Wednesday, February 28, 2007

a propósito del calentamiento del planeta

A propósito del calentamiento global y de inoperancia


de nuestros gobernantes yo me pregunto



¿habrá futuras generaciones


a las que  dejar en herencia


una Tierra sana?...



Rodrigo González Fernández


from legal blog watch

What Lawyers Are Learning From Airlines

I don't know whether two posts are enough to qualify as "frequent flyers," but the past two weeks have brought a pair of posts identifying the lessons that lawyers can learn from the airlines. After listening to a talk by Dr. Rob Britton, adviser to the chairman of American Airlines, Larry Bodine came up with these lessons for lawyers from the airlines. They include grappling with the issue of concerns over price and distinguishing your firm in customers' minds (who regard airlines and law firm services as generic to some extent). And, the solutions are similar as well, such as offering frequent-flyer programs and a "first class" section for crown jewel clients. 

In the aftermath of the Jet Blue Valentines' Day crisis, I posted here about lessons lawyers can learn from David Neeleman's handling of the situation. The takeaway from my post is that both airlines and lawyers need to take responsibility and apologize for major errors to stand a chance of keeping a client -- and to have malpractice (or business insurance) to pay losses where even your best efforts won't suffice to avert a lawsuit by an upset customer or client.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 27, 2007 at 03:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Where Are the Women at Web Conferences?

At his home blog, Law Sites, my colleague Bob Ambrogi posts on the exclusion of women from Web conferences. Ambrogi cites a post by Jason Koettke at Law Geek, which examines recent and upcoming Web-related conferences, where the percentage of women speakers ranged from zero percent to 31 percent, with the exception of the upcoming Blogher Business Conference, where all of the speakers are women. 

I'm not sure whether Koettke's informal study results are limited to Web conferences. In my practice area of specialization, energy regulation, I typically find myself as the sole woman on speaking panels. And when there are other female speakers, they tend to be energy consultants or businesspeople, not attorneys. At the same time, there are far more male energy lawyers than female energy lawyers, and I've simply assumed that the conferences that I attend reflect the make up of the practice area rather than some kind of gender bias.

For those of you practicing in more gender-balanced fields -- healthcare, insurance, litigation or such -- do women speak on the panels that you attend? And if not, what's your explanation?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 27, 2007 at 03:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Firms Hire Nonpracticing Lawyers in Manager and Support Roles

Ron Friedmann posts on a new trend at large firms: use of nonpracticing lawyers as managers. He writes that firms now hire nonpracticing lawyers for jobs such as marketing, e-discovery, knowledge management, professional development and practice support. There are some pitfalls, of course, as Friedmann points out:

Either way, firms must exercise some caution. First, they must “be careful of what they ask for, lest they get it.” For example, some churn in CMO and CIO positions in recent years likely stems from initial excitement followed by balking when the firm learns what’s really involved. Second, they need to consider how to integrate the non-practicing lawyer and any team reporting to him/her. Thinking this through requires a realistic assessment of a firm’s culture and the strength of its caste system. And third, they need to allocate risk fairly between the firm and the new role: negotiate a graceful exit strategy for both the firm and individual if things don’t work out.

I would think that second-class treatment is the biggest impediment to finding and retaining nonlawyers in managerial roles at firms. My guess is that many lawyers at firms would look down on the nonpracticing lawyers, thinking to themselves that the person "couldn't cut it as a real lawyer." Does your firm have lawyers in nonlawyer roles, and if so, how is the firm using these people? And for lawyers currently working in a nonlawyer function, what motivated you to seek out this type of alternate career path?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 27, 2007 at 03:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Anonymity on the Web: An Oxymoron?

In this post at May It Please the Court, Craig Williams asks whether you can truly be anonymous online. Williams comments on this New Jersey case involving a lawsuit by a former town council member against NJ.com, who posted several anonymous and derogatory remarks about a firefighter involved in litigation against the town. The firefighter filed a subpoena against NJ.com for the identity of the commenter, which the site readily disclosed. The town councilmember sued, claiming that the site violated his privacy rights and failed to comply with proper procedures for disclosing user information in response to a subpoena.

Williams comments that some view this case as a test of whether Internet users will be able to sit behind their monitor and remain anonymous. And he also writes:

The Internet provides a perhaps comfortable feeling that you can sit in front of your computer monitor and no one will ever find out who you are.  Feelings aside, the assumption is far from the truth.  Your particular computer is identified by its own IP (Internet Protocol) address.  Sure, sophisticated users can attempt to spoof IP addresses, but nothing truly works to hide your identity.  Even aside from the technological issues, Internet users have used monikers and other "anonymous" names to hide their identity.  For the most part, those attempts don't work, either.

Is this a matter of caveat emptor, where users ought to remain aware that someone may always discover their identity? Or do Websites and chatrooms and other online fora owe users a duty of confidentiality?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 27, 2007 at 03:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pro Ses Get Their Day in the Court of Last Resort

Back in September, I posted on the compelling case of Winkelman v. City of Parma, a 6th Circuit decision barring parents from enforcing their disabled children's rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) unless represented by counsel. And while we'd all agree that parents might be better off with attorneys in these kinds of matters, the sad reality for the Winkelmans was that they couldn't afford the thousands of dollars that this kind of case often costs. Moreover, to add insult to injury, in a related case, the Ohio Bar brought suit for unauthorized practice of law against a dad who succeeded in winning thousands of dollars in educational services for his son in an IDEA action against a school board. I ended my post with the hope that the Supreme Court would grant cert to stop this madness.

The Court did grant cert, and today, the no-longer pro se Winkelmans have their day before the Supreme Court. Scotus Blog previews the arguments here. The Supreme Court won't address the substance of the Winkelman's claims under the IDEA. Rather, the Court will hear the narrow issue of whether parents are aggrieved parties under the IDEA such that they can enforce rights under the statute, as well as whether Congress intended to allow parents to represent their children pro se in IDEA actions. 

What's most interesting to me is that the parents who couldn't afford a lawyer to represent them in a suit against the school district have now secured able representation by Jean-Claude Andre free of charge. Like the Ugly Betty wallflower who loses weight and acquires a glam wardrobe to emerge as a beautiful and desirable swan, the Winkelman's case has undergone a similar transformation, from a spurned stepchild that no lawyer would adopt without a substantial fee to an attractive plum coveted by multiple law firm suitors.   

It's not clear whether the Winkelmans would have embarked on a pro se path had they been able to afford an attorney. And their Supreme Court case, while an important vindication, doesn't do much to address the underlying problem of the cost of pursuing IDEA litigation. While I appreciate the heroic efforts of lawyers like Andre who devote their time (and let's not kid ourselves: Supreme Court litigation is time and labor intensive) at no charge to bringing cases to the Supreme Court, let's not forget that there's a need for resources at the lower level. After all, if the Winkelmans could have afforded counsel at the lower level, the case would never have reached the Supreme Court.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 27, 2007 at 03:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saludos cordiales
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10
Santiago, Chile

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Sunshine and Judge Seidlin

In 1933, Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis advised, "Sunlight is the greatest disinfectant." True to this notion, Florida is known as the Sunshine State not only for its weather -- it has long been a leader in open government. But when it comes to cameras in the courtroom, does openness serve an injustice?

After watching Judge Larry Seidlin's on-camera antics in the Anna Nicole Smith proceedings, Norm Pattis thinks so. At his blog Crime & Federalism, he says Seidlin singlehandedly rests the case against cameras in the courtroom. "The judge sniveled and emoted like a pro se in traffic court for the cameras today, when he gave the lifeless body of Anna Nicole Smith to the lawyer for her five-year-old daughter."

Pattis is not alone in the belief that Seidlin played to the cameras. The Miami Herald called the judge "something of a national spectacle." The Associated Press described him as "showboating for the cameras." CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said he let the case meander, "mostly because he seems to enjoy being on television." Any doubts about Seidlin's soft spot for TV were erased when it was reported that he had a demo tape and hoped to audition for his own series. Sure enough, it was revealed over the weekend that CBS offered Seidlin a gig as host of a new Saturday morning feature. (No, not a cartoon.)

Pattis acknowledges that cameras in the courtroom can play an important role  in public education. "But how do we prevent cameras from influencing the proceedings?" he asks, adding, "Does anything go in the Sunshine State?"

Focusing blame on cameras was inevitable, says Mark Obbie at LawBeat.  But to view cameras as the problem is to get it "exactly wrong," he argues.

"[W]e should rejoice in what Florida's open-courts law gave us in this case: a full-on view of the kinds of idiots who can make it onto the bench, even in sizable metropolitan areas like Fort Lauderdale. Seidlin didn't know the difference between 'anecdote' and 'antidote.' But his voters now know the difference between competence and incompetence."

At Bench Conference, Andrew Cohen argues that Seidlin's performance was so unseemly and inappropriate "that the Florida bar ought to immediately launch an investigation into whether he is truly fit to determine the rights and liberties of others." It is probably Florida's Judicial Qualification Commission, not the bar, that should take this up, but that is beside the point. Obbie is right: Cameras should not be on trial -- the judge should be. This man has been on the bench for 29 years. If he is investigated and if he is found to be unqualified, we have cameras to thank, not blame. When sunlight illuminates misconduct, our response should not be to close the blinds.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 26, 2007 at 02:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Gender Bias at the Supreme Court

In 1873, the Supreme Court affirmed the Illinois Bar in denying admission to a woman, explaining, "The paramount destiny and mission of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother." We've come a long way in the 134 years since -- or have we?

By way of the blog Empirical Legal Studies comes word of new research showing that women attorneys have less success before the Supreme Court than men. This is true both when a woman argues the case and when women form part of the appellate team. In fact, the research indicates that the higher the proportion of women on the appellate team, the lower the likelihood of success.

Why is this? Two reasons, say the study's authors, political science professors John J. Szmer of the University of North Carolina and Tammy A. Sarver of Benedictine University. One is the "different voice theory," the notion that women "will construct different types of arguments than male attorneys, and the male-dominated U.S. Supreme Court will be less receptive to arguments presented by women attorneys." The second, more troubling reason is that a justice's political ideology is a measure of his responsiveness to women lawyers. The authors explain:

"Conservative justices are significantly more likely to support litigants that are represented by more men. Conservative justices are less receptive to arguments constructed by women."

The dominance of men on the Supreme Court bench makes it impossible to generalize more broadly about the interaction of justice and attorney gender, the authors say. They urge further research examining the role of attorney gender in other courts, "particularly those with more gender diversity amongst the judges." But at the Supreme Court, they conclude, the picture their research draws is "rather grim."

Read their paper and decide for yourself: Have We Come A Long Way, Baby?: Female Attorneys Before the United States Supreme Court.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 26, 2007 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Start a Mediation Practice

One sure-fire shortcut: Win the lottery. It worked for Diane Levin of Online Guide to Mediation, but even lottery dollars get you only so far. There remains that nagging need for new business. So how do successful mediators get started? Thanks to the impetus of lawyer and mediator Victoria Pynchon, we are finding out.

At her blog, Settle it Now, Pynchon recently shared her advice for how to start a mediation practice. Pynchon's post inspired another mediator, Tammy Lenski, to write about how she started her practice. She promises a second post on what she would do differently with the benefit of hindsight. Lenski invited other mediators to share their stories, tagging Levin, who told us of her lottery luck, and Dina Beach Lynch, who has yet to weigh in. Levin, in turn, passed the start-up baton to others, inviting them to share their own stories and advice.

Common themes among these successful mediators: Have a plan. Build a network. Pursue training and experience. Take the plunge.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 26, 2007 at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The User-Friendly Lawyer

Wendy L. Werner is a business and career adviser to lawyers. She is also an award-winning photographer who believes that her ability to see a good picture complements her ability to teach lawyers what they need to see about themselves and their businesses. She pulls together her thoughts on where lawyers lack vision in an article, How to be More User-Friendly, published in the ABA's Law Practice Today. She describes it as "a list of things that lawyers need to do or think about to not just be tolerated by the rest of the world, but to flourish." On her list:

  • Talk less, listen more.
  • Sharing information with those around you is not a bad thing.
  • Know what your colleagues are working on.
  • Being rigorous doesn't mean being a jerk.
  • Risk is sometimes necessary to find new opportunities.
  • If you only spend time with lawyers, you won't know how to talk to juries or clients.
  • Lawyers are frequently smart people -- but lots of other people are smart too.
  • Diversity is a fact of life. If you want a successful and smart organization, hire and promote a diverse work force.
  • Seek opportunities for feedback.
  • No matter what your level in the organization, find a mentor, coach or adviser.
  • Having fun at work isn't a crime.
  • At the end of your life you probably won't say, "I wish I had spent more time at the office."

Read Werner's full article, and perhaps you'll end up more user-friendly.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 26, 2007 at 02:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saludos cordiales
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10
Santiago, Chile

Thursday, February 22, 2007

from legal watch: important news

Rodrigo González Fernández director de consultajuridicachile .blogspot.com ha señalado: "Este es un artículo muy interesante que lo voy a comentar con el profesor Marcelo Montero I, abogado, de gran experiencia en la educación legal . No necesita ser traducido ya él es un titulado en post grado en Stanford, donde precisamente ha estudiado estos temas.
Legal Blog Watch

Should Law Schools Teach Skills?

Over a month ago, my colleague Bob Ambrogi posted about the Carnegie Foundation report indicting legal education for failing to teach about real cases and trends and practical skills. And the debate over the role of law schools in preparing students for the reality of practice continues to rage in full force, with a  diverse coalition comprised of both law professors and practitioners advocating for substantial reform. 

Up first is Professor Ann Althouse, a guest columnist this month for the New York Times, with her piece, Skull Full of Mush (2/20/07). Althouse writes that law schools disrespect law students by focusing too much on theory and unreal hypotheticals instead of using real cases and facts to teach students to think and practice like real lawyers. Another academic, Professor James Maule of Mauled Again, follows with a lengthy post that includes multiple links to other critiques of legal education and the need for reform. Maule doesn't advocate for teaching skills per se; rather, like Althouse, he endorses teaching about real cases, thinking about how how a particular analysis would impact clients or considering the ethics implications of a decision, instead of teaching ethics in the abstract, as a separate part of the curriculum. From Maule's post:

What's needed is a change in the structure of the traditional doctrinal courses. It's not enough to learn that the law requires one thing or another. It's important to consider whether the parties will act in accordance with it, to understand what the options are when the theoretically correct legal answer does not match the actions of the client or some other person, and to appreciate how one's approach to the matter can influence how the client deals with the matter. It is more important to understand how the law came to be the way it is than it is to advocate some law reform that has little if any chance of seeing the light of day in a committee let alone a court or legislature. Professional responsibility issues need to be incorporated into substantive courses and not stashed in the corner in a separate course, because in practice those issues do not arise in a vacuum. Some of my students bristle when I raise professional responsibility questions in my tax and decedents' courses, because "that stuff is in another course." Well, it ought not be. The same problem exists with respect to digital technology. Most law faculty continue to omit discussion of cutting edge legal issues arising from the existence of legal technology, perhaps because they don't understand it and don't have the time to learn about it because they're under pressure to crank out ten more articles for tenure. It's only in my decedents' course, my students tell me, that they are challenged to consider the legal issues arising from the use of digital signatures on wills, revocation of digital documents, and the issues arising from the disposition of the decedents' email and email accounts. To put it bluntly, law faculty need to prepare students for practice in the twenty-first century.

The lawyers with more practice experience, however, want legal education to go even further and not simply teach what it's like to think and practice as a lawyer but how to actually function as one. Susan Cartier Liebel of Build A Solo Practice (who's also taught a law school course on this topic for seven years) has written extensively about the need for law schools to teach practical skills. And in this post, she features a letter by trial lawyer, Mark Solomon, who is also a partner in the The Billable Hour, who writes that one reason that so many law students grow frustrated in law school is due to the lack of practical training. From Solomon's letter:

The real source of discontent among law students, I’m afraid, is the utter failure of law schools to educate our future attorneys in the profession. Law schools do a wonderful job of laying the foundations of a practice with core courses in constitutional law, contracts, torts, criminal law and the like. Some schools have valuable trial advocacy programs, clinics, and local practice courses. But law schools leave their graduates literally and figuratively without a roof over their heads. That is the source of the law students’ sense of disconnect with the real world.

My connection to the real world is through my clients. Law school didn’t teach me how to get clients, how to market my services to the public I was trained to serve. How do I open a law office, what supplies and resources do I need in my office, what should my office look like to appeal to my clients and my need for a comfortable workspace? Do I need malpractice insurance, how much, where do I get it and what should it cost to buy? What business records should I be keeping? How do I balance my books?

Considering the draconian penalties that are routinely imposed upon lawyers who inadvertently make even the smallest mistake in their escrow account, it is incomprehensible to me that at least one semester of the required curriculum of every law school isn’t devoted to law office accounting. Marketing and management courses are equally essential to a complete legal education.

So where do I come down on all of this? I do agree with professors Althouse and Maule that law school ought to examine practical issues and incorporate ethics into every aspect of the curriculum instead of ghettoizing it as a stand-alone course. In fact, I craved this type of education back in law school, when I sat in the back of the class, forever asking questions about whether a particular practice was ethical or how this provision or that of the tax code impacted individual behavior (my efforts weren't well received; pretty soon, professors simply stopped calling on me).   

But the absence of real life issues from law school isn't as acute as it was back when I was a student, in large part because of blogs. Today, more law professors are blogging than ever before, and they're sharing their views on the intersection between legal theory and real world cases. That doesn't excuse the failure of law schools to formalize this kind of approach within legal education, but it certainly has a mitigating effect.

But while I'm willing to go as far as Althouse and Maule, you might be surprised to discover that as someone who's spent the past four years blogging about how to hang a shingle, I'm not a big fan of skills training in law school. Sure, I think that law schools should offer these classes as options, in the same way that law schools offer clinics or trial advocacy or moot court, but I don't believe in mandating them. For me, the best part of law school (and any school, in general) is that it afforded me the luxury of  avoiding the nitty gritty of the real world (with the exception of the law firms where I worked during the summer) and to spend time pondering the meaning of a judicial opinion or exploring how precedent developed. As a student, I knew that I had my entire career to argue cases, to deal with clients and to worry about how I'd earn a living. 

I think in many ways, we oversell the importance of skills training. There's always time to learn skills on the job. But when is the last time when, as a busy lawyer, you had a chance to savor the reasoning of a really well written Supreme Court decision or contemplate its impact not just on your client but on public at large? To me, that's what law school is, or ought to be for.

I'm quite sure I'm in the minority here, so let me hear your views below.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on February 21, 2007 at 04:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saludos cordiales
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10
Santiago, Chile

Friday, February 16, 2007

es posible La ISO en los despachos profesionales.

La ISO en los despachos profesionales.


En Derecho.com se publica un interesante articulo de Rafa Llorens Llobet. Abogado. Socio Agesa Consulting. Natàlia Guiu Cabrejas. Abogado. Responsable de Calidad.

http://www.derecho.com/articulos/item/2005/7/15/la-iso-en-los-despachos-profesionales  que tiene un carácter universal y bien aplicable en Chile.








3.- ¿QUÉ ES ISO ?









La necesidad de “homologar”, que resulta imprescindible en la fabricación de cualquier producto, se ha impuesto también en la prestación de servicios. Los despachos profesionales han dejado de ser una actividad personal de sus titulares para convertirse en verdaderas empresas de servicios. Junto con las tradicionales exigencias de:


-trabajar bien,


-labrarse un prestigio,


-ser eficiente


y ganarse la confianza del cliente,


ahora hay que añadir el aumento de la competencia, la atomización de pequeños y medianos despachos y una oferta de servicios difíciles de diferenciar y valorar por parte de los clientes. Además, factores como la globalización han obligado a los despachos con relaciones internacionales a tener establecidos sistemas homogéneos para permitir la fluidez en el trabajo.





De la situación que acabamos de exponer, quizás merezca la pena incidir en el último aspecto, puesto que ha de ser en la capacidad de diferenciación, en la valoración positiva por parte de los clientes y en la internacionalización, donde reside el éxito de la organización. Sin lugar a dudas, uno de los factores clave que ha de permitir a una firma de profesionales de la abogacía la obtención de esa capacidad de diferenciación consiste en la adopción de su Sistema de Gestión de la Calidad, al amparo de la norma internacional ISO 9001:2000.


Hoy en día ya no resulta posible para una empresa dedicarse a determinadas (cada vez más) actividades sin pasar por la obtención de la norma ISO 9001 que la faculta y la controla para trabajar en determinados sectores. Como consumidores, esta necesidad la detectamos de forma muy clara y, además, lo consideramos apropiado y, en algunos casos, absolutamente imprescindible:


• Exigimos que las autoridades correspondientes controlen, por ejemplo, a todos los fabricantes de cualquier pieza del avión en el que volamos para que no pueda producirse un accidente por un defecto de fabricación;


• Confiamos en que cualquier proceso al que seamos sometidos por las entidades sanitarias en el tratamiento de nuestra salud, esté controlado y vigilado por quien corresponda;


• Deseamos poder hacer llegar nuestras reclamaciones ante cualquier queja que tengamos tanto a la compañía eléctrica, como a cualquier tienda, restaurante, estación de servicio, etc.


Con independencia de obtener la certificación (normalmente es una exigencia del cliente, aunque no hay que olvidar que se trata también de obtener un prestigio) la norma ISO dispone de suficientes elementos de ayuda a la gestión de despachos profesionales, que es el aspecto realmente importante y que deseamos destacar en este artículo.


Nuestra profesión ha evolucionado en muy poco tiempo, pasando de despachos “personalistas” donde los sistemas de trabajo emanaban de la personalidad propia del titular, a complejas organizaciones multidisciplinares, imposibles de funcionar sin una adecuada Organización Interna. La referencia la habíamos tenido siempre en los despachos extranjeros o firmas de Auditoría y Consultoría multinacionales, que emplean sistemas de trabajo que, a veces, podían parecernos excesivamente burocratizados.


Precisamente el crecimiento de nuestros despachos y la proyección internacional en nuestro ámbito de actuación nos han hecho ver que el desarrollo de nuestra profesión, requiere dotarla de una estructura empresarial donde la gestión de los Recursos Humanos, la atención a las Relaciones Públicas y aspectos “comerciales” de la firma, la dotación de los recursos técnicos necesarios, van a resultar tan necesarios como lo son la formación continuada, el talento y la experiencia para cualquier profesional en activo.


En este sentido resulta de gran ayuda acudir a la experiencia que en el mundo empresarial se ha ido consolidando en aquellos sectores en los que ha resultado imprescindible establecer ciertos criterios de organización y funcionamiento al objeto de asegurar la calidad, y esto es precisamente de lo que trata ISO 9001.





Apostar por disponer de un Plan de Calidad es comparable a:


• Reconocer que es mejor el orden que el desorden,


• A preferir las cosas escritas que confiar en la memoria,


• A establecer procedimientos para las rutinas de trabajo que depender de la capacidad de improvisar,...;


Se trata de eliminar aspectos que en otros tiempos podrían suponer una cierta cualidad en un individuo que actúa sólo (entenderse en un cierto desorden, confiar siempre en la memoria, improvisar, ...) pero que en una organización son totalmente inadecuados y que suponen los llamados costes de la no calidad.


Se evitan también los sistemas “individualistas” y la resistencia al cambio que suelen ofrecer muchas personas acostumbradas a trabajar “a su manera”, especialmente si llevan muchos años haciendo una misma labor.





La normalización internacional se inició en el sector eléctrico con la creación, en 1906, de la Comisión Eléctrica Internacional (CEI). Los primeros trabajos en otras áreas se centraron especialmente en el sector de la ingeniería mecánica, cesando sus actividades en 1942. Finalizada la 2ª Guerra Mundial, delegados de 25 países se reunieron en Londres, tomando la decisión de crear una nueva organización internacional, que tuviera por actividad facilitar la coordinación y la unificación internacional de normas industriales. La nueva organización, ISO, entra oficialmente en funciones en fecha 23 de febrero de 1947.



3.- ¿ QUÉ ES ISO ?


ISO es una federación mundial de organismos de normalización procedentes de 148 países con un Secretariado Central en Ginebra, encargado de coordinar el sistema; es una organización no gubernamental (ONG). El organismo que representa a España es Aenor (Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación).


Debido al hecho de que la nomenclatura “Organización Internacional para la Estandarización” puede dar lugar a diferentes abreviaturas en función del idioma empleado, se optó por emplear un derivado del vocablo griego “isos”, que significa “igual”. Así pues, desde cualquier país, empleando cualquier idioma, el nombre abreviado de la organización es siempre ISO.


ISO tiene por misión la promoción del desarrollo de la estandarización y actividades relacionadas, con el objetivo de facilitar el intercambio internacional de bienes y servicios y desarrollar la cooperación en los ámbitos intelectual, científico, tecnológico y económico. En un sentido más pragmático, no nos quepa duda ninguna que el tamaño y el grosor al que obedecen las tarjetas de crédito, hecho que permite utilizarlas en cualquier cajero automático de cualquier entidad financiera en cualquier rincón del planeta, se ha hecho al amparo de esta organización.


La estandarización que propone ISO a través de sus normativas es de carácter totalmente voluntario para las organizaciones, aunque, los estándares que preconiza ISO pueden llegar a convertirse en requisitos que demanda el mercado , tal y como sucede actualmente con la normativa ISO 9000 de Sistemas de Gestión de la Calidad.


ISO 9000 se ha convertido en una referencia internacional en el marco de requisitos de un sistema de gestión empresarial. A grandes rasgos, ello significa que toda organización debe saber qué tiene que hacer para:


-conocer los requisitos de calidad del cliente, de conformidad con


-los requisitos legales aplicables, dirigiéndose hacia


-el aumento de la satisfacción del cliente y


-mejorando continuamente sus procesos para lograr los objetivos propuestos





El vocablo “calidad” ha sufrido una evolución desde sus inicios a la actualidad que conviene destacar. En los años 40, estaba concebida, en el ámbito de las empresas de producción, como una inspección final del producto, antes de entregarlo al consumidor. Dicha inspección de calidad se llevaba a cabo al final de todo el proceso y, si se detectaban errores de fabricación, se debía iniciar de nuevo. Imaginemos que en el proceso de preparación de los impuestos, el despacho verificara las declaraciones cuando ya se han presentado en Hacienda, y se tiene que entregar el ejemplar de la carta de pago al cliente


Con la idea de rebajar los costes de fabricación, dicha inspección de calidad se llevó a cabo en diferentes fases del proceso, lo que permitía que si algo tenía que arreglarse, se detectara antes de que aumentara su complicación (control de calidad al inicio del proceso, durante el mismo y al final). La aparición de la primera versión de la norma ISO 9000 (año 89), se refiere a la calidad en el sentido de asegurarla.


Entre los años 89 y 94 todas las empresas de producción se inician en la aventura de la calidad y crean el efecto colateral de obligar a las empresas proveedores a certificarse en la calidad si quieren mantenerse en la cresta de la competitividad. También durante estos años, algunas empresas de servicios iniciaron el proceso de certificación en calidad, lo cual fue todo un mérito porque la norma ISO en vigor en aquellos tiempos no contemplaba dicha opción y no se encontraron con un nada camino fácil.


Precisamente, para facilitar el acceso de las empresas de servicios al mundo de la calidad y para reducir el exceso de burocracia de las versiones anteriores, con la versión 2001 de ISO 9000, la calidad debe gestionarse en toda organización. Los despachos profesionales se gestionan, se organizan con unos parámetros que proporcionan la satisfacción del cliente al coste más reducido posible.





La certificación es la acción llevada a cabo por una entidad reconocida como independiente de las partes interesadas, mediante la que se manifiesta la conformidad de una empresa, producto, proceso, servicio o persona con los requisitos definidos en normas o especificaciones técnicas.


Etapas del proceso


1.- Creación y redacción de la documentación del Sistema de Gestión.


Es sin lugar a dudas la etapa más larga de todo el proceso de certificación. Debido al hecho de que los abogados se están sumando cada vez con más frecuencia a la obtención de certificaciones de calidad en la gestión de sus bufetes , la entidad de normalización y certificación Aenor ha publicado una guía en la que señala los criterios de aplicación de la norma ISO 9001:2000 para gestionar los despachos profesionales jurídicos, económicos y/o tributarios (UNE 66929:2003).


2.- Implantación del Sistema de Gestión en el despacho.


Casi con toda seguridad, de todos los pasos, el que supone un mayor desafío para cualquier empresa o despacho que tenga la inquietud de implantar la norma ISO 9001:2000 es el de acomodar la documentación con la que está habituado a trabajar (listados de clientes, de proveedores, elaboración de presupuestos, etc., etc.) pero incluyendo nuevos aspectos (requisitos ISO) que, quizá, hasta este momento no había tenido en cuenta. Indudablemente, esto supone romper con formas de trabajo implantadas desde antiguo en la organización y consensuar criterios entre las personas que a partir de este momento deberán contemplar estas nuevas exigencias.


3.- Auditoría interna según las pautas de la organización y las de ISO 9001:2000.


Es el ensayo general al que, forzosamente debe someterse el despacho antes de llevar a cabo la auditoría externa o de certificación.


Habitualmente, es la consultora a la que se ha recurrido para ayudar al despacho en el proceso la que asigna al auditor interno.


4.- Selección de la entidad de certificación.


Para saber si la entidad a la que acudimos está facultada para llevar a cabo el proceso de certificación, existe un organismo superior que dispone de la información debidamente actualizada; actualmente en España, existen hasta 18 entidades reconocidas por ENAC (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación) como organizaciones para llevar a cabo certificaciones en sistemas de Gestión de la calidad ISO 9000. En su página web www.enac.es está disponible esta información.


5.- Revisión de la documentación.


La documentación de carácter general del sistema de gestión de la calidad de la organización es sometida a un análisis por parte de los auditores, reflejando en un informe las observaciones detectadas.


6.- Auditoría (inicial) del sistema.


Los auditores visitan la organización con los siguientes objetivos:


- Comprobar el grado de implantación y adecuación del sistema de la calidad de la organización;


- Coordinar el plan de auditoría inicial;


- Evaluación del sistema de gestión de la calidad conforme a los requisitos de la norma ISO 9001 aplicable. Las no conformidades detectadas se reflejan en un informe que será comentado y entregado a la empresa en la reunión final de auditoría.


Otro punto que consideramos que merece especial atención es el de la Auditoría del sistema por parte del organismo certificador; resulta todo un reto defender ante el auditor el sistema de trabajo del despacho, hacerle entender el por qué se ha optado por una forma de trabajo y no por otra y que él decida si la opción elegida es conforme a los criterios de la norma de referencia, es decir, la norma ISO 9001:2000. Evidentemente, llegados a este punto, el auditor del sistema pide que ciertos procesos de trabajo o aspectos concretos de un proceso de trabajo se revisen y se acomoden a la norma de referencia.


7.- Plan de acciones correctivas: Resolución de desviaciones


El despacho dispone de un plazo de tiempo establecido para presentar a la entidad certificadora un plan de acciones correctivas dirigido a subsanar las no conformidades detectadas y documentadas en el informe de auditoría.


8.- Entrega del certificado ISO 9001.


Los servicios de la entidad certificadora elegida evalúan el informe de auditoría y el plan de acciones correctivas, procediendo en su caso, a la concesión del Certificado de Registro de Empresa.


9.- Revisión anual


Como estamos en un ciclo de mejora contínua , cada año se repite la auditoría; es decir, si la auditoría inicial se lleva a cabo en el año 2005, en los años 2006 y 2007, se llevan a cabo las preceptivas auditorías de seguimiento. Es posible que la diferencia con la auditoría inicial estribe en dos circunstancias determinantes:


- Mayor conocimiento de la terminología del Sistema de gestión y del enfoque de las auditorías.


- Nivel de exigencia inferior en estas auditorías que en la inicial.


Se repite la fase 7 del proceso, es decir, plan de acciones correctivas: resolución de desviaciones y, si todo evoluciona correctamente, se mantiene el uso de la marca de empresa registrada.


10.- Renovación de la certificación (tercer año)


Transcurridos 3 años a contar desde la fecha de concesión del certificado, éste debe ser renovado (siguiendo la cronología del apartado anterior, en el año 2008). En consecuencia, la auditoría de renovación vuelve a adquirir un carácter más severo que las dos anteriores.





Pensemos que el objetivo final de la gestión de calidad es la optimización de los recursos que disponemos ; se trata de que con el menor coste posible, se obtengan unos mejores resultados. Para ello deberemos definir una metodología y unos procedimientos que posibiliten una mejora con respecto a la forma actual de gestionar el trabajo.


Hoy en día nadie discute la necesidad de planificar unos procedimientos que regulen las relaciones y la forma de trabajar de los distintos profesionales; coincidiremos si señalamos que no sería conveniente que diferentes integrantes de un mismo departamento trabajaran cada uno “a su manera”, según su forma particular de proceder, según su criterio de archivo, ... Las personas nos acostumbramos a convivir con los errores , de tal modo que podemos llegar a no concederles el valor que se merecen. Estos errores nos llevan al coste de la no calidad, gasto que acabará siendo imputado en el precio del servicio que ofrecemos. Será mucho mejor destinar unos esfuerzos en mejorar la gestión de la calidad, pensar de qué forma estamos trabajando actualmente y cómo deberíamos hacerlo para mejorar e implantar el sistema y proceder a sus revisiones periódicas posteriores para verificar las mejoras obtenidas.


En la organización de todo despacho se producen pérdidas de tiempo, de energía y de dinero que repercuten en la imagen de la firma y, como consecuencia, en la satisfacción del cliente. El titular del despacho y su equipo de colaboradores deben examinar la gestión empresarial y hallar la no calidad. Cuando hay mala coordinación, exceso de burocracia interna, pérdidas de tiempo en arreglar cosas mal hechas, ..., los empleados están insatisfechos, cometen más errores involuntarios, se despreocupan, etc.


El objetivo de la firma de abogados es ofrecer un buen asesoramiento a sus clientes y, a través de él, darle satisfacción, conocer sus expectativas, sus necesidades y preferencias, de forma que continúe solicitando nuestros servicios, los recomiende a sus amigos y tenga una buena imagen de nuestro despacho.


Le proponemos que responda estas preguntas:


-¿Saben los integrantes de su firma cuáles son los objetivos que se ha propuesto para este año la dirección del despacho?


-¿Sabe a cada momento lo que lleva gastado de una provisión de fondos de un cliente y la cantidad que le queda para afrontar los gastos pendientes?


-¿Tiene identificados cuáles son sus diez principales clientes por facturación?


-¿Conoce qué porcentaje representan los asuntos mercantiles, fiscales, contenciosos, civiles, ... sobre el total de los asuntos realizados en un año?


-¿Le solicita a su cliente una hoja de encargo en la que se detalla la concreta prestación de servicios solicitada, el tiempo previsto de ejecución, los honorarios que comportará, ...?


-¿Se ordenan correctamente los dossiers de los clientes, por temas, por años?; de no estar en el despacho la persona que ha tratado un tema con el cliente ¿Vd. podría localizar fácilmente dónde está archivada la documentación?


-¿Existe una correcta delimitación de funciones y campos de delegación en su despacho?


ISO 9001 ayudará en la gestión de los despachos profesionales en los siguientes aspectos:


- reducción de costes por supresión de errores innecesarios (según estudios, el coste de la mala calidad equivale aproximadamente a un 20 % de los ingresos de una empresa);


- satisfacción del cliente y, por tanto, mayor fidelización;


-motivación del personal de la firma y mayor compromiso con los objetivos del despacho (una persona satisfecha transmite su entusiasmo a otras tres, por término medio; una persona insatisfecha comunica su insatisfacción a once personas);


-establecer procedimientos de trabajo homogéneos , aportando seguridad a las personas que participan en los mismos;


-el despacho tendrá definido por escrito, entre otras, la siguiente documentación:


• Política de despacho , normalmente en forma de decálogo (cómo nos definimos, qué tipo de despacho aspiramos ser, cuáles han de ser nuestros elementos característicos que nos identifiquen).


• Los objetivos anuales de la firma, en consonancia con lo dispuesto en la política, desarrollando las acciones a emprender , las personas responsables, los plazos de ejecución propuestos, los medios económicos y humanos de los que dispondrán, ... Ejemplo: si uno de los puntos de la política del despacho es el de “potenciar la imagen corporativa”, un objetivo a definirse para el año sería el de “organizar unas sesiones formativas en el Colegio de Abogados (o en alguna escuela de negocios) sobre la Ley Concursal”.


Para que dichos objetivos no se queden en papel mojado, se fijan revisiones y adecuaciones constantes de los mismos y, si se hace necesario, emprender acciones un poco más incisivas (informes de calidad) para intentar lograr su cumplimiento.


-el organigrama del despacho (debatiéndose sobre la organización deseada, las dependencias entre los integrantes del bufete, ...).


-opcionalmente, puede procederse a definir los puestos de trabajo, las aptitudes y requisitos necesarios para ocupar un determinado puesto en el organigrama, las responsabilidades de cada puesto de trabajo, un plan de carrera para la promoción interna de los integrantes del despacho, una planificación de acciones formativas, un plan de acogida en el que se recojan las normas básicas de cultura empresarial para su entrega a las personas que se incorporen a la organización, ....


- Dispondremos de un cuadro de mando de indicadores (número de defectos en escrituras presentadas al Registro Mercantil, número de requerimientos recibidos de la Agencia Tributaria, p.e.) que nos permitirá conocer la evolución y hacer comparaciones de nuestros procesos de trabajo desde puntos de vista no económicos (podremos medir cada año la eficacia de las medidas adoptadas para reducir ese número de defectos). La cifra de facturación deja de ser el único indicador válido para medir el funcionamiento y permitir hacer proyecciones acerca del futuro de la organización.


Estos y otros documentos son buenos ejemplos prácticos de incidencia de la norma ISO en la mejora de funcionamiento de los despachos. En resumen, se trata de elementos de organización del despacho, muchos de ellos nada nuevos para quien lleva años al frente del despacho, pero ISO le da la oportunidad de dejarlos por escrito y ordenados, renovándose y adaptándose a las nuevas situaciones.


Para implementar todas las medidas comentadas debe procederse a lo que se conoce como ciclo PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act), es decir, ciclo de planificación, realización, control y actuación. Este ciclo se basa en el principio de mejora continua de la gestión de la calidad , conocido también como Ciclo de Deming.


Saludos cordiales
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10
Santiago, Chile

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Por qué los hombres de negocios odian a los abogados


El título de este artículo puede sonar my agresivo o inclusive ofensivo para mi o para cualquiera de mis colegas abogados. Sin embargo, en términos de negocios el título es una absoluta verdad que inclusive no sólo ocurre en mi país, sino también en varias regiones del mundo (Por lo menos sé que ocurre en EEUU, Brasil y Australia).

A continuación, quiero compartir con Uds. un excelente artículo escrito por mi colega amigo Jay Shepherd titulado: Why businesspeople hate lawyers. En este artículo, Jay relata las razones por la que muchos empresarios americanos han llegado a esa conclusión. Como lo dije, esto no sólo ocurre en mi país.

¿Por qué los hombres de negocios odian a los abogados? por Jay Shepherd

Traducción por Ivan Cavero

Bueno, los abogados pueden decirte que no es cierto. "Odio" es una palabra fuerte y agresiva. Pero lo real y realmente cierto es que a muchos de los hombres de negocios no les gustan los abogados.

¿Por qué? Allí van las razones:

1.Facturan por hora
2.Utilizan legalismos
3.Responden en términos legales, en lugar de términos de negocios.

Y ¿Qué es lo que estas tres cosas tienen en común?
Todo lo señalado son ejemplos que demuestran que los abogados se colocan ellos mismos en el primer lugar, en vez de colocar en esa posición a sus clientes. Facturar los servicios legales por horas basado en el tiempo que el abogado toma, no es enfocarse en el valor que el cliente recibe. ¿Qué diferencia representa para el cliente si algún trabajo demora en realizarse dos o cuatro horas? Muy rara vez, el cliente logra que este trabajo tenga un doble valor para sus negocios, aún cuando al abogado le haya tardado el doble del tiempo en realizarlo (Y por lo tanto con el doble del costo, además).

Además, los abogados hablan y escriben utilizando legalismos para alardear que ellos son, de hecho, abogados. En vez de tratar de encontrar la forma más clara de comunicarse con sus clientes, los abogados terminan utilizando frases poco útiles, cuyo significado ni siquiera es claro para ellos mismos. “Por tanto, por los términos considerados” – Lo que quiero decir es, ¿Quién realmente habla de esa forma? Los abogados utilizan legalismos de la misma forma que los doctores y policías utilizan tecnicismos en sus profesiones para diferenciarse de las personas a quien ellos sirven.

Finalmente, los hombres de negocios plantean a sus abogados consultas sobre negocios, pero ellos obtienen respuestas legales. Cuantos de ustedes han planteado a un abogado una consulta acerca de sus negocios y lo que reciben es un memorando que contiene lo que un estatuto, regulación o lo que un Tribunal dice. A ti no te interesa lo que se ha resuelto en el caso Smith Vs. Landingham, lo que tu quieres de un abogado es que este resuelva el problema.

En este sentido, al empezar este nuevo año los Abogado deberían agregar a su lista de buenos propósitos tres cosas para situar a sus clientes primero:

1.Fijar los precios de sus servicios basado en el valor o utilidad del trabajo para el cliente.
2.Utilizar un lenguaje sencillo
3.Darle a los clientes respuestas de negocios

Si desean revisar el artículo en la versión en inglés hacer clic en el siguiente Link: Why businesspeople hate lawyer

Saludos cordiales
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10
Santiago, Chile

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Legal Blog Watch

Should Law Firm Clients Control Law Firms' Pro Bono Work?

A few weeks back, I posted about how large corporations are demanding diversity in the ranks of the law firms that serve them. While we may find that distasteful, to me, that demand is also fair, consistent with a client's freedom to choose a lawyer. But do private clients have the right to demand that their law firms drop pro bono clients with unpopular causes? And how should law firms respond when clients make these demands?

What's gotten me thinking about these issues is this editorial, Unveiled Threats (Washington Post, 1/12/07). The Post editorial harshly criticizes recent comments by Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense Cully Stimson on large law firms' pro bono representation of Guantanamo detainees. Specifically, Stimson remarked:

Actually you know I think the news story that you're really going to start seeing in the next couple of weeks is this: As a result of a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request through a major news organization, somebody asked, 'Who are the lawyers around this country representing detainees down there,' and you know what, it's shocking," he said. 

Mr. Stimson proceeded to reel off the names of these firms, adding, "I think, quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms, and I think that is going to have major play in the next few weeks. And we want to watch that play out."

The Post editorial rebuked Stimson for his veiled threats against law firms. From the editorial:

It's shocking that [Stimson] would seemingly encourage the firms' corporate clients to pressure them to drop this work. And it's shocking -- though perhaps not surprising -- that this is the person the administration has chosen to oversee detainee policy at Guantanamo.

But is Stimson's position entirely off base? Back in January 2006, Deroy Murdock of the National Review questioned the decision of so many large law firms to represent detainees. Somewhat like Stimson, Murdock raised the argument that because law firms are working pro bono, their Fortune 500 clients and shareholders "indirectly subsidize legal aid and comfort to suspected Islamo-fascist terrorists." But Murdock also wondered why firms would choose to represent alleged terrorists rather than, for example, families rendered homeless by Katrina.

Michael Froomkin at Discourse.net disagrees strongly with Stimson (and, presumably, Murdock as well), asserting here that Stimson's attempt to "put the economic screws on lawyers ... is just disgusting." Froomkin writes:

It's true that the list of law firms donating time to representing the victims of torture, humiliation (and a total lack of due process) at Guantanamo reads a bit like a who's who of the elite of the corporate bar. And they deserve credit for it.

And Froomkin also adds: "The first firm to cave on this issue is going to find it awfully hard to recruit elite law students, as they will have demonstrated a serious lack of moral fiber."

I agree with Froomkin that firms may have difficulty attracting top students if they stop representing detainees under pressure from clients. As I discussed here in March 2006, Ropes and Gray dropped longstanding client Catholic Charities after various gay and lesbian student groups from Harvard Law School argued that Ropes' work for the charity conflicted with otherpro bono work the firm had done for gay and lesbian interest groups. Apparently, Ropes feared that student criticism might impair its recruitment efforts at Harvard. 

As for me, here's where I come down on these issues. Personally, if I'd been on the law firms' pro bono committees, I wouldn't have chosen to represent detainees when there are so many far more compelling, but less sexy cases (such as defense of indigent criminal defendants accused of capital crimes at the trial level rather than up at the Supreme Court, for starters) where litigants desperately need representation. But having decided to represent detainees,  law firms are obligated to follow through on their commitment, irrespective of client objections (or student objections, for that matter).   

As to law firm clients, I see nothing reprehensible about them complaining about and potentially dumping a firm that chooses to represent detainees. Murdock is right on this one: Large firm fees subsidize law firm pro bono programs. One reason why firms charge the rates that they do is to cover their overhead costs, which include pro bono projects. So in my view, clients have a legitimate gripe when firms handle pro bono matters that clients don't support -- because paying clients' fees are subsidizing those cases. But there, too, clients have a remedy -- they can choose another law firm. And that's basically all that Stimson was suggesting that they do.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 12, 2007 at 05:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

iPhone, uPhone, We All Sue for iPhone

As reported in articles such as this one, Cisco has sued Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that Apple's use of the name "iPhone" for its new product release has infringed Cisco's registered iphone trademark. (See here for a picture of each phone.) According to the article, Cisco trademarked the term iPhone in 2000 and subsequently entered into negotiations with Apple after Apple sought permission to use the iPhone name.

The "i" vs. "i" lawsuit has generated discussion in the blogosphere on both procedural and substantive matters. For example, as Kevin O'Keefe writes here, Cisco's GC, Mark Chandler, is using his blog to disseminate Cisco's reasons for the lawsuit. O'Keefe points out that he's never seen blogs used this way before. And from Wired GC's perspective, Cisco is winning the war on the blogging front with this argument from Chandler:

If the tables were turned, do you think Apple would allow someone to blatantly infringe on their rights? How would Apple react if someone launched a product called iPod but claimed it was ok to use the name because it used a different video format? Would that be ok? We know the answer – Apple is a very aggressive enforcer of their trademark rights. And that needs to be a two-way street.

As Wired GC notes:

No response yet from new Apple GC Donald Rosenberg; he’s probably still unpacking his bags. And Apple employees don’t blog. But they certainly can innovate.

Given that Cisco has held the iPhone trademark since 2000 (something that Apple implicitly acknowledged by negotiating to obtain those rights), does that mean that Cisco's case is a slam dunk? Hardly. Leaving aside conspiracy theories that Cisco's suit is merely a plot for more publicity or a temper tantrum because Cisco simply isn't as cool as Apple, Marty Schwimmer's extensive list of defenses that Apple has suggests that Cisco will have an uphill climb. Among other things, Schwimmer explains that Apple can argue that the form of trademark that Cisco selected (a Section 8 rather than a Section 15) may not give it a presumption of continuing use and, in fact, may give Apple grounds for arguing that Cisco abandoned its trademark rights. Schwimmer also explains that given Apple's cache in the marketplace, it is unlikely that consumers will confuse Apple's iPhone with Cisco's.   

Still, Cisco will have some strong arguments as well, as summarized here by Jessie Seyfer at Legal Pad. From the post:

Robert Andris, IP attorney and partner at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley’s Redwood City office, thinks Apple could fail with some arguments and succeed with others.

"Apple's argument that its use of the mark iPhone would not be infringing because the two products are materially different will be a tough row to hoe. In infringement actions, judges and juries are allowed to consider the differences between the products using a mark when deciding whether there is a likelihood of confusion. But they are also allowed to consider whether the products are sold into similar markets and whether it is likely the mark holder's product line will be expanded to move into the infringer's market. 

Overall, the only consensus in the blogosphere at this point is that the Cisco-Apple fight will provide much more fodder for bloggers. Stay tuned ...

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 12, 2007 at 05:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Work-Life Synergy eGuide Now Available

Arnie Herz at Legal Sanity has just announced the release of an eGuide, Beyond Balance: How to Cultivate Work-Life Synergy in the Law, that he's co-authored with his wife, Lori. Herz argues that lawyers invoke the phrase "work-life balance" to express a variety of feelings, such as loving work but lacking time for personal life to feeling drained and depleted from work and co-workers. And when lawyers experience these feelings, they wonder: “What is the purpose of this? I want to experience more meaning in life. How do I find my way to happiness?”

Take a look at Herz's eGuide and see if you can find a way down a path to your own personal happiness.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 12, 2007 at 05:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

EQ, Rather Than IQ, Predicts a Lawyer's Success

In this interesting article, EQ Predicts A Lawyer's Success Better Than IQ, Lexi Herrera (from The Complete Lawyer, V.2, issue 5) argues that while law firms will always hire those with the best academic credentials, EQ -- or emotional intelligence -- may be a far better predictor of ultimate success. Essentially, EQ describes how individuals identify and use their own emotions and those of the people with whom they interact.

If you think EQ is too "touchy feely" to apply to real lawyers, think again. Herrerra gives a tangible example of how EQ can impact lawyers professionally:

EQ involves harnessing emotions and using them to your best advantage. For instance, raising your voice to stress the importance of a statement in the courtroom is often an effective tactic.  Conversely, raising your voice to prove you are right when speaking with a co-worker can result in a negative outcome. Emotions are an important part of our everyday lives: we actually experience 465 emotions in one 16-hour work day1. Knowing how to identify, understand, use, and manage them effectively separates us from other species. Why not use this form of intelligence to our benefit?

If Herrerra's example doesn't convince you that EQ is important for lawyers, then consider Bruce MacEwen's post, What's Your Social Intelligence Quotient? MacEwen writes for and counsels large law firms, and he too argues, convincingly, that EQ matters to success in the legal profession:

All of you who are about to "check out" psychologically or emotionally because this piece is starting to look like it will dwell on "soft" and not "hard" issues, let me ask you to bear with me for a few more paragraphs.  I promise it can pay off to litigators and transactional lawyers alike (not to mention the usual suspects, managing partners, senior partners, and executive committees).

MacEwen discusses ways to improve your EQ, a difficult task in today's climate, where it seems that everyone is multitasking. But EQ requires lawyers to "be fully present'" and "mindful of what is happening." People who are mindful are good listeners, fully engaged in the moment. And as MacEwen concludes:

Wouldn't you aspire to be seen as worth deeply engaging by clients, colleagues, and heck, even your spouse and kids?  Be, then, of the moment.  Be mindful.  Be socially intelligent.

Sounds like a worthy goal to me.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 12, 2007 at 05:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saludos cordiales
Renato Sánchez 3586 dep 10
Santiago, Chile