Practicing Law at the Speed of Light

How to lighten up the heavy mindset and heavy paperwork in Legal.

It’s no small feat to get inside the head of a lawyer. As the man behind a consulting firm called LawyerBrain, Dr. Larry Richards has created a business that aims to do just that. He’s an organizational psychologist focused on “helping large and mid-size law firms with a range of people issues such as leadership, change management, and motivation,” and he’s studied some of the key roadblocks and solutions found in legal personas.  

Recently, Legal Operators and Concord presented Dr. Richards’ talk on “Understanding the Lawyer Personality and Its Impact in a World of Change.” The resulting webinar provided his insights into the legal mind and common personality types found in the field. 

Better navigate your own role in the legal field, or better understand your legal cohorts, with the following takeaways from Dr. Richards in this webinar excerpt on the lawyer brain.

6 Key Takeaways From Dr. Larry Richards About the Lawyer Mind 

Why is the legal profession more at risk for negative consequences of change?

  1. Negativity: Lawyers particularly are trained in law school to look for problems and to be vigilant about people’s motives, and that produces this mindset of what’s wrong and what could go wrong. 
  2. Personality type: There are certain kinds of people that naturally gravitate to the legal profession. The 7 outlier traits commonly seen in the Legal field are: autonomous, high abstract reasoning, impatient, low resilience to criticism (defensive), skeptical, low sociability, and low cognitive empathy. 

How can you offset or adapt to the hindering personality traits?

  1. Skeptical: Have facts and authoritative evidence
  2. Autonomous: Foster predictability
  3. Low Sociability and Skeptical: Increase facetime and social interaction
  4. Autonomous: Provide choices
  5. Low Sociability: Make it easy to connect
  6. Low Cognitive Empathy: Create awareness of other perspectives
  7. Low Resilience: Bring attention to strengths

What builds high resilience?

Realistic optimism and good social connection. 

How can legal ops professionals and legal procurement professionals “train” their colleagues? 

The #1 strategy that I use all the time because it works: Empathy. Empathy, luckily, is the most teachable personality trait…This is one of the single most powerful interventions you can do. Before you try to get someone on board or influence somebody or get them to be on the team or get the team to perform a certain way, first demonstrate that you understand the resistance that they already have. If someone is digging in their heels, instead of showing why they’re wrong, the first thing to do is to say, “Let me see if I understand the concern that’s making you vote no on this.” And you show that you understand their perspective. Before you have any attention paid to what you’re trying to get out of them, first validate where they are. 

Does validating someone’s perspective just make them feel more right to stay in that position of resistance?

Logically that makes sense, but it’s not human nature. Human nature works this way: When we feel understood, it’s the first thing that actually gives us permission to move off of our position. If you don’t feel understood, you’re going to dig your heels in forever. 

Dr. Richards recommends the following books:

“Leading Change” by John Kotter

“A Sense of Urgency” by John Kotter

“Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do” by Dan Cable

“Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” by Shawn Achor

Faster Legal Functions With Contract Management Software

The average legal professional spends 11.2 hours per week creating and managing documents, with approximately 6 of those hours being wasted time. That’s nearly an entire day out of the work week wasted on document creation and management. Plus, early 10% of all manual contracts go missing, which costs more than just money.

Today, legal departments are leaving behind outdated manual processes by implementing contract lifecycle management (CLM) platforms that automate contract creation and execution. 

Features of a CLM platform that Speed Up the Legal Process

Contract Templates streamline the legal contract drafting process. Predetermined fields require only that you input the necessary information (such as names, dates, locations, etc.) in order for the contract to be complete. Templates also feature automatic signature boxes, calls to actions, and reminders for clients.

Central Repository makes it easy to archive and search for data. Documents stored in The Cloud are transformed into searchable text, so you can locate terms and conditions quickly and easily to generate reports and monitor contract compliance. 

Electronic Signature tools integrated in a CLM platform streamline the approvals process and reduce time spent waiting for proper signatures. For a client, especially those unfamiliar with legal proceedings, waiting for the final signature can be frustrating. The CLM cure: Clients and administrators are notified via email when their electronic signature is required on a document. Concord’s advanced platform is accessible on mobile devices, such as tablets or smartphones, so clients can see and sign a contract at any time and in any location with WiFi.

A CLM Platform Improves Compliance 

With all document information (i.e. payment dates and amounts, delivery dates, important terms, etc.) in a single location, a CLM platform makes it easy to monitor how your legal firm is doing with regards to each individual contract—improving compliance. Automated notifications will also remind you when important terms need to be met, so you won’t miss a deadline.

A CLM’s clear audit trail of edits ensures Legal has the evidence it needs to defend a position in court. This protects you from repudiation claims, damages, and keeps you out of court in the long run.

Watch Concord’s free on-demand webinar: Building a Strategic Legal Department to learn more about optimizing any legal team. 

Concord’s mission is to help companies achieve scalability and efficiency by automating their most central process, contracts. The cloud-based solution enables over 300,000 users around the globe to create, collaborate, sign, store, and manage their agreements all in one place. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in San Francisco, Concord is built by business, for business.