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Management by Fear Is Becoming Ineffective at Law Firms

The American Lawyer

Los Angeles partner and co-leader of the firm's Business Trial practice Sascha Henry spoke with Patrick Smith at The American Lawyer on surrounding how today's effective managing attorneys use communication and mutual respect to inspire good work.  

Henry commented, "The biggest management change since she started practicing law 24 years ago is the frequency and feedback involved in communication with leaders.  When I was an associate, you had this annual review at the end of the year and that was the first time you got feedback over the course of the year.” We have now tried to create a constant feedback loop.”

That manifests, she said, in junior attorneys having a clearer understanding of what they are and aren’t doing well. That eliminates some fear of the unknown.

“Back in the day, if you got a brief back that was all marked up, you got scared.” “Now [associates] know feedback is coming and that has been a huge change in the environment in terms of developing attorneys.  We have worked very hard to create a culture where the yell-and-scream manager doesn’t exist.  It wasn’t effective even then. It created an atmosphere of fear."


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