Keep Your Distance

It seems as though far too many mothers and fathers these days want to be best friends with their children rather than parents. As a result, children are unrulier, lazier and more disrespectful toward authority. Once parents have lost the respect of their children, it's hard to get it back--the vital wall between parent and child has crumbled.

Likewise, lawyers can't be "best friends" with their colleagues if they hope to do their job well. They need to be the "parent" and that means maintaining a solid wall between themselves and their colleagues.

The flip side is that small-department lawyers must still find ways to be personable, trusted and well-liked. There's a delicate balance between falling into the "chumminess trap" and coming off like the secret police.

Maintaining a healthy "parent-child" wall between you and your colleagues will make for a successful career--just don't tell your colleagues you sometimes have to think of them as children.


Michael Baroni

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