Law firms are places with a lot of tension contained in every office for the most part of the day. There are negotiations, calls, demanding timings, court preparation, etc. all happening at the same time.
This tension, this stress, is expected from everyone, but I am sure that once you are there, once you start feeling it, plenty of first years associates will feel intimidated and it is a totally understandable feeling. But they shouldn't.
First (as always, a blog entry reference), this article from AssociatesMind.
They mention this quote attributed to a CEO of a big company:
‘Gentlemen, I take it we are all in complete agreement on the decision here.’ Everyone around the table nodded in assent. ‘Then I propose we postpone further discussion of this matter until our next meeting to give ourselves time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what the decision is all about.’
I think the article describes very accurately the added value of dissent and discussion. "Encourage Conflict -To Sharpen Is To Destroy". It is only through different point of views that we can find weaknesses in our positions and prepare for the fight.
Like the article mentions: "Conflict is the canvas upon which a lawyer works", and I think it is true. You can always know whenever a lawyer is in the room because they can argue everything. It's our nature. It's in our blood. It's what we do. We are fighters.
So both internally and externally, encourage discussion, encourage dissent.
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