Books On Business Strategy For The Busy Lawyer

Yesterday, lawyers were reminded that the law reviews serve to inspire business strategy. Today, the lesson is less metaphorical and more material.

So, if your firm’s managing partners are looking for inspiration on how to run a successful law firm, don’t forget to add the following publications to your mahogany-encased reading list:

For leadership, try Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl by Motley Fool’s Lou Ann Lofton.

Disparity in levels of confidence is responsible for creating a gender bias in business.

Studies show that men are prone to adopt more powerful poses, which in turn increase their level of testosterone and lower their level of cortisol. Incidentally enough, this physical reaction to a simple difference in sitting position can actually separate men from women in terms of more effective leadership.

But, men and women can change their positions and behavior. Just like women should look to adopt more powerful poses—arms stretched out, for example—men should look to harness their feminine strengths.

This is where Lofton’s book comes into play.

“If you are a man, [the book is] a great tutorial on how to incorporate your feminine strengths. For women, it’s validating,” writes Whitney Johnson in the article, “If You Want to Lead, Read These 10 Books,” by the Harvard Business Review Blog.

“At a deeper level, she’s making the case that traditionally masculine—and feminine strengths matter. This book helps articulate that.”

Next, to open up your books, open up some chapters of Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy. This is a business student’s Bible, and yet lawyers seem oblivious.

Business strategy is practically defined by Porer’s five forces, and—after 60 plus printings—the books is a powerful force that will move profits and stave of losses for your firm. Use as directed.

So now you’ve groomed the leaders who earn it and the financiers who spend it, what about those negotiators who save money for your firm?

Roger Fisher and William Ury’s book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In was an international bestseller for good reason. Within the field of law, not only should attorneys be good negotiators for trial practice, they should also be good negotiators for business practice.

Whether it’s administrators negotiating for lower contract services fees (copiers, printers, etc.), managers negotiating for higher billable hours, or lawyers negotiating for better verdicts, your law firm must hone the art and skill of negotiation.

And, if you’re the type to trust free markets, then you should trust this testimonial from famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith:

“This is by far the best thing I’ve ever read about negotiation. It is equally relevant for the individual who would like to keep his friends, property, and income and the statesman who would like to keep the peace.”

Finally, if you haven’t already read it, stock your shelves with a copy of My Life in Courtby Louis Nizer. In the end, lawyers should love the field of law. Nizer’s book can reinforce the many reasons you endured years of schooling and associate hazing.

Initially suggested as a must-read by Roy Black to the ABA Journal, the book My Life In Court is about the famous cases of Louis Nizer’s. Louis Nizer’s memoirs will amaze, but so will the fact that the worked for his firm just 10 days before his death at the age of 92.

Roy Black, partner with Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf in Miami, said of the legal autobiography:

“In college I read Louis Nizer’s legal memoir My Life in Court. I walked along with him into those old courtrooms and watched him perform, mesmerized by his brilliant and fluent advocacy. Long before I turned the last page, I desperately wanted to follow his path. His true stories make the Grisham and Turow legal thrillers pale and bloodless by comparison.”

Whether it’s a rainy day for your business or literally just a rainy day, curl up to these books for a better practice of law and business.

-WB

 

Books are not the only source of business advice. Try reading the training resources provided by The Center For Competitive Management. These short, comprehensive, and pertinent publications will keep your firm in the black instead of bleeding red.

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