Organizational Behavior in Law Firms Essay

Introduction

The current practice of organization, governance and compensation in law firms does not match that of other business firms. Managers apply managerial approach rather than coordinated team management. Lawyers want to preserve their autonomy, and they are professional skeptics. During their training, lawyers learn to be pessimistic.

They also aim at spotting flaws. When it comes to employee compensation, lawyers do not trust the compensation committees. They insist on having a system that does not trust other people.

Lack of trust leads to several negative consequences and these can be observed in several law firms. For example, teamwork initiatives rarely are implemented. A joint plan can be developed, but commitment to group decisions proves difficult.

Discussion

In the social Learning Theory, people in a workplace learn from their colleagues. Lawyers are different in that they believe that they possess all the knowledge, which they obtained from the school (Bandura, 2002). They, therefore, do not collaborate with each other. Lack of collaboration in a firm makes a firm not to succeed because they rarely make sacrifices.

Instead, they aim at competing for their own good other than for the good of the organization. Many lawyers are reluctant to take up the role of a manager. Fear exists that the other lawyers may not treat them the way they deserve.

Lawyers do not tolerate group leadership; hence limiting executive authority in law firms, decision-making is slow. In some instances, lawyers do not arrive at a conclusion in decision-making. Law firms form committees and everyone participates in decision-making. This is a form of democracy, but it slows down decision-making process.

Cultural theories affect lawyers. These include theories that concentrate on cultural values, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences shared within an organization (Thompson, Ellis & Wildavsky, 1990). Lawyers believe that they should not trust each other, and this has led to law firms having short-term orientations. Partners, therefore, fail to invest in the firm because they feel that eventually, they will not credit for that.

Surprisingly, most partners are people who have qualified academically. They have never had the joy of experiencing team success. Their focus is self-serving, selfish, and narcissistic. Therefore, law firm’s resources are squandered hence poorly used. Most law firms make little profits because clients do not get the best lawyers.

Lawyers’ selfishness makes them have an approach that is shortsighted when it comes to decision making. Time and money investments rarely take place. Such investments would have led to immediate results that could lead to profitability.

Discussion

In the social Learning Theory, people in a workplace learn from their colleagues. Lawyers are different in that they believe that they possess all the knowledge, which they obtained from the school (Bandura, 2002). They, therefore, do not collaborate with each other. Lack of collaboration in a firm makes a firm not to succeed because they rarely make sacrifices.

Instead, they aim at competing for their own good other than for the good of the organization. Many lawyers are reluctant to take up the role of a manager. Fear exists that the other lawyers may not treat them the way they deserve.

Lawyers do not tolerate group leadership; hence limiting executive authority in law firms, decision-making is slow. In some instances, lawyers do not arrive at a conclusion in decision-making. Law firms form committees and everyone participates in decision-making. This is a form of democracy, but it slows down decision-making process.

Cultural theories affect lawyers. These include theories that concentrate on cultural values, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences shared within an organization (Thompson, Ellis & Wildavsky, 1990). Lawyers believe that they should not trust each other, and this has led to law firms having short-term orientations. Partners, therefore, fail to invest in the firm because they feel that eventually, they will not credit for that.

Surprisingly, most partners are people who have qualified academically. They have never had the joy of experiencing team success. Their focus is self-serving, selfish, and narcissistic. Therefore, law firm’s resources are squandered hence poorly used. Most law firms make little profits because clients do not get the best lawyers.

Lawyers’ selfishness makes them have an approach that is shortsighted when it comes to decision making. Time and money investments rarely take place. Such investments would have led to immediate results that could lead to profitability.

Advertising
Looking for essay on business and economics? Let’s see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF Learn More

Lawyers are also skeptical about values, ideology, and principles. In a business, confidence comes when an individual can be depended upon because he can take action according to positive pragmatic principles. Such principles could include facts such as observing clients’ interests first. If lawyers served their clients in the best way possible, their personal interests would follow soon or later.

Believing in these principles, however, does not automatically lead to commercial benefits. Partners can achieve commercial benefits if they adhere to these principles. This would lead to faster decision making. This would further lead to implementation of strategies leading to desirable teamwork results.

Partners are able to give other partners authority to come up with ideas and decisions because they are confident that decisions can be made the right way by applying the same values, which they can apply if they were in such a situation. Law firms lack this ideological consistency. They have the principles but enforcing them becomes the problem. These firms want to adapt strategies and statement of mission and values.

However, they do not state the level of penalty in case a person fails to comply. This results to ineffective implementation of strategies. Lawyers who apply common law traditions appear highly suspicious in overarching principles. They make decisions incrementally leaving open a possibility that the following case can be treated differently.

A system should be put in place to coach and help partners who fail to comply with the firm’s standards. If the instruction fails to assist the associate with sensible and substantial time, such an associate should be asked to depart the firm. This system would be close to the system used when a partner does not meet financial targets, for example, billable hours.

Application of this process would ensure that a firm excels in client service, associate supervision, and collaboration. Most lawyers believe that tackling these issues would be suicidal, idealistic, unrealistic, and un-commercial.

Such standards get preached to clients as the firm’s values. Most firms make a choice for principles, but do not take part in a ballot when it comes to implementing them. Lawyers have rules but do not have functional principles for failure of trusting the other partners. They fear that they may refuse to adhere to such principles.

Advertising
We will write a custom essay sample on Organizational Behavior in Law Firms specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
Learn More

Situational leadership theory states that people possess different personality traits (Miner, 2007). Some people are passionate while others are not. Most lawyers lack passion, and this is the reason as to why they relate poorly with each other. Many researches show that lawyers are less intimate and social as compared to other professionals.

They prefer interactions that are role-to-role whether in the firm or outside the firm. They do not prefer personal interactions. This should not be mistaken that lawyers hate people. The point here is that they prefer job to investing in personal relationships with their clients, associates, and partners.

It would be necessary to consider personal traits when choosing a leader or even a manager. Less passionate people are likely to be poor managers as compared to passionate people.

This further makes most law firms unable to market themselves because they do not know how to consider interests of a customer because they lack personal feelings. That intimacy lacks in lawyers. The way lawyers react also affects productivity of their firms and the way the firm is managed. Lawyers take the word management to mean a detached, cold, and analytical approach when it comes to business dealings.

Lawyers receive only a scorecard that they should achieve before the year ends. There is no one to help them in achieving the set goals. They are also rarely rewarded for achieving the set goals. Lawyers need to be trained on personal relations, as this would help them a fantastic deal on managing law firms.

According to Herzberg’s Two Factory Theory, employees need to be rewarded if they perform well and corrective measures should be taken against those who fail to perform (Shipley & Kiely, 1986). The management motivates lawyers rarely and this makes them loose morale.

Methods of rewarding and punishing should be communicated clearly to the employees, so that they do not live in fear that they may fail to achieve the set goals by the end of the year. They hardly know what will happen in case they fail to achieve as per the expectations. It is true that this way helps in that everyone will work hard towards achieving the set goal. However, there is the lack of cohesion and morale.

Advertising



Looking for essay on business and economics? Let’s see if we can help you! Get your first paper with 15% OFF





Learn More

Many lawyers prefer this approach, but they fail to understand that it leads to limitation of strategies within an organization. This makes firms unstable especially now that partners keep on moving from one firm to another. It can be noted that some organizations have recognized this topic’s significance.

Some managing partners have realized the importance of treating people with empathy and warmth to build personal relationships. People ought to be dealt with as people and not as objects. Lawyers also require motivation, but many firms are yet to realize this importance of motivation. Motivation leads to employee satisfaction and personal development.

Lawyers also apply peculiar ways when discussing an issue and when making decisions. They like contesting with each other. They, therefore, keep on arguing over small issue; hence slow decision-making. They like challenging each other’s ability. In a law firm, the lawyers will attack even a brilliant idea.

Lawyers aim at identifying loopholes thus destroying, postponing or dismissing ideas regardless of the person who initiated them. An idea can be postponed for so many times and eventually the lawyers will not arrive at a comprehensive conclusion. The committee chairs in making decisions spend a lot of time.

They always have a lengthy memo before making a single decision. Another management strategy also exists where proposals remain ambiguous to avoid such attacks by the lawyers.

Law firms hold on to half measures inclination with pitiable plans that ensure that there is a low probability of success. For lawyers, they will agree to make service teams for the clients, but if asked the meaning of such teams, they do not disclose. When asked their responsibilities, most of them will say that should be worked on later. Obligations of such team members also take ages before figuring them out.

All these combined, with the use of committees to resolve issues, make everything disastrous. Some attorneys agree that their training does not include making decisions and not to have such closures. In their arguments, lawyers’ objectives do not appear logic, reasonable, fair, or consistency (Miner, 2007).

Law profession rewards lawyers in terms of their persuasiveness, verbal agility, rhetoric, and point scoring. This is what they bring in the firm at a time of significant discussions. Lawyers view risk in a strange way. In many other firms, decision-making happens for the last time. People do not have to keep on meeting in order to agree on something. The managers are entrusted with decision-making; hence no time wastage.

In law firms, chances are not influential in discussions but likelihood. In other dealings, proceedings and groundbreaking thinking operate as crucial necessities for business breakthrough. Companies look forward to tactical inventiveness and thoughts which have not been implemented by others.

Lawyers seem different because in case of a new idea, they will unanimously ask to be told of other firms doing the same leading to failure of an idea. They do not see the need for a change since they do not view this as a strategic advantage to the law firm.

Conclusion

Law firms lack competitive advantage because lawyers compete against each other and do not understand personal relationships. However, they do well financially. Law firms have discovered that hard work and cutting down costs, without caring how the associates will take it, helps them in achieving their goals. This, however, does not serve as the best approach to profitability.

The issues discussed above need to be addressed by law firms if they want to deliver as per their vision statement. Issues such as expected behavior and common standards need to be addressed without fear. Law firms require Cultural Revolution for them to achieve their ambitions.

Dysfunctional behavior should not be tolerated since it prevents proper functioning of an organization. Hope exists because what law firms practice does not present law, but common tendencies practiced by lawyers.

Many other firms have been able to tackle issues to do with trust, culture, and behaviour of the partners. Law firms should not be exceptional. Repeated interactions lead to trust among individuals because of the long history they have had in the past.

Some light ahead among the partners further increases the degree of trust. Over time, people learn to trust each other. Teamwork is necessary for achievement of set goals. Ambiguity should be avoided at all costs, and decisions should be made clear to all partners.

Minimum standards ought to be agreed upon since firms have several lawyers. All the lawyers must be willing to adhere to these standards. Management of law firms requires that the managers pay attention to the management processes that ought to be applied. Lawyers must understand that legal issues are equally valuable as management issues.

References

Bandura, A. (2002). Social learning theory (Repr. ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice- Hall.

Miner, J. B. (2007). Organizational behavior 4: from theory to practice. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

Shipley, D. D., & Kiely, J. A. (1986). Industrial salesforce motivation and Herzberg’s dual factor theory. Stoke-on-Trent (College Rd., Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE): North Staffordshire Polytechnic, Department of Management Studies.

Thompson, M., Ellis, R., & Wildavsky, A. B. (1990). Cultural theory. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *