Leaders set the tone and establish the culture of the organizations they lead. President Obama’s first day in office is an example of the potential leaders have to do that. Cynics and “realists” will say that talk is cheap and they are right. Talk unmatched or inconsistent with action is cheap. But setting standards, which is what the President did yesterday, is a vital first step. Setting an example is the second. The President did that as well yesterday. Now the hard part begins, the part that requires consistent follow-through.
Leaders of law firms and of the profession might wish to bear in mind that what they do and don’t do has a significant impact, intended or not, on others in the firm and in the profession. Standards, or lack of thereof, will be established one way or another. There is no avoiding the consequences of leadership or the lack of it. Other lawyers in the firm, partners and associates, paralegals, secretaries, clients, judges and others always take notice of and cues from what those in charge do.