A set of professional shortcomings in law departments

For a retreat that I facilitated, the lawyers of the department suggested several dysfunctional situations that they wanted to improve. All of them evidence failures of teamwork or collegiality.
(See my post of April 5, 2009: teamwork and collaboration internally with 16 references.).

Lawyers failing to get another lawyer to review their work on significant documents, such as written legal opinions and template agreements. This leads to poor work going to clients, often leading to greater embarrassment and work that needs to be corrected.

Lawyers criticizing another lawyer to a client. Often such criticism is done by implication, not directly.

Lawyers siding with clients when client is criticizing the legal department for slowness, getting in the way, being too conservative, or something similar.

Lawyers telling a client that an idea is “dumb” or some other pejorative statement, rather than taking the time to explain the legal problems with the idea. This usually happens with lower level clients.

Lawyers advising against a project when the advice is based not only on legal concerns but also on the lawyer’s business judgment that the project is not appropriate for the organization, but the lawyer fails to expressly distinguish between the legal and business concerns.

Lawyers failing to return phone calls of colleagues.

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