Lawyers: Leading with Integrity

Stella Rabaut, Lawyers: Leading with Integrity Bar News, Washington State Bar Association, October 2013

Lawyers have significant opportunities to take a leadership role in specific ways:

  • In the “way we are present and hold ourselves and define our profession”;
  • In the “way we form a relationship with each client”; and
  • In the “way we approach other parties in the conflict.”

We can encourage, nurture, and develop lawyer leadership, beginning with inner personal work that helps the legal profession evolve into a more conscious, creative and collaborative practice:

  • Consciousness — undertaking mindfulness exercises helps lawyers feel and perform better, derive and deliver more satisfaction, and relieve suffering in themselves and others.
  • Creativity — viewing law as a healing profession turns adversaries into healers, provocateurs into peacemakers, entrepreneurs into service providers.
  • Collaboration — shifting from an adversarial and competitive stance to one of collaboration and problem-solving for their clients can achieve more satisfying results.

To lead effectively in uncertain and turbulent times, lawyers must integrate the rational and logical skills of the head with the reflective, imaginative, and relational skills of the heart. Practical behaviors to engender this integration include

  • Establishing time for reflection;
  • Pursuing clarity about underlying values;
  • Constantly reassessing one’s actions and deeper purpose;
  • Taking greater risks and making greater sacrifices;
  • Collaborating and connecting more; and
  • Being less isolated.

Click to view the full article as a PDF