More on Professional Models

Professional models walk the walk

Professional models walk the walk

Two earlier posts here have commented on the key role of models in law firms. Models – members of the firm who walk the walk – are exceptionally effective transferors of standards and values.

They demonstrate how things are done and inspire doing things that way. (“I want to be like her.”) This eliminates both the need for dry hours of training and for cumbrous stacks of hierarchy.

  • So, models are efficient and inspiring.
  • Where do you get them?

The earlier posts commented on “organic” models – the ones that grow up naturally.  Every lawyer (young or old) should identify and emulate the finest members of his or her firm and profession. The best certainly do that. For that reason, firms should hold up their models. And that is also one of the roles of professional associations. (I have the sense that the business of giving awards in bar organizations has gone awry, but that is another discussion.)

The natural inclination is to look to older, prominent professionals and leaders as models; and, to think of models as other people. Some time ago though, I realized with a jolt that not only should I be identifying my models, but I might be one myself – and that I should give some attention to what kind of model I am. This is not just about how old I am or how prominent, but about how my example contributes to my firm’s culture.

  • So, models are not limited to other people. You are one.
  • But, not just you. Every member models the firm’s values and standards.

When not-older and not-prominent members can be acknowledged and celebrated as models, they should be – in formal and informal ways. But recognition may be the least of it. How do you engender a sense among everyone that they are models for everyone else?

This is easier to achieve in smaller organizations than in larger ones.

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