I must read the book that is reviewed in this article (link below) if I can find time! To view the business of law through the lens of psychology is something I've not come across before. Lawyers tend to have the reputation that they are not the most self-aware members of society and as such this would be an illuminating read.
What stuck me particularly about this article, though, is the quotation below. From my experience I agree that many (but certainly not all) private practice lawyers can be too focussed on the practice and minute detail of their art and not on providing a solution to their clients' problems. I recall a law firm partner referring to a colleague as "a very fine competition lawyer" which was said in such a tone of voice that it betrayed his emphasis on the beautiful quality of his colleague's legal analysis and knowledge but not whether that lawyer knew how to meet their clients' needs.
The result of this gap in the private practice offering has, I believe, fed into the development and expansion of in-house legal departments. Lawyers embedded in their sole client's business are required to provide not a mere legal service but a solution that not only provides that sense of safety and comfort but is proactive in enhancing the business of their employers.
Alternative or NewLaw law firms that provide clients with advice from very senior former in-house lawyers (such as Halebury) are operating very successfully in this space left by traditional private practice.
Yet another area where traditional BigLaw private practice needs to change fast?
Very few lawyers presently in law firms have the right traits and skills for the future. There are too many specialists, too many black-letter lawyers, and too many legal technicians. Few of these will be needed in the firm of the future. What will be needed will be men and women who understand the art of listening, questioning, and giving advice in a way that gives clients a sense of safety. These people will understand business and, more importantly, the psychology of running and operating a business.