I have been working on a business parable book for the last couple of years with Brice Voran, a former Shearman and Sterling partner, who is now of counsel. We are finally finished and getting the book ready to be published and available on Kindle. The book is about David, a rainmaker, in a large Houston firm for whom no associates want to work.
David, is a top rainmaker bringing in big clients. Yet, his team, including those who make partner, leave and join other firms. David is a composite of partners of mine and partners I encountered during my career and have met in other firms.
Your firm might have a David. You might be David and not even realize it.
David has a fixed mindset. He is bright, hard working and has an ego as big as all outdoors. He has never made a mistake (or at least never admitted to making a mistake). He has a superiority complex. Everyone else is out of step. Behind their back, he describes lawyers others think are very talented, as dumb or lazy. He even talks down about his clients behind their back. Each client has some kind of flaw.
You are not likely as talented or as smart as David. You never will be and you should be thankful. Hopefully your idea of personal success is not being more talented or smarter than other lawyers, but rather working the hardest so you can to be the best you are capable of being.
Does David remind you of any lawyers in your firm? Does he remind you of any public figures?
One of the challenges of writing the parable book about David is figuring out what would realistically cause David to change. I think it is almost impossible. Lawyers like David blame everyone but themselves when something goes wrong. When lawyers leave their firms, most lawyers like David will put down the lawyer to his or her friends and will never acknowledge those lawyer’s positive contributions.
Here is the first three chapters of the current draft of It Takes a Team. Put yourself in my shoes and Brice’s shoes. How would you get David to change?