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Collaboration makes lawyers true leaders

Working with your adversaries can benefit all parties

In this month’s cover story, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi describes the ways in which she has advocated on behalf of the people of her state. Looked at quickly, it would appear that her career—built on her experience as a prosecutor—has consisted of successfully taking on one big, powerful entity after another: banks, drug companies, the medical establishment and Big Oil, to name a few. But the truth is, she’s “taken on” no one. The secret of her success is not an adversarial approach. It’s a commitment to collaboration, to working closely with those who, on the surface, might seem to have opposing goals and find the middle ground that benefits all parties.        

In the conversation Bondi had with an InsideCounsel reporter, her commitment to collaboration was apparent. “We sat in a huge conference room, and I brought in all the stakeholders,” she said, explaining how she made sure her constituents got the money coming to them through the national mortgage settlement. “I ended up hiring one of the Democrats to run my pill mills initiative,” she said, talking about her successful efforts to stop prescription drug abuse in Florida. “We’re partnering with the oil companies, the hotel industry, the trucking industry,” she said, describing her efforts to curtail human trafficking, not only in Florida but across the country.

Lloyd M. Johnson Jr.

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