f/k/a . . . the archives

December 20, 2007

focus on law office bullies

Filed under: Uncategorized — David Giacalone @ 10:58 am

Oops! A little premature exposure at TCL.

(Dec. 21, 2007): The f/k/a Gang apologizes for any confusion. When we enthusiastically told you about the focus on office bullies in the upcoming issue of The Complete Lawyer yesterday, we forgot that the crew at TCL is still in the final stages of putting together the entire edition. That means that the links provided below will indeed take you to the featured articles, but you can’t yet navigate around the TCL site from those pages to see the entire Jan-Feb. 2008 version of The Complete Lawyer — because it doesn’t yet exist. The complete package won’t be available until the first week of January. So, please enjoy this preview, but blame the f/k/a Gang and not Don Hutcheson’s crew at TCL for links that take you to their prior editions, and not to the understandably not-yet-ready-for-blog-time Vol. 4, No.1.

Of course, you could do a lot worse — while clicking around in cyberspace instead of producing billable hours today — than serendipitously checking out the TCL archives, which strive to provide “Tools and insights on professional development and quality of life and career issues that impact every lawyer’s success and satisfaction.”

bully Victoria Pynchon of the Settle It Now Negotiation Blog has a great little gift for anyone like myself needing help procrastinating over that Holiday To-Do List — a preview of the newest edition of The Complete Lawyer magazine, which will focus on law office bullies and nasties. (via Stephanie at Idealawg) In her post “The Complete Lawyer to Out Workplace Bullies,” Victoria tells us about, and links to, her own contribution to the new TCL edition: “Why Lawyers Are Unhappy… And Make Others Unhappy, Too,” which she says “is a personal confessional of workplace misbehavior. In fact, it’s just about as personal as you can get without committing professional suicide.” Pynchon points out that striving for power, wealth and prestiges is a very unlikely path to happiness, even if you achieve them. (Although she focuses on lawyers who are “feeling trapped by our own success,” I must say that an awful lot of bullying seems to come from people who are feeling trapped by their lack of success and taking it out on those below them in the law firm pecking order).

As you might have guessed, the inspiration for this topic was Robert I Sutton’s book “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t,” which was released in early 2007. f/k/a focused on Sutton’s prior writings about Lawyer A$$H©les in a post last February. A key point was made by quoting Aric Press of American Lawyer:

“At a minimum, what I’m suggesting is that you [law firm managers] ask yourselves this question: Why do we put up with this behavior? If the answer is 2,500 value-billed hours, at least you will have identified your priorities without incurring the cost of a consultant.”

By the Way:  I recently learned at David Maister’s weblog that The No Asshole Rule was given the 2007 Quill Award as best Business book of the year.  The Quills honor “the year’s most entertaining and enlightening titles.”

under mistletoe –
the CEO flashes
this year’s bonus checks

…………………………………………….. by dagosan donkeyS

Sutton, a Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has an article in the new TCL, “The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton.” Although it does not deal directly with lawyers, it is a good summary of his thoughts. The article concludes with:

DeleteButtonN “Treating people with respect rather than contempt makes good business sense, although it won’t always be enough to help save a troubled company. We can never know what the future will bring to our organizations and our lives. But if you work with other people, you know with 100% certainty that your days will be filled with face-to-face and phone conversations, email exchanges, meetings, and other kinds of human interactions—and that your moments, hours, and days at work will be more meaningful, peaceful, and fun if you work in a place where the no-asshole rule reigns supreme.”

Victoria provides links to four additional articles from the TCL focus on workplace bullying, in Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan-Feb. 2008):

Now, before I get even grumpier about my unattended Christmas card list, I’m gonna sign off for today, and leave you with a few poems from the f/k/a Christmas Season Haiku page:

Christmas morning–
misty breath of cows
rising where they lie

stockings on the mantel . . .
the child’s eyes follow sparks
up the chimney

………… by Randy Brooksfrom School’s Out

solstice sunset
beside dad’s pink slip
her christmas list

two nights before…
tiger hones his claws
on the christmas tree trunk

………………………..………. by ed markowski

- a public-service announcement that warms our heart:

Maryland DOT/SHA

3 Comments

  1. You’ve nailed the problem, of course, because “success” or the lack of it is defined by each of us in the quiet of our own heads.

    No one who has gotten into and graduated from law school, passed the bar exam and is working as a lawyer can justly call him/herself “unsuccessful.”

    If, however, we FEEL we are not successful to the degree that we begin “taking it out on those below [us] in the law firm pecking order,” it should serve as a wake up call.

    If I could this holiday season, I’d give every practicing lawyer a huge pat on the back for a job well done — one of the most difficult jobs there is to do — particularly with patience, balance and grace.

    Comment by Vickie Pynchon — December 20, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  2. Hello, Vickie. Thanks for your thoughts. And, I hope someone gives you a Holiday Pat, too.

    Comment by David Giacalone — December 20, 2007 @ 11:46 am

  3. Some confusion about the new edition of THE COMPLETE LAWYER…

    Seems the gift was opened before it had been wrapped. Or the meal was eaten before it was served. Or the horse took off before the rider mounted. Or the new edition of The Complete Lawyer was announced before it had put on its full, and best face for v…

    Comment by idealawg — December 21, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

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