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Cats in a flap

2 February 2010

‘Cat herder required’ would, according to many observers of our profession, be an appropriate advertisement for the post of managing partner at a modern day law firm (Herding Cats by Gerald Riskin and Patrick J McKenna,1995). It seems that the authors of textbooks in this area categorise us as difficult individuals who prove tricky to manage and relish independence to the extent that teamwork can prove problematic. How rude.

It is, however, pleasing to know that some consider the topic of man management within law firms of sufficient import and interest to dedicate entire books to it, as in my experience this vital issue is far too often overlooked. Managing people can be pooh-poohed by lawyers as a soft skill which is not worth training and investment, but as firms make money from the work carried out by their staff surely it should be at the very top of any partners’ summit agenda?

I have worked at four different firms to date; all of them were large national pra...

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