The joint survey by the Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts and the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership found that unequal power in all sizes of law firms generates inappropriate behavior. That ranges from sexual harassment to bullying.
The victims are those with no or little power. The consequences include reduced employee engagement, higher attrition, tarnished brands, and the threat of litigation. Here are more details from Laureen Stiller Rikleen in Law.com.
Because of lousy experiences, I no longer directly render services to law firms or lawyers. Of course, just as with the law firm employees, I never made the bad behavior public or reported it. Indirectly, I do work for them when the middleman is a public relations agency or think tank. That provides a buffer.
Maybe the legal sector can learn from academia.
Years ago, the unequal power in higher education also generated inappropriate behavior, ranging from sexual abuse to turning students into unpaid work slaves on behalf of professors. There is less of that since students feel more empowered. There are channels now for reporting bad behavior, along with policies such as banning romance between professors and students. Of course, given the high stakes involved in studying at a university, many students continue to feel relatively powerless.
Actually, empowerment is a mindset.
In coaching those over-50, I find that ageism has eaten into their souls. Once confident professionals, after missing out on a promotion, being demoted, or losing a job, they can be overwhelmed with a sense of being powerless. Here is my ebook, free to download, on those monsters of the mind.
Can those who lose their center recover? Yes. Usually that entails creating a new playbook about how to get, hold, and increase their own power. For instance, they learn that power of position is just one form of power. A useful read on all that is an old guide by Hedrick Smith. That's "The Power Game." Here it can be ordered from Amazon.
It had been through the reach of my three syndicated blogs that I had the power to get a financial institution to settle with me and a deadbeat client to pay up. My thinking and talking like a lawyer had had no effect.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.