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What makes the essence of a good lawyer?

Sound legal knowledge, crossed with management credibility and blended with good people skills, would create a heady mix, says Catherine Shephard

20 January 2015

I was recently asked what I considered to be the essence of a good lawyer. My first thought was that it wasn’t an essence I’d want on my dressing table, bottled as it would be in faint grey pinstripe and smelling of all things sensible.

It was, however, a very good question, and now seems an opportune time to consider the answer to it, with the fresh perspective that a new year and new term brings.

Management credibility

Starting from the top, while (so far) none of the alternative business structure have blown us out of the water, the elephant in the room is that, for a profession which prides itself on comprehensive legal training, management training has barely featured. Shouldn’t the essence of lawyer have a whiff of management credibility about it?

Of course, while we delivered on our one-third profit model we were the envy of professional managers in other sectors, and it is possible we thought we had little to...

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