An article in the McKinsey Quarterly, 2007 No. 1 at 77, discusses the halo effect. “[I]t describes the tendency to make specific inferences on the basis of a general impression.” For example, a company’s “performance, good or bad, creates an overall impression – a halo – that shapes how we perceive its strategy, leaders, employees, culture, and other elements.”
Likewise, I extrapolate, a particular person’s rank in a law department creates an overall impression, good or bad, that shapes how we perceive the lawyer’s style, intelligence, ambition, leadership abilities, creativity and other elements. Halos surround not just companies but also people. General counsel, and all managing lawyers, need to be aware of the halo effect and evaluate people on objective measures and clear-eyed observation.