There are lots of ‘how-to-succeed-in-business’ books out there, but as far as the legal profession is concerned, this special report from Globe Law and Business is outstanding.
Law after all, is a business as well as a profession, as even the most traditionally minded lawyers are bound to admit.
Commercial law firms are becoming more challenging environments, says author Antonin Besse. Having had a lengthy career as a senior partner at Magic Circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, he knows whereof he speaks, all-the-more so because he is also an executive coach who works closely with such institutions as the Said Business School at Oxford. His advice is intensely practical and do-able; hard-headed, yet humane.
We consider that the reasonably ambitious, self-motivated practitioner, whether barrister or solicitor, will love it.
As the title indicates, you as a lawyer can lead in a law firm. You take charge of your own career and career development. Forward planning is vital, although lots of lawyers devote little time to it, embroiled as they usually are in devising solutions to client problems. However, says the author, ‘it’s no longer an option simply to think that ‘a partnership would be nice, or to have no stronger guiding principle than “let’s see what happens.”
As most lawyers tend to regard themselves less as team players than autonomous beings, a considerable amount of advice is offered here on essential leadership skills, including business awareness, team building, network development and the profitable management of client matters.
Further comment is given on such issues as wellbeing and work-life balance, which interestingly, were taboo subjects during the earlier stages of the author’s career. Not talked about then, except in whispers, they are key considerations now.
All this sounds like good news, except for a note of caution from the author who still thinks that all too often, the profit-driven commercial law firm partnership remains focused on ‘business, billings and the bottom line.’
A new social contract is called for, he insists, as he advocates ground-floor initiatives primarily from ‘associates and younger partners’ to bring it about, particularly those who find themselves inspired to ‘say what they think, articulate what they expect and be clear and forthright into the bargain’.
Fortunately, this report is crammed full of sensible, clear-eyed guidance as to the means by which all this can be achieved. Note in the appendices, for example, the detailed templates and charts for self-appraisal, career planning and project management.
Eminently readable and based on long experience, this special report is applicable to — and certainly useful for — any lawyer in any stage of a legal career, from early days to pre-retirement.
The date of publication of this special paperback report is cited as at 30th April 2019.