Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How to Be an Effective Leader

People who have leadership positions in an organization will be most effective if they develop good leadership skills.  They will create a positive work environment in which members of the organization are motivated and feel empowered to contribute their best efforts.  In the case of law firms, a study performed for the Association of Legal Administrators found that the financial success of a firm depends in large part on the leadership skills of the firm's partners. Some of the ways to be an effective leader are discussed in my recent blog post on the Lawyer & Statesman website which can be accessed by clicking on this link.  Leadership skills for lawyers are discussed more fully in the first three chapters of my book, The Art of Practicing Law: A Practical Guide for Lawyers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Create Solid Client Relationships

I have recently started writing a monthly blog for Lawyer & Statesman, a website sponsored by The National Jurist.  My first blog post, "How to Create Solid Client Relationships," can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Recent Interview Available Online

I was recently interviewed about my latest book, The Art of Practicing Law:  A Practical Guide for Lawyers, by Brian Feinblum for his BookMarketingBuzzBlog.  The interview can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Friday, April 7, 2017

How to Master the Art of Practicing Law

My latest book, The Art of Practicing Law:  A Practical Guide for Lawyers, fills the gap between the critical skills taught in traditional law school courses and the additional skills and attributes that are needed to be highly effective as a lawyer.  The book is written for lawyers who want to master the art of practicing law, whether they are in private practice, in government agency practice, or working in-house for a business corporation or a non-profit organization.

Practical guidance, with illustrative examples, is provided on these topics: 
  • Building trust in professional relationships
  • Communicating effectively with clients, colleagues and other people
  • Creating and maintaining solid relationships with clients and serving their best interests
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Dealing with difficult people without becoming adversarial
  • The art of negotiation
  • The keys to effective advocacy
  • Case themes and storytelling in civil lawsuits
  • Taking effective depositions
  • Working with expert witnesses
  • Making the most of mediation as an alternative to litigation
  • Handling ethical challenges
  • Representing clients wholeheartedly without compromising personal morality or integrity
  • Maintaining personal well-being
The book can be purchased from Amazon by clicking on this link.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Radio Interviews About My Books

Earlier this year I gave two interviews about my books on Dr. Richard Miller's public radio program, Mind Body Health & Politics.  The interviews were broadcast on March 8, 2016 and March 15, 2016.  Recordings of both interviews can be found in the Program Archives for 2016 on Dr. Miller's website at:   http://www.mindbodyhealthpolitics.org/.

Monday, February 29, 2016

New Study Confirms Widespread Distress Among Lawyers

A new study conducted by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation and the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs reveals high levels of depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse among lawyers in the United States.  The results of the study were published in February 2016 by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.  12,825 members of the legal profession were included in the study.

Twenty-eight percent of the study participants experienced symptoms of depression and slightly more than twenty percent met the criteria for alcohol abuse.  Nineteen percent of the participants experienced symptoms of anxiety.  These percentages are significantly higher than comparable percentages for the general population, indicating that lawyers in the United States are significantly more likely than the general population to suffer from depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse. 

Those conditions are manifestations of distress, and the data suggest that the level of distress within the legal profession is getting worse.  The rates of depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse among lawyers reported in the new study are somewhat higher than the rates reported in earlier studies based on data collected roughly twenty years ago.   

The results of the new study are broken down demographically by gender and by years in the practice.  Lawyers in the first ten years of their practice were found to have higher rates of depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse than lawyers who have been practicing longer.  This may suggest that the clinical manifestations of distress among lawyers are more likely the result of increasing levels of stress within the profession, and less likely the result of professional burnout.

The factors contributing to widespread distress within the legal profession are described in my book, Transforming the Practice of Law:   Reclaiming the Soul of the Legal Profession.  The book also contains specific suggestions for reforms that will lead the profession to a better future.  We should all be concerned about the current state of affairs since the legal profession is responsible for administering our system of justice, for ensuring that our society is governed by the rule of law, for and safeguarding our constitutional rights. 

                                       Copyright ©2016 John R. Allison.  All rights reserved.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Current State of the Legal Profession

The current state of the legal profession in the United States is, overall, not a happy one.  There is an epidemic of distress and dissatisfaction among lawyers, and public esteem for the profession has fallen to an all-time low.  My second book, Transforming the Practice of Law:  Reclaiming the Soul of the Legal Profession, contains an in-depth analysis of the factors contributing to the current state of affairs, beginning with a discussion about the nature of legal education.  Significant developments affecting the behavior of lawyers and the reputation of the profession are also discussed.

The American Bar Association's Model Code of Professional Responsibility established the professional ideal of zealous representation, encouraging lawyers to be fervent partisans on behalf of their clients.  Widespread publicity about the Watergate conspiracy exposed a number of lawyers acting as though they were above the law.  As a result of the Supreme Court's decision ending bans on advertising by lawyers and the growing influence of large law firms within the profession, the private practice of law has become a highly competitive commercial enterprise.  So long as the profession stays on its current path, many lawyers will experience distress and dissatisfaction in their professional lives and the reputation of the profession will continue to decline.

Transforming the Practice of Law:  Reclaiming the Soul of the Legal Profession contains suggestions for specific steps that can be taken to guide the profession to a path that leads to a better destination, where lawyers find meaning and fulfillment in their professional lives and where the legal profession is held once again in high regard by the society it serves.  The book can be purchased online at:  http://www.amazon.com/Transforming-Practice-Law-Reclaiming-Profession/dp/0692514120.

Copyright ©2015 John R. Allison.  All rights reserved.