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Book Review: Accelerating Lawyer Success

What does success look like in law firms? The authors, frustrated with the abundance of anecdotal evidence and lack of empirical evidence to answer this question, set out to solve it with research. Their findings are based on studies including a comprehensive, 75-item survey completed by 343 lawyers at U.S. AmLaw 100 firms. They examine, among other things, the differences between lawyers who made partner in less than 10 years and those who didn't. 

Accelerating Lawyer Success: How to Make Partner, Stay Healthy, and Flourish in a Law Firm. By Lori Berman, Heather Bock, and Juliet Aiken. 

The authors have uncovered the recipe for how to make partner in less than 10 years. In short, it involves hard work and quality work, strategic relationship building, planning, help from mentors, and a mind-set of being the master of your own fate. You gotta build relationships strategically, invest in them, and leverage them. You need goals, to make plans, and to stick to them for the most part. And you must feel in control of what happens to you.

For the over-achievers who made partner in less than 8 years, one distinguishing habit was that they seek out constructive feedback and use it to enhance their self-awareness and improve. A downside to being a super fast-tracker is that they lack resilience. These poor perfectionists are possibly burning out after working so hard early on. 

Of course, only a small number of lawyers overall make partner. Wouldn't it be nice if our law schools could teach us these soft skills, alongside torts and constitutional law in 1L? If the goal of law school is to produce successful lawyers, this book should be required reading on every law school curriculum. 

Note: authors Lori Berman and Heather Bock work at Hogan Lovells, as do I - but I don't know them personally. (Although I hope to connect with them in the future.)

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