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Category Archives: Program Rewind

Moneyball Studies: Lessons Learned

What do baseball teams and law firms have in common? Probably not a whole lot, but as Monique Drake of Lawyer Metrics LLC told us at the Leadership Summit on January 25, legal employers can learn a lot from the Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane and his moneyball hiring strategies, where he constructs a baseball team built strategically for success. Both in baseball and law, employers need to identify real correlations and eliminate outmoded identifiers of success.

Billy Beane, General Manager Oakland Athletics

In baseball, you have statistics like runs batted in or home runs  which are may be indicative of a star player, but these statistics may not yield the maximum impact for the health of the team, overall. For instance, is it a good trade-off, if for every home run that a player hits, he strikes out five times? Probably not, right? Consistency, or on-base percentage, will likely be a greater predictor of overall team success, while home runs will indicate an individual with great statistics.

Legal employers can have their own moneyball statistics too. Professors Marjorie Shultz and Sheldon Zedeck of the University of California at Berkeley released a study in 2003, “Predicting Lawyer Effectiveness: Broadening the Basis for Law School Admission Decisions”, which identified 26 effectiveness factors by which to evaluate attorneys and potential hires, including, Analysis and Reasoning, Stress Management, and an Ability to See the World through the Eyes of Others. The traditional hiring attributes, like grades, law review, and class rank have the potential to be like home runs or RBI – the qualities of a star – but they may not be the qualities that are the most effective for your team.

The key to finding what skills will be the most effective begins with identifying what makes someone the most successful at your individual organization. Here is what Drake recommends:

  • Step 1: Identify measures of success.
  • Step 2: Identify your most successful attorneys based on these measures – perhaps your top 20 to 40 – depending on your size.
  • Step 3: Analyze the background of your most successful attorneys for common traits that positively or negatively predict success.
  • Step 4: Develop an effective interviewing process to determine if a candidate has these skills or traits.
  • Step 5: Implement the process!

After you have identified your definition of success and implemented your process, it is important to follow through with intention. In baseball, it is important to place your newly acquired talent where they can be the most effective in the batting order, so you can minimize the talent’s weak areas, while they are being honed. Similarly, it is important to give your attorneys the best opportunity to succeed, so they can be great members of your team, on a long-term basis and attract clients/fans!

Monique Drake   Lawyer Metrics LLC

To ensure your talent is the most effective, Drake challenged employers to integrate your new factors of success into all of talent management and development and to communicate the factors regularly to the organizations attorneys and work them into your organization’s culture. Drake also urged organizations to refine how work is allocated to ensure associates are able to receive feedback and can be sponsored or championed by rainmakers and partners of influence, rather than only by service partners. Finally Drake pressed attendees to identify the traits in your corporate culture that may be barriers to success and to provide development opportunities to help alleviate their influence.

While baseball and law may not have (m)any direct links, the comparison between building a strong team is pretty uncanny. Knowing what best prepares your attorneys for a successful career in your organization is imperative for retention and the long-term vitality of your attorneys – both minority and majority.

For more information:

Lawyer Metrics LLC | http://www.lawyermetrics.com/home.html

Shultz & Zedeck | https://breakintolaw.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/predicting-effectiveness-shultz-zedeck.pdf

What has your law firm or corporate legal department done to help choose successful attorneys? What have you done to make relatively unsuccessful attorneys turn their career trajectory around?

 

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Dialogue with the Deans: Legal Education & Diversity

As many current law students and recent graduates know, the legal hiring market has been particularly difficult for the last couple of years and is only slowly rebounding. We see a smaller number of clerkships at large law firms and employers that are more tentative in their hiring practices than they were in the early 2000s. As more law students are having issues finding a job, word has gotten out to potential students, and the number of people applying to law school has declined, nationally.

Dean Eric Janus

Dean Eric Janus

Associate Dean Ed Butterfoss

Associate Dean
Ed Butterfoss

As fewer people apply to law school and local law schools are accepting fewer students, we wanted to know how this is affecting diversity at their schools. In a recent roundtable discussion, leadership from the four Twin Cities law schools discussed practices and policies that they have implemented to address this new normal in legal education and the lack of diversity in the legal profession pipeline.

The roundtable participants – Associate Dean Ed Butterfoss (Hamline University School of Law), Dean Eric Janus (William Mitchell College of Law), Director of Diversity Artika Tyner (University of St. Thomas School of Law) and Dean David Wippman (University of Minnesota Law School) – cited various strategies that laws schools use to try to attract a more diverse pool of J.D. candidates, including scholarships, programs highlighting what makes the Twin Cities great, law school fairs from other regions of the country, and law school prep programs.  Despite these strategies, however, with a reduction in the incoming class size at each school, comes a decrease in the total number of diverse law students entering law school in the Twin Cities.

Employers are also increasingly seeking graduates with practical skills, reports Dean Janus.  Each of William Mitchell, Hamline and St. Thomas have implemented additional curriculum, extern- and internships and certifications aimed at developing skills law students can use to hit the ground running after passing the bar. In addition, the University of Minnesota now offers business development programming, Hamline is hoping to launch a master’s program in the study of law, and law schools offer targeted study groups and academic support for students.

Dean David Wippman

Dean David Wippman

Artika Tyner, Director of Diversity

Artika Tyner
Director of Diversity

Dean Wippman noted that the recent expansion of generally available online courses (a phenomenon also known as “MOOC Mania” for the massive open online courses, often offered free of charge) may also cause law schools to rethink the basic model of legal education, as these courses could cover topics only previously offered by law schools.

Questions from attendees spurred discussion about a recent study by Professors Schultz and Zedeck which challenges the premises underpinning law school admission decisions. Leadership, recruiters and law schools in the local community should think critically about traditional admission, recruitment and hiring models based on the competencies highlighted by this research.

By the Numbers:

Students of color make up 24% of the 2012 class at Minnesota, 19% at Hamline and 13% at each of St. Thomas and William Mitchell.

Do you want to read the results of the Schultz and Zedeck study on what makes a successful lawyer? Find out more information at the link below!

Predicting Effectiveness – Shultz & Zedeck

 
 

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Program Rewind: When Generations Collide

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”  

– George Orwell

With the each new generation entering the workforce, comes new styles of communicating, new perspectives on the world, and new ideas of what is considered the right way to get things done. Oftentimes, ignorance about these varied ways of communication can lead to tension in the workplace and sometimes unfortunate perceptions of entire generations. Who is to say that communicating only via e-mail with colleagues is wrong, even when they are just down the hall? Who is to say that holding a meeting to prepare for the upcoming Board meeting is a waste of time? Each of these concepts is actually common among the generation of people that use these methods the most – Millenials and Baby Boomers, respectively.

Recently, Diversity in Practice brought in Amy Lynch, of BridgeWorks, to come address a group of attorneys as a part of our Professional Development Series. Amy stressed the importance meeting in the middle when working with colleagues from different generations. No generation has a monopoly on what is right, rather, each style of communication has its separate contexts, which make it applicable to daily life.

Do you find yourself working with people from different generations? Here are some examples on how to meet them in the middle.

Traditionalists (born prior to 1946)

  • Respect that many Traditionalists view their legacy at work as very important.
  • Face time is key. Look to Traditionalists as mentors and allow them to pass on their knowledge to you, while showing your worth by imparting knowledge about how to use new pieces of technology that your office has implemented or other things that may be beneficial for them to know.

Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964)

  • Baby boomers entered the work force before the idea of a work/life balance.
  • While Boomers may have mastered the art of voice mail, digital everything may still be a little beyond their comfort zone. If you need something reviewed, try sending it via email and following up with a paper copy.
  • Baby boomers love to meet, and holding meetings may be important to gain their buy-in. For those of you who dread meetings, be prepared with a precise agenda that limits the need for follow-up meetings.

Generation X (born 1965 – 1981)

  • Gen X generally yearns for efficiency and doesn’t want to stay in the office all day. Limit ineffective meetings and be prepared.
  • Feedback is important, and often wanted immediately. Set a time with Gen Xers to determine the best time for feedback.

Millenials (born 1982 – 2000)

  • Millenials often do not look at work as a function of life, rather as part of their reality, and thus want their work to have meaning. Make sure to show them the importance of what they are doing.
  • Millenials grew up in the era of the 24 news cycle and the Internet. They are used to quick and constant communication and being able to be heard with the click of the mouse. Give Millenials an outlet for their voice to be heard.

Interested in more ways to learn how to work with other generations? Check out the books written by the Bridgeworks team:

Also, check out our Facebook page for photos of the Amy Lynch event!

What have you noticed about other generations’ communication styles? How have you adapted your behavior accordingly?

 

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Unspoken Bias and You: The Power of Micromessages

“Don’t worry, I’m still listening.”

“Here is the next candidate. Her resume is so great. Everyone in the department is excited for her.”

“I didn’t say she stole the client…”

Have you heard any of these quotes around the office? Perhaps you’ve said them recently yourself? Don’t worry, we are all guilty of using micromessages, or unspoken cues. Positive messages, or Microadvantages show a bias for, while negative messages, or Microinequities, show a bias against. In order to create and maintain an inclusive work environment, we should be aware of how these micromessages show our conscious and unconscious biases.

As a resource for attorneys in the Twin Cities, we hear from people about how others’ unconscious bias has been a major barrier to advancement within the profession and comfort at their current place of employment. The unconscious bias for some individuals, can lead to unbalanced access, and can truly impede professional development for others. As such, we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring in Stephen Young, of Insight Education Systems, who has literally written the book on micromessages (“Micromessaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words”), to discuss the importance of, not only the words that you use, but also how you say them.

Below, we have included two examples of micromessages, to help set you on the right track toward being aware of your own biases, and to help identify those of others. If you want to know more, feel free to check out Mr. Young’s book.

“Micromessaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words”

1. Introductions

The way in which you introduce yourself or someone else can have a major impact on the result of a meeting or relationship, because of micromessages that show bias, either real or perceived. Imagine you introduce two new colleagues to another co-worker in the following way:

“Hey, Sandra! Come meet our three newest department protoges! This is Hakeem – Harvard graduate, top of his class. Impressive, right? This is Michelle, she just got back from a year teaching English in Cambodia! And this – I’m sorry – I forgot your name…is it Meghan?”

Clearly, Meghan is going to feel a little down on herself, knowing that you almost forgot her name and didn’t remember anything that you had talked about previously. This may be the beginning of Meghan feeling on the outside looking in, which could cycle into not feeling comfortable sharing ideas or taking on leadership opportunities within the deapartment, which could ultimately lead to Meghan not being successful within your organization.

Instead, make sure to balance your introductions or allow the three new hires to introduce themselves. This will allow each of the three, to feel like they are on equal ground and have the same opportunity to succeed within your group.

2. Any other ideas?

Have you ever been in a brainstorm session, and say something that you think is insightful, only to have the moderator say, “That’s great. Any other ideas?” Mr.Youngdiscussed how we throw around words like great and terrific, to the point that they don’t mean anything, unless you back it up with discussion on the merit of the idea. By quickly moving on, the moderator showed a lack of interest, and by invoking the word other, he or she implied that they were searching for something better or an alternative option.Mr.Young says, that if a manager or discussion moderator takes time to offer a true reaction or assessment of merit of each idea, team members will be more likely to come up with ideas in a greater volume and potentially think with greater innovation in mind.

Still skeptical? Mr. Young led the following exercise, which is also included on page 161 of his book, that showed how much impact microinequities have on a person’s performance.

You will need a partner to do this exercise. One of you will be Person A, and the other Person B. Person A speaks and Person B only listens. Have Person A talk through each of the eight items in the columns below, starting with Segment 1, followed by Segment 2, making sure to audibly note when switching to the second Segment.

Segment 1Name/Tenure, Position, Responsibilities, Work Challenge

Segment 2Previous role, Organization, Responsibilities, Current project

During Segment 1, Person B should actively listen, with all attention to the speaker, including eye contact, smiles, nods, and audible “mhms.” During Segment 2, however, Person B should stop paying attention completely – break eye contact, check their phone, talk to someone else, and so forth. Now switch!

How did you feel while you were speaking in Segment 1? How did this change in Segment 2? Did you notice any differences in your performance in the two segments? Do you find yourself battling micromessages in your job or daily life? Tell us what you think!

 

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