Don't let ego sabotage your leadership

Lawyers have a lot on their plates. Sometimes that is unavoidable, but often it is. It can be hard to recognize that sometimes, your own ego might be what’s stressing you out and slowing you down. Lawyers might be legal professionals, but they’re also businesspeople. Effectively running a firm sometimes requires that you stop and take stock of how your practice — and your life — could be running more smoothly. 

Recognizing the top ways that a lawyer’s ego gets in the way is the first step to making positive changes. Relinquishing the reins in a few key areas can lead to higher earnings, increased productivity, and a better work-life balance. 

1. Refusal to Delegate 

An inability to delegate is one of the top factors that halts productivity in a law firm. It can be hard to trust that a paralegal or associate will do the quality work your clients expect. Some firms simply don’t have sufficient staffing for delegation to be a possibility. 

Making the most of your time as a lawyer often means stopping to realize when something is below your pay grade. You can review work done by those you supervise without putting in hours of your own time. Your time could be better spent elsewhere. 

2. Underbilling

Underbilling is often a direct consequence of a refusal to delegate. When a lawyer insists on personally handling tasks that ought to be performed by a subordinate, they end up underbilling a client for the hours they’ve put in. 

Underbilling takes a toll on a firm’s profitability and on a lawyer’s quality of life. You shouldn’t have to spend hours doing unpaid work. You’ve done the work to earn a law degree and build a client base. Effective delegation allows you to be appropriately compensated for the time you put in. 

3. Lack of Collaboration

A law firm is a team. Even if you’re a solo practitioner, you should still have support staff and colleagues you can rely on. It can be easy to fall into a rut of thinking that you know best. However, experience and efficiency don’t always correlate. 

Taking the time to rely on your network for help and learning more about the experience of others in your office can lead to insights and realizations. Trying something new can help you save on both time and stress.

4. Resistance to Feedback

Lawyers aren’t the only professionals who are resistant to having their work or procedures critiqued. If you’re sensitive to feedback or interpret critiques as criticisms, it can cause colleagues to walk on eggshells, inhibit clear communication, and lead you to miss out on opportunities. 

Effective leadership often requires being open to new perspectives and willing to listen to new ideas. Asking for feedback and not taking it personally can lead to a more efficient workflow and a more enjoyable work environment. 

5. Stubbornness

Stubbornness is often a double-edged sword in the legal field. Stubbornly refusing to give up on a case is often the characteristic that delivers the results your clients want. At the same time, stubbornness in the wrong areas can hold you back in a huge number of ways. 

Whether it’s switching from hard copy to digital files or hopping aboard the online marketing bandwagon, many lawyers exhibit a stubborn reluctance to change that often does more harm than good. Recognizing when it’s time to stick to your guns and when you’re being overly stubborn helps you set your ego aside and do what’s best for yourself, your colleagues, and your firm.    

6. Micromanagement

Lawyers know that the devil is often in the details. A high level of attention can be what makes or breaks a case. However, it’s not practical to oversee every single little thing that goes on in a firm. 

Consider where your work practices might be considered an instance of micromanaging. Identifying where oversight is needed, where it’s unnecessary, and when it can be delegated to an associate or paralegal. Effective management frees up time, boosts morale, and reduces the risk of job burnout

7. Setting Inflexible Policies

It’s easy for lawyers to get buried in everyday work. It’s important to take the time to pause and consider the environment and culture of your firm and how your policies impact your associates, paralegals, and other staff members. 

The pandemic opened the door to a significant lifestyle change, proving that law firms can still run on more flexible policies. It’s worth taking the time to consider your policies on remote work, attendance, and start and end times. Sometimes, minor policy changes can significantly increase employee satisfaction and retention rates. 

Delegation Is a Lawyer’s Best Friend

Having a high standard is what keeps clients coming back to your firm. It’s also a key reason why lawyers fall into habits like resisting change and micromanaging. A common mindset is that if you do it yourself, you know it’ll get done right. 

Effectively enacting strategies that lighten your workload means you need to know that when you delegate a task, it’ll be done with the same level of care, expertise, and professionalism you’d do it with. 

That’s where an attorney staffing service can help. A staffing service vets candidates carefully so you can trust that every task is done correctly. Knowing you have the right support makes it much easier to delegate tasks and redirect your focus to where it can best serve your firm. 

Lighten the Load Today

Woven Legal is a legal staffing service with a reputation for providing quality legal assistance. We offer a personalized placement process to ensure you’re well-matched with the legal professional we send your way.

Whether you need a paralegal, a legal assistant, or a client intake specialist, Woven Legal offers top-tier legal staffing on a contract basis. You choose from 10 to 40 hours of assistance a week so the services you pay for align with your firm’s needs. 

Lighten the load today. Book a discovery call to discuss how Woven Legal can help your law firm run more smoothly. 

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