I watch high school and college students clicking on their phones even when the person with whom they are communicating is close enough to speak in person. I fear young lawyers have gone from meeting in person and talking on the telephone to email and texting.

When I was still practicing law and mentoring our firm’s young lawyers, I frequently played the role of a business client and video taped my first meeting with a young lawyer. It was a great way for our young lawyers to practice.

I got the idea way back when I was in law school. In our Estates class, the professor played the role of the client and over the semester we had to probate an estate with the county clerk going along with the exercise.

Several years ago I read a short article by famous writer and management consultant Peter Drucker in the Harvard Business Review. The title of the article was What Makes an Effective Executive. He noted that the CEOs with whom he had worked were all over the map. Some were extroverted and some were near reclusive. Yet, what made them all effective is they followed the same eight practices.

It occurred to me that effective lawyers and business developers follow most, if not all, the same eight practices. Here is the list.

  • Practices 8.pngThey listen first and speak last
  • They asked: “What needs to be done?”
  • They asked; “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • They developed action plans
  • They took responsibility for decisions
  • They took responsibility for communicating
  • They were focused on opportunities rather than problems
  • They ran productive meetings
  • They thought and said “we” rather than “I”

Don’t these really apply to lawyers? If so, which of these practices are you actually doing?

In 2020 you may have to practice on-line meetings with clients. If so the same principles would apply.