Building Strong Legal Teams

After economic crisis, success is still attainable.

I’ve written over and over in my columns for the past two years about how the struggling economy has affected all of our professional lives. With the layoffs that followed the tough economic times, many managers have been forced to do the same amount of work with fewer hands in the pot. With the budget slashes almost every company experienced since 2008, we’ve had to find creative ways to get a job done with fewer dollars.

Yet, we’ve managed. And many of us have come through even stronger as a result.   

At InsideCounsel, I’ve experienced these setbacks. And each time I was faced with a new challenge, I gathered up my staff of editors and discussed what the best next steps would be—whether it was simply how to get the magazine out the door without compromising the high standard we have set for it or coming up with creative ways to make our online presence more robust and valuable to our readers. Together, and over time, we were always able to find realistic solutions to what initially seemed like insurmountable challenges.

I was a junior manager when I first took the role as editor at InsideCounsel in early 2008—not long before the crisis hit. And I had always valued the idea of working in teams. I was somewhat of a novice in the management role, and it was imperative that I respect the expertise of each person on my team. It would have been extremely difficult to make a great decision without their input and support. My inexperience as a manager coupled with a particularly challenging time to be in a leadership role underscored the value of working in a team so much more.

In this month’s feature story (“Winning Teams,” p. 53), InsideCounsel discusses best practices for building a strong team within your legal department.

The story emphasizes that great in-house counsel have skills, such as communicating effectively and being able to build a consensus throughout the organization, that naturally make them great team players. Not surprisingly, it boils down to hiring a great group of diverse lawyers and keeping them happy in their roles.

As we begin to crawl out of this economic downturn, challenges still lie ahead. But with great teams in place, we’re all set up to succeed.

Editor

Cathleen Flahardy

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