Cal. Litig. 2016, Volume 29, Number 2

Managing Your Litigation Team for the Ultimate Benefit of the Client

By Allen L. Lanstra

This year I’ve been counseling a college student who wants to be a lawyer. She asks a lot of questions and, to her credit, many follow-up questions. The discourse has caused me to reevaluate the advice that I give to younger attorneys. I realized that some of my oft-shared guidance has been capsulized over time into clever sayings that, although efficient, may fail to pack a full punch. So I set out to reexamine the underlying foundations of my common menu of advice.

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What I quickly realized was that the most enjoyable aspect about my law practice is also an invisible component of success in complex and demanding litigation — but is not a focus of law school curricula. It’s management, and specifically, the need and ability to manage a litigation team. With these reflections, I began to unpack what it means to successfully manage complex litigation. For several months I’ve focused some of my professional reading and committed self-improvement efforts on this topic. The best leaders are attentive to improving their craft, so I began digging deeper into one particular key to both my professional success and satisfaction. I had learned much about management at business school, but had not focused on it much since law school. It was time to revisit.

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