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.

Starting a Profession As A Lawyer

Many people dream of becoming a lawyer in their lives but for different reasons could not make it. They might be unaware of the facts that becoming lawyer requires several difficult and challenging steps. If you are serious about practicing law, following are given few guidelines for becoming a lawyer.

If you really want to become a lawyer, start doing this from your high school. Taking part in mock trail teams and debates can help you learn few things.

Another important which you need to do is develop exemplary study habits such as reading, communication and comprehension skills.

You need to have great LSAT and GPA scores if you want to take admission in any reputable law school. The high scores can only be achieved through hard work.

You need to enroll yourself in an undergraduate college for 4 years degree program.

After completion of the degree, register yourself for Law Admission Test commonly known as LSAT. This test mainly focuses on to assess the applicant’s verbal reasoning and reading skills often used by schools.

LSAT is held three times a year, i.e. in the month of June, October and December. It is mandatory to pass the LSAT for a number of law schools.

Once you have cleared your LSAT, you are now ready to apply in a number of schools. Make one thing certain here that the law schools where you are applying should be accredited by American Bar Association (ABA). Application fees are usually high for law schools, so a careful and wise selection of the schools is required where they have an application waiver.

If you are one of those who meet their expenses on their own then it is the time to save some extra bucks for you for your school will not allow you to work for the first year.

Studying law involves a lot of hard work. You will not get enough time to waste. To complete your law successfully, you need to spend a lot of time in researching case laws, reading cases, writing briefs and preparing answers for class questions.

After the completion of first year, you should try to get a place in a law firm as an assistant, file clerk or messenger.

After graduating from law school one has to pass the Professional Responsibility Exam and later has to register him/her for state Bar Exam. This exam you can take in summer after completing your school.

This is the last step where you have to find a position as a lawyer. It is not easy as a lot of intense competition. Having any prior internship experience at a law will firm will definitely help.

Those who are good students and attend best law schools have got more job opportunities than others. Obviously, the competition is usually intense for best jobs and high grades.

When Looking For a Divorce Lawyer You Need the Right Steps to Help You Choose

When looking for a divorce lawyer you need to way your options very carefully. This is an important decision. The choice you will have to make can make all the difference in the outcome of your divorce.

Everyone looking for a divorce lawyer wants an attorney that is easy to communicate with and one that makes you feel comfortable. The situation is tense enough without adding the stress of choosing a lawyer who you don’t feel is open to your discussions.

When you’re looking for a divorce lawyer make sure you feel you can discuss every portion of your situation openly and honestly with the lawyer before you commit to hiring. You also want an attorney that handles your personal or family matters appropriately and without stress.

Divorces without children and/or several assets can be a little easier when looking for a divorce lawyer. If you are a couple who has a lot at stake such as child custody and expensive assets, you will want to make sure your lawyer has experience or specializes in divorce and family situations.

You can always go by word of mouth from friends or loved ones. While this type of referral is good when you’re looking for a divorce lawyer, you still need to meet for an initial consultation to make sure you feel you’re making the best choice for your situation. To make sure your attorney will meet all your expectations, there are some other ways to check them out.

While this suggestion may seem a little outside the norm, it can give you a first-hand evaluation of more than one divorce lawyer at once. When looking for a divorce lawyer, you can call the local courthouse in your town and you may even want to visit during some of the divorce hearings.

Pay close attention to the lawyers. If you see one that you like, simply get their information and call them up. Seeing them in action can tell you a lot about their character and expertise.

Another way you can go about looking for a divorce lawyer is by contacting the local and state bar association. Depending on your needs, ask for a list of the divorce attorney specialists that they recommend or are members of their association.

You need to know which type you are looking for whether your divorce needs a lawyer in the business of Family Law, Domestic Law, Matrimonial Law, or Divorce Law. Knowing the category will give you a more accurate list of lawyers to go by.

When looking for any kind of lawyer , make sure you have a contract with all the specifications listed. You need to know if your lawyer requires a deposit, whether it is refundable, how they charge their clients and everything that you want done needs to be clearly stated on the contract agreement.

Most people want their divorce settled as quickly and quietly as possible. Don’t let the desire to have it all done quickly, hamper your search to make sure you find the best lawyer for you situation. Take the time up front, before you make your selection, and you’ll be rewarded once the case is closed.