Leadership and management are two different concepts. But both involve working with others to reach common goals.

TeamworkLeadership in a law firm is challenging because lawyers are by their nature very independent and once a law firm has more than a handful of lawyers, there will be lawyers with a number of differing ideas and goals. The litigation lawyers look at world differently than transactional lawyers. Legal assistants often feel more loyalty to "their" lawyer than the firm. Members of a practice group may tend to see things the same way, which may be different than other lawyers in the firm.

There can be generational differences in attitude, but these differences can also be based on one's remaining time with the firm. The partner retiring next year will probably vote against spending money for major technology upgrades this year. And let's face it, some smaller law firms have a business or compensation structure that means they are really an office overhead sharing arrangement between solo practitioners instead of a single business entity, which makes implementation of projects like a unified marketing plan difficult, if not impossible.

My commute involves a bridge over the Oklahoma River, so I am often treated to seeing rowing teams practicing. The precision and coordination of a rowing team is quite impressive.

My column Unity of Direction in the January/February 2018 issue of Law Practice Magazine addresses the challenges of getting a team of lawyers and staff to all "row" in the same direction. I hope you enjoy the column.

Normally I would have been more more prompt about blogging about this column, especially since the January/February 2018 issue of Law Practice Magazine is a technology-themed issue with many interesting articles about law office technology and its impact on the practice of law. I'm sure part of the reason for the delay is that I was so enamored with Dennis Kennedy's column in that issue, Thinking Smartly about Smart Contracts, as readers recall from my prior post about it.

You do not have to be designated as a leader to assist with this. I wish each of you the best as you work to help the lawyers and staff you work with to all row in the same direction.