Welcome to the 50th Episode of the Geek in Review!!
American Lawyer Media Reporter, Dylan Jackson, joins us this week to discuss two of his recent articles which focused on the mental health of law firm staff, as well as the persistent caste system which still exists in the large law firm environment. Jackson talked with a number of people within law firms regarding how firms view the mental health of staffers, what firms are doing (or not doing) to address the issues, as well as how firms value their staff’s contribution to the success of the firm. While the days of having a chair tossed at you by a partner might have faded in the past couple of decades, the stress placed on staff to handle more work, and to take on much more strategic missions for the law firm has significantly increased over the past ten years. Jackson found that it is still difficult for even the most senior of staff to get a seat at the table within the law firm, and that old barriers still exist to separate lawyers from the professional staff. In the end, these professionals need to be recognized for their contribution, and they want to be treated with respect.
The Dark Side of Personality Tests
Many law firms are conducting personality assessments on their lawyers and staff. The idea is that if we better understood each other’s personalities, we can communicate better. Author Quinisha Jackson-Wright points out in a New York Times piece a significant flaw in personality tests when other use it to “fix” the other person, rather than adapt their own behavior. It’s important that workers don’t feel like they are being “outed” by being a certain personality type. (Plus some extra reading)
KM as a SUSTAINED Innovation Practice
Ark Group’s new book, Tomorrow’s KM-Innovation, comes some of the best practices around Knowledge Management in law firms. Ranging from the diversity needed within KM, to where innovation sits, to the collaboration needed for KM projects to succeed, this book covers it. While the US firms are still trying to define KM, it seems that firms outside the US have a clear vision.
What is your Law Firm’s Purpose?
Bruce MacEwan at Adam Smith, Esq., builds upon the recent announcement by The Business Roundtable that corporations should no longer view maximizing shareholder profits as the sole guiding principle for its existence. How should this effect law firms? When partners ask the question “What is your Law Firm’s Purpose?” of course, compensation is high up there… but what else is its purpose? MacEwan hopes that the answer is much more than the usual response of “it depends.”
Looking to Code?
Marlene discovered a fun (and free) place to learn some of the basics of coding. Free Code Camp has a number of options ranging from how to survive a tech conference, to even building your own version of a Flappy Bird game.