Drive: Tapping Into Lawyers’ Intrinsic Motivation

Daniel H. Pink’s 2009 book entitled “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” (“Drive”) is filled with information that is highly relevant to the legal profession today.

The central thrust of Drive is that motivating professionals like lawyers requires law firms to go beyond the traditional use of sticks and carrots, punishments and rewards. Pink argues that instead of focusing on these external motivators, what law firms need to do is tap into the intrinsic motivational drive of their lawyers. This will result in more engaging and ultimately more satisfying work. Pink argues that this will not only reduce lawyer turnover and burnout, but that it is in fact the secret to high performance.

Pink highlights three key aspects of work that make it more inherently satisfying: (i) autonomy; (ii) mastery; and (iii) purpose. He argues that these components of intrinsic motivation are interdependent and mutually reinforcing – that, like the legs of a tripod, the apparatus of excellence cannot stand without each component in place.

If there is any merit to Pink’s argument, then law firms would be well advised to pay careful attention to each of the three components of intrinsic motivation in their human resource strategies. Here are some ideas on how to do so:

(i) Autonomy: There are five main ways firms can increase their lawyers’ overall sense of autonomy. These include giving lawyers greater leeway over: (i) what to work on (subject autonomy); (ii) when to do their work (time autonomy); (iii) where to do their work (place autonomy); (iv) who to do their work with (team autonomy); and (v) how to do their work (technique autonomy). The idea here is not that firms have to grant their lawyers full autonomy over all aspects of their work. It is simply that law firms have at their disposal five separate channels along which to promote greater lawyer autonomy, and that an increase in autonomy along any one of these five channels will result in a higher level of work satisfaction.

(ii) Mastery: Law firms can promote lawyer mastery by aligning the difficulty of certain tasks with their lawyers’ overall level of skill or development. Pink calls these “Goldilocks tasks” – tasks that are neither too hard nor too difficult. The idea is that in order to develop mastery it is important for lawyers to be engaged; and in order to be engaged they must be presented with challenges that are well suited to their skill level. Tasks that are too challenging result in a sense of being overwhelmed; tasks that are too easy result in boredom; tasks that are neither too hard nor too easy, but “just right” result in engagement. Engagement, in turn, leads to mastery. Law firms that care about developing masterful lawyers should ensure that they are neither overwhelmed nor bored – that overall they are engaged by their work. If firms are able to strike this balance, their lawyers’ work becomes its own reward.

(iii) Purpose: To make their lawyers’ work more satisfying, law firms would also do well to consider increasing the emphasis they place on meaningful, not just profitable, work – that is, work that gives their lawyers a sense that they are making a positive contribution to something greater than themselves. This does not mean rejecting profit as a motive; it simply means making greater room for non-profit driven contributions. This might mean crafting a mission or vision statement that espouses genuine non-profit related values, and ensuring that incoming lawyers share those values. It might also mean placing greater emphasis on pro bono work, and perhaps including it as part of performance reviews. It might even mean hiring professional coaches to work with their lawyers. Whatever the approach, taking steps to instill a greater sense of purpose into the work life of many lawyers will ultimately make them more committed, creative, resourceful, and yes: satisfied.

It is no secret that lawyers are, in general, a notoriously unhappy lot. It is also clear that lawyers are the most important resource of any law firm. Firms that value this resource would be well advised to take seriously the ideas put forth in Drive. In the end, when lawyers are satisfied with their work, everyone stands to win – not just the lawyers themselves, but their colleagues, their firms, and most importantly their clients.

Is Hiring a DUI Lawyer Required?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime which is seen in every nation in the world. The penalties, however, deviate from region to region. The crime of DUI is committed by driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For a person who commits this crime, there will be a lot of legal troubles in store for him or her. Such an individual who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not just a terror to himself or herself. He or she also poses a menace to other innocent people too. Due to the DUI state, the involved person may also get the attention of the cops and be pulled over. He or she may be put through to a breathalyzer test or a number of sobriety tests. If the person fails to pass these sobriety exams, he or she may be held for driving under the influence (DUI).

If you are such an individual and are captured for DUI, there is no way that you will be able to get out of this wreck on your own. Until you know about the DUI laws and rules and are familiar with the way these kind of things work. Most of the individuals who get captured for DUI are no experts in this field. As a result, they will be unable to find a answer to their trouble. To make it darker, there are some organizations and groups that are making it worse for the accused. They are lobbying for tighter rules, harsher penalties and larger fines. There is a lot of trouble in store for someone who has been captured for DUI. In such a situation, you will need a continuous hand to help you stand up. There are many DUI lawyers available who can offer you this steady hand.

One of the first matters that must be done is to get the get the assistance of a professional and highly qualified DUI lawyer to manage your case. The DUI lawyer represents the person who has been charged with driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. If a person is seen to have consumed surplus amounts of alcohol, he or she is charged with DUI. There have, nonetheless, been cases where a person who had not crossed the limits had been arrested. The DUI lawyer functions as the attorney of the charged, and therefore he or she will take care of everything: from the start to the finish. There is absolutely nothing to worry about. The DUI lawyer will assist you along every step on the way.

The only solution to your problems is to get an excellent and able DUI attorney. This is the only means by which you can beat the system. It will help secure your release from jail. Posting a bail may also be needed. But there is no need to worry as all of that will be looked after by your DUI attorney. You need to stress on your defense against the charges. You will not be alone in this task. Your DUI attorney will be at your side and will aid you in taking the right actions and putting up a complete defense.

Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Abuse as a Cause of Impairment in Lawyers

“One of every four lawyers suffers from stress, and out of 105 occupations, lawyers rank first in depression. In addition, a disproportionate number of lawyers commit suicide. These are some of the troubling conclusions that can be found in various studies of addiction and depression.” Reports Robert Stein, ABA Executive Director, in the June 2005 issue of the ABA Journal.

The costs of stress, alcoholism, and drug abuse is very high for the legal profession. The American Bar Association and all state bar associations have provided “lawyer assistance programs” that can help to treat “impaired” lawyers. Most of these programs also address the issues of clinical depression and disorders related to gambling, sex, and eating.

If you do not realize the significance of this troubling situation, consider being represented in your important legal matters by an impaired attorney. It could cost you thousands of dollars or even your freedom if you or your interests are not protected by competent legal professionals. In the state of California, there is a requirement for Continuing Legal Education (CLE’s) which includes a minimum of 1 hour every 3 years on stress management or substance abuse for all licensed, practicing lawyers to maintain their license to practice law.

The practice of law is inherently stressful. Much of the time lawyers find themselves battling with other legal professionals for their clients best interests. Trail lawyers must think quickly and communicate with precision and skill in the courtroom. Corporate lawyers must be concerned with legal details that require focused attention and great care. The competition to be successful as an attorney can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

People preparing to become attorneys often struggle with stress in law school and in the multi-day testing that is required to “pass the bar.” The stressful issues that can begin in law school can set up future practicing attorneys for bad habits in coping with the stress and anxiety of the profession. Some law schools offer coursework for life skill management to better prepare their students to be able to perform at the highest level for their clients and for their quality of life.

Because lawyers are trained to be precise and use their cerebral abilities for day to day work, they are often in denial regarding the needs for stress and anxiety management until bad habits are established or symptoms cause significant challenges. Even managing general partners in major law firms have great professional and personal concerns regarding “impairment” within their organizations. An accidental mistake or oversight can open a law firm to their own costly law suits for malpractice. Many concerned managing partners are requiring that their attorneys practice preventive measures to control stress, anxiety, and depression. This can be found in group trainings, EAP’s or individual coaching. Coaching can also offer enhancements to time management, improved communication skills, and long term career planning. An interesting and unexpected benefit to this training and coaching is that this preventive work can actually save lawyers time and energy by helping to minimize the impact of distractions due to stress. This improves performance and can help to increase profitability. Key personnel are important assests and professional coaching or mentoring programs have huge cost benefits.

Everyone, even lawyers, require professional assistance to get through the difficult periods. Lawyers just seem to require more attention as they work to survive, at the highest functioning levels, in the “meat grinder” of their professional life. Most people who know practicing attorneys know that their attorney family members or friends can benefit from a sense of humor and better stress management. In increasing frequency, law firms are using retreats to help de-compress and then get down to business planning.

More information can be found in the article by Robert Stein at
http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/colap/ABAJournal200506_Help.html