Monday, December 17, 2007

Year in review

How quickly the year has gone! Here are some of the highlights (and lowpoints!) It started off for me in London after my mother was taken ill at Christmas and admitted to hospital. Fortunately after several weeks, she made a remarkable recovery and is in much better health this Christmas! Long may it continue.

In February I visited a law firm client in Christchurch, the first of several visits there in 2007. In March, I was able to attend the Byron Bay Blues and Roots festival and listen to many fabulous artists including one of my long term favourites, Larry Carlton.
In April I paid my first ever visit to Lisbon to address a law conference for a UK law group on the topic of 'Pricing Strategies'. After an enjoyable trip to California and New Zealand on the way home, I returned to Portugal to discover the translated version of my latest book 'Why Entrepreneurs Eat Should Eat Bananas' had made the top ten best selling business book list in that country. After giving the keynote at a conference on Entrepreneurship in Lisbon, I returned to Australia. The Dalai Lama visited in June and I was one of 12,000 odd to attend his talk in Brisbane.In July, my partner Sue and I drove up the east coast of Australia to Port Douglas and back. A round-trip of 4,500kms. Quite a trip but large parts of the trip were uneventful. The town of 1770 stands out as the highlight. In August, I launched this blog! In September, after addressing the NZ Mortgage Brokers Annual Conference in Rotorua, I hosted the Future Firm Forum in Ohakune New Zealand. About a dozen people attended what turned out to be an outstanding event thanks to the contributions of various facilitators including Gerry Riskin. The event will be repeated next year. Not for the first time, Sue and I were charmed by Ohakune and so we decided that towards the end of the year and over the summer period we would move across to New Zealand for the summer. Before then in October, here were a couple of major conferences to 'MC' in Australia. After a client visit to Melbourne in November, it was time to pack up and leave for New Zealand. So, here we are standing at the foot of volcanic Mt Ruapehu on a beautiful sunny December day! Wishing all clients, lawyers, law firms and visitors to my blog a happy festive season!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A great night in Auckland!

Thursday 8 November saw the cream of the New Zealand Legal Profession gather at the stylish Auckland Museum Event Centre for the 3rd Annual Law Awards. It was a terrific night expertly 'MC'd by the queen of Kiwi comedy, Ginette McDonald. I was privileged to be there. Special congratulations to Lawyers With A Life subscribers Lane Neave of Christchurch who took out the Concordia Employment Law Award, to BlackmanSpargo of Rotorua who walked away with the CCH Regional Law Firm of the Year award for the second successive year and to Fortune Manning of Auckland who took out the ASB mid-sized law firm of the year award. Well done to all the other winners and finalists.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Will lawyers exist in 100 years?

Extracts from Richard Susskind's forthcoming new book 'The End of Lawyers?' are being published in The (London) Times over the next 6 weeks. Have a read and join the on-line debate. Professor Susskind is a futurist and visionary and, as usual, provocative. Have a read here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Future Firm Forum Wins Praise

"The forum was simply outstanding. The presenters were excellent. The intimate, informal sessions generated some great ideas. I came away more confident in my ability to add value to my firm and help it to move to the next level of its existence. I am also delighted to have made new friends and contacts that I know I can call on for advice and support." -Richard Hobson, CEO, Mason Sier Turnbull, Melbourne.

Yes, it was the first of its kind..but it turned out even better than expected at the Powderhorn Chateau, Ohakune, New Zealand. Guests from Sydney, Melbourne, Christchurch and Rotorua enjoyed presentations by and conversations with special guest Gerry Riskin, via video conference from his home in Anguilla, former Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand President Ron Pol, Maria Masterantonio, Hayley Nicholls and Canadian innovation guru Ed Bernacki.

The venue has been booked and the event will run again next year 20-22 September 2008. Mark the date in your diaries now!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

City lawyers still have their heads in the sand!

Legal Week in Britain has just announced the results of its EJ Legal Biq Question survey about the standards of management in law firms in the UK.

This article highlights a problem that is endemic in the legal profession: many lawyers are still completely ignorant about management; they only appreciate management when
a. when times are tough;
b. when they want to copy their competitors;
c. clients demand it (thankfully)

Cornelius Medvei, Eversheds' London chief comments: “Many lawyers see management as a necessary evil and the vast majority are still not interested. The biggest challenge of all for law firms is finding the people who have the requisite skills to be able to do it well.

I agree with the first half of his comment, not the second. There are plenty of good managers out there; the challenge is to educate lawyers to appreciate that management is an essential and valuable function of any successful business, including a law firm. Only then will surveys like this have more relevance.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Want to create an extraordinary practice?

Stunning location, log fires, great food, New Zealand wines, and fantastic ideas from people like Gerry Riskin and Ron Pol to develop your practice. Sounds too good to be true? Read on.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Nurture + Support + Flexibility = Advantage

A flexible, supportive working environment is the number one factor that voters (predominantly from Australia and New Zealand) considered to give them a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining the best people to their firms according our recent on-line talent survey. Of course, if all firms consider that to be the source of their advantage, then one might argue that there is, in fact, little to differentiate one firm from another and so no advantage is actually gained! However it is encouraging to see more firms placing value on having lawyers with a life on their team!

For firms that are not focussing on developing a flexible, supportive workplace, the following comment from one voter may act as sufficient incentive:

"The principal of this firm is clueless about how to manage or retain people. I am the senior lawyer here and am leaving shortly and happily. The management practices at this firm involve bullying, devaluing and denigrating staff in a way that is very arguably a breach of OH&S/professional misconduct."

Thanks to all those subscribers who took the time to vote.

Welcome to my blog!

Finally technology has caught up with me (or is it the other way round?).
Welcome to my blog which I hope will complement the community of high calibre bloggers out there. Feel free to post your comment or email me at any time.