As you know, I have co-authored three parable books: Say Ciao to Chow Mein, Rising Star and It Takes a Team. Say Ciao is about Tony, a young lawyer burning out, Rising Star is about Gina, Tony’s wife, who is about to lose her one large client and feels she may be a “one hit wonder.” (Gina and Tony are also characters in my novel.) Team is about a rainmaker, David Coleman, for whom no young lawyer wants to work. (he’s the bad guy in my novel.)

I wrote each of the books to address what I saw in law firms. If I write another business parable book, I want to focus on leadership. I find many senior lawyers do not know the difference between managing and leadership.

I asked a friend who has been around law firm leaders for 25 years to tell me how law firm leaders spend their time. Here is what he told me:

  1. Most law firm leaders spend the majority of their time thinking about and dealing with the most recent and urgent issue related to the firm. These issues are typically not critical to the firm’s future but are small fires burn that leaders derive satisfaction from extinguishing.
  2. Most law firm leaders are consumed with thinking about matters related to making their law firm bigger. There is a national obsession with growth without direction.
  3. Most law firm leaders are focused on Profits Per Partner. This focus is typically not related to any strategic imperative but the AMLAW 100.

It is easy to make a list of what law firm leaders don’t focus on that is important. The very best law firm leaders I have met focus on:

  • Direction
  • Motivation
  • Communication,
  • Values,
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Inspiring
  • LEADING.

Just suppose you spent your time on LEADING. It could easily distinguish your firm from competitors.