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Andrew Woolley on Practice Management

Date:26 MAY 2010

What type of management should we apply to our lawyers?

Andrew WoolleyThere are all sorts of types of management styles that have been identified. If you are the sort who needs to read the background then I can suggest a good read to be Leadership by John Adair. Oh, and I am not going to get into the argument about the difference between management and leadership! Let's just accept for now that they are the same for our purposes.

What style do law firms normally use? My guess is that most don't know. We should.

Some lawyers need regular checking up on and input and some need next to no input or checking. My suggestion is that we should identify which "section" each is in and apply the relevant amount of management input, ranging from a lot to very little indeed. I suspect that now many firms apply the same to all thus wasting valuable management time or they apply no management at all. The latter is dangerous and not only with regards to the Code of Conduct.

Significant input to those who don't need or want it may well have the unintended effect of demotivating them. As they may well be our best performers, we really need to avoid that.

We lawyers need to much improve our management sophistication. I say "sophistication" but actually that may imply it is a very difficult thing. It isn't. It is easy but not simple.

Andrew Woolley is the Senior Partner of Woolley & Co solicitors which he set up in 1996 as the world's first 'virtual' lawfirm with no traditional offices but a network of home based lawyers. Click here to follow Woolley & Co on Twitter

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