that he did not allow the girl’s parents to identify her body, according to a recent article in the New Yorker.

“About two weeks after the accident, I got a call from my brother-in-law,” the girl’s father told Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker. “He said he had heard from a neighbor that the photos from the crash were circulating on the Internet. We asked the C.H.P., and they said they would look into it.”

Sure enough, two employees admitted that they had shared the photographs, which were now permanent additions to the World Wide Web of moral depravity.

People told the girl’s father it would all blow over.

“Nevertheless, [her father] embarked on a modern legal quest: to remove information from the Internet. In recent years, many people have made the same kind of effort, from actors who don’t want their private photographs in broad circulation to ex-convicts who don’t want their long-ago legal troubles to prevent them from finding jobs,” writes Toobin.

“Despite the varied circumstances, all these people want something that does not exist in the United States: the right to be forgotten.”

The New Yorker article discusses the U.S. versus European legal opinions about “the Internet’s unregulated idyll” here.

For law firm professionals right here, right now, the issue is very much at large.

When conducting an internal investigation, social media sites are veritable gushers of evidence. But counsel should curb their impulse to freely access and use social media accounts.

The rules surrounding the use of social media for investigations are changing as fast as online media grows and counsel must consider state enforcement rules, professional ethics opinions, and specific terms of use for each social media site.

What are the recent cases and statutes that have curbed some access to social media information? What are best practices for using specific social media platforms in an investigation? When is social media information discoverable? When is it not?

Can your employees at your firm answer all these questions? Are your clients aware of the same?

The New Yorker wants to discuss the right to fade away into the background. But what about when the law is justly brought against human rights violators, as in Philly? What about the rights to atone, stand up, or move forward?

Clearly lawyers are wrestling with many questions regarding the Internet and rights to privacy. At the same time, citizens—of all professions—should start to think about what side they’re on: the right to be forgotten or the right to be remembered.

For that last food for thought, there’s not clear answer. But, to learn more about social media and your law firm investigations, attend the Center for Competitive Management’s audio course “Social Media in Internal Investigations: What Every GC Must Know About Privacy and Ethics,” Wednesday, October 1, 2014, from 2pm to 3:15 EST.

This comprehensive webinar explores different methods for accessing and recording social media evidence, along with pitfalls, and practical tips for establishing an investigation that’s lawful, responsible and yields credible evidence.

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Settling Law Firm Disputes Like Scotland’s Referendum? Maybe Not…. But Here Are Other Ideas

Maybe it’s the referendum in Scotland, or maybe it’s the Season 6 return of legal sitcom The Good Wife, but partnership dissolution is on everybody’s mind.

Since we’re against television spoilers, let’s talk politics. On Thursday, voters said “no” to a plan to tend the 307-year union with England in 55.3 percent to 44.7 percent margin of victory. So, this week, at least, there is a single United Kingdom.

A lot of Europeans are left wondering, “What happens now?”

The queen, who reigns over the people, not politics, called for “mutual respect and support” and believes the “enduring love of Scotland” will help propel the kingdom forward, reports CBS news.

For his turn, Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown took a no-nonsense approach to the question of what’s next. Hail the conqueror, Brown is considered largely responsible for the Scottish referendum defeat. He said:

“There is a time to fight, but there is a time to unite, and this is the time for Scotland to unite and see if it can find common purpose and move from the battleground to the common ground, and let us seek to find high ground in trying to find a way forward for the future.”

The problem with a call to change is often only extreme solutions prevail. Then, at the end of the day, when more moderate voices overcome, there’s leftover resentment.

Why? Because nothing has changed.

Defeated SNP leader Alex Salmond is alleging Scotland can still separate, despite the referendum (via DailyMail Online).

Plus, headlines read “Scotland’s young, feisty yes generation has nowhere to go,” “With one battle over in Scotland, Another begins,” and “Scotland’s vote settle’s nothing.

This kind of toxic talk doesn’t just rattle national borders, it rattles law firm bureaus.

Disputes within law firms occur as often as between parliaments—whether it’s over associate compensation, partnership agreements, or even office space. Left unchecked, resulting negative chatter, gossip, and backstabbing stalls productivity and increases turnover.

Even if an internal “referendum”-style vote is taken for certain workplace decisions, law firm professionals or partners may not feel appeased.

Cue, leadership. Leaders must set reasonable standards, gain employee trust and cooperation, and constantly assess employee problems to determine appropriate action.

Set reasonable standards for change. Make sure you encourage suggestions for new practices within your firm, but these suggestions should be framed by what your firm is able and willing to do or can afford. The rhetoric you use should be firm and steadfast, but sensitive.

Next, spend time to gain the trust of your employees. This means responding to communication in a timely manner. This means being attentive to even “trivial” matters. And, it means following through on any verbal or written promises (or not making them in the first place.).

Finally, as a law firm manager, you need to spend quality face-time with your associates. This means talking to them individually, finding out their job satisfaction levels, and listening to their personal suggestions for workplace improvement. Only then will you know what kind of reasonable action can be taken—without resorting to resentment-breading referendums or radical change.

In the workplace, like politics, the storm is rarely quickly resolved. But, with proper preparation and leadership, your firm can ride out it out until the calm just around the proverbial corner.

For more advice, take The Center for Competitive Management’s audio course on Friday, October 3, 2014, at 11AM to 12:15PM EST. Sign up here.

Toxic Behavior at Work: Strategies to Reduce Dysfunction, Defuse Venom, and Improve Workplace Morale” is a comprehensive, content-rich session provides realistic solutions to reduce negativity and toxic behavior at work and provides concrete solutions to:

  • Assess the current toxicity level in your group or company,
  • Set a clear, healthier standard;
  • Detoxify the workplace environment; and
  • Get everyone on the same page about positive communication.

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Shedding Light On “Dark Data”: Answers For Academics & Attorneys

It was a happy day (for coffee drinkers) when a 1981 New England Journal of Medicine article, which published a Harvard study linking drinking coffee with pancreatic cancer, was finally double-checked and deemed bunk.

Bunk science is the term generally used when studies—even those meticulously conducted by prestigious academics—go array. When they show positive, but anomalous results.

Sometimes, as with the Harvard study, correlations are considered causation, which—we all know–confuses fiction for fact.

The existence of bunk science, however, is perhaps a positive thing. Medical studies don’t always have publishable or even particularly interesting results. But, the fact remains, they’re being conducted.

The same applies to the social sciences, where large datasets of findings often have no immediate, practical use. The key word here being “immediate.” It’s possible that one day, a new idea or new research direction could make use of such big data. So, why not hang on to it?

Well, unfortunately, big data is both costly to collect and costly to store. In 2007, the world watched Google create an unprecedented step in storage with its Palimpsest project, which offered to store and–better yet–share gigantesque data sets.

For the first time, academics had a way to preserve and perhaps reuse old data. And Google was participating in the name of science.

Sadly, the very next year, Google abandoned the project, citing financial cut-backs.

“As you know, Google is a company that promotes experimentation with innovative new products and services. At the same time, we have to carefully balance that with ensuring that our resources are used in the most effective possible way to bring maximum value to our users,” wrote Robert Tansley of Google on behalf of the Google Research Datasets team to its internal testers, reports Open Access News.

“It has been a difficult decision, but we have decided not to continue work on Google Research Datasets, but to instead focus our efforts on other activities such as Google Scholar, our Research Programs, and publishing papers about research here at Google.”

Scientific research without corporate agenda is rare. And if the financial crisis of 2008 had another victim, it was the trend of setting dark data free.

Dark data is the term applied to all those unused datasets: the ones that are collecting digital dust on somebody’s virtual shelf.

According to Thoams Goetz for Wired Magazine, however, “Technology is actually the simple part.”

“The tougher problem,” Goetz writes, “lies in the culture of science. More and more, research is funded by commercial entities, which deem any results proprietary. And even among fair-minded academics, the pressures of time, tender, and tenure can make openness an afterthought. If their research is successful, many academics guard their data like Gollum, wringing all the publication opportunities they can out of it over years. If the research doesn’t pan out, there’s a strong incentive to move on, ASAP, and a disincentive to linger in eddies that may not advance one’s job prospects.”

Law firm professionals are especially sensitive to this culture—where all information is precious and proprietary.

Luckily, in science, there’s renewed hope.

“There are some islands of innovation. Since 2002, the Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicinehas offered a peer-reviewed home to results that go negative or against the grain. Earlier this year, the journal Nature started Nature Precedings, a Web-based forum for prepublication research and unpublished manuscripts in biomedicine, chemistry, and the earth sciences,” reports Goetz for Wired.

“At Drexel University, chemist Jean-Claude Bradley practices ‘open notebook’ science—chronicling his lab’s work and sharing data via blog and wiki.”

Researchers and scientists are trying to keep data from disappearing into the dark. But, for law firm professionals, the need for dark data is dubious.

When should dark data be deleted? When should it be kept? What makes this material a potential liability, and when does that liability outweigh the potential benefits of keeping this material?

These are all questions that law firm managers should be asking, alongside legal IT departments.

Unmanaged, uncategorized content is lurking in your enterprise. This legacy data sits unmanaged and unknown in email repositories and file shares, and presents an added challenge for eDiscovery or investigations. A lack of control when it comes to ‘dark data’ can result in data spoliation, and increased collection, processing, and eDiscovery review costs.

By shrinking the dark data abyss, counsel can dramatically reduce costs and risks during litigation and government investigation. So why isn’t every GC doing it? Because dark data management is confusing, and knowing what to delete and what to keep is no easy task.

You’re not alone. The Center for Competitive Management offers a course on Wednesday, September 24, 2014, from 2pm to 3:15pm EST on “Dark Data: GC’s Guide to Identifying, Managing and Defensibly Disposing of Unmanaged Data.

During this interactive session, you will learn:

  • What ‘dark data’ is, and how it raises eDiscovery costs
  • How to create a compelling business case for data handling that is consistent with the business environment
  • What makes an information governance strategy legally defensible
  • And much more!

Sign up here.

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Legal Mentoring Or Mental Coaching? Sports Star Advice About Securing A Successful Mindset In Law Practice

Professional golfers, like most athletes have a team of coaches for every aspect of their game: swing coach, short game coach, strength and conditioning coach. However, one of the most important coaches on the roster might just be the one you’d least expect: the mental coach.

Yet, when PGA pro-golfer Jason day needed to replace his regular caddie in an important tournament, that’s exactly where he looked for help, reports Forbes Contributor Carmine Gallo in his article, “5 Mental Tune-Ups To Deliver the Presentation Of Your Life”.

“When asked how he hits a good shot, Jack Nicklaus once attributed 50 percent of it to having a solid mental picture. Only 10 percent was the swing itself,” continues Gallo.

So who is the mental coach in the practice of law?

Attorneys are rarely alone on the courtroom floor. There’s first chair and second chair to back them up. Which is why it is especially important to recognize the value of mentorship and mental coachmenship in the legal profession.

Here are some qualities from some of world’s greatest coaches of all time that law firm professionals should look for in a workplace mentor:

Be animated when you argue

Whether it’s a presentation pitch to a new client or an opening statement by counsel, you should not be afraid to be animated in your arguments. When you look for a mental coach, look for a person with a great sense of passion for his or her practice.

Slow and steady, Bobby Cox, four-time winner of Manager of the Year, led the Braves to a division title every playable season from 1991 to 2005, and a World Series win in 1995. He also holds the record for most ejections of all time with 158.

“And then you’ll probably have to write a $500 check. Or you can do what I do, write a $10,000 one and tell them when it runs out, let me know,” Cox infamously said.

Have faith in your team and your strategies for moving cases toward a win. Surround yourself with people of similar attitudes.

Take wins graciously

In sports, like law, it’s all about the win. But, for every win there’s sure to be a loss—or at least a setback. Which is why it is important to take all news, good or bad in stride.

A mental coach will respect tenacity, the ability to keep going, rain or shine, win or lose.

“I celebrate a victory when I start walking off the field. By the time I get to the locker room, I’m done,” said the leader of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Tom Osborne.

Osborne never won fewer than nine games in a season and won national championships in 1994 and 1995, as well as a share of a third in 1997.
He led a powerful ground game and tenacious defense, leaving a legacy and a record of 60–3 over his final five seasons, as the fastest coach in Division I-A history to win 250 games.

Osborne didn’t stop there. He was eventually elected as a member of Congress. Clearly people respected the personality of leader, desired the stick-with-it attitude of a man who wants to get things done, and were looking for a mental coach in their political representation.

Don’t sweat the small things

A mental coach knows that disputes between colleagues or gossiping, for example, can bring down the productivity of a case.

Walter Alston knew that about his team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. He won seven National League pennants in 23 years as the Dodgers Manager. He also knew how to keep his team focused.

“Individual grievances and pet peeves have got to go by the wayside. Generally, you don’t have to worry about the guys who are playing every day, it’s the guys who are sitting on the bench that are the ones that get needles in their pants,” said Alston.

Law firm professionals need mental coaches who have no patience for pettiness.

Don’t hurry, hustle!

Chuck Noll earned respect for his winning and caring nature. Under Noll’s leadership, Joe Gilliam became the league’s first African-American starting quarterback and Franco Harris became the first African American to win the Super Bowl MVP award.

Noll knew how to cultivate talent. He also realized that winning isn’t about rushing through plays, but about the moment when mental preparedness meets action:

“Good things happen to those who hustle.”

Law firm professionals, like professional athletes, have a lot to gain by a well-nurtured mental game.

Take The Center for Competitive Management’s audio course, “Integrating Legal Mentoring With Law Practice Management,” to find out more about how successful firms create a culture in which mentoring and coaching becomes an inclusive process that is fully integrated with how it does business.

Need other inspiration? Read “The 50 Greatest Coaches of All Time.

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