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Something new in the morning mail. Nestled among the usual Lexis and Westlaw promotions, there was a little newsletter called “The Motivational Manager.” This, I assumed, was one of those random bits of junk mail (like “Learn Inventory Control Today!”) meant for people in the world of business, not law. But just as I was about to throw the thing out, I realized that it might contain valuable information. After all, law is a business and as a senior associate, I do have to manage people: secretaries, paralegals, junior associates, even. Perhaps, somehow, I could be an inspiration to my colleagues. The newsletter seems to be full of good ideas: get personal mission statements, involve people in decision making, set high goals, attack the problem, and — very important — give praise. “Paula,” I said to my secretary, “today, we’re going to start with a personal mission statement.” “A what?” she said. Her look was not encouraging. I forged ahead. “A statement of your professional goals. What do you want to accomplish at the end of the day?” “At the end of the day? I want to go home.” It must have been around that point that I decided it was more urgent to discuss the laser printer that had been on the blink lately. Could we get that printer fixed, please? “I’ll take care of it,” said Paula. “That’s the spirit!” I said (praise, see?). A powerful tool, this Motivational Manager. MARCH 20 Today, another motivational lesson: involve others in making decisions. I am in the middle of a large document production for one of our clients. A document production, of course, involves lots of decisions, and none of them are small. And that’s as it should be; documents are at the heart of just about every case. A paralegal was sitting in my office. “We need to choose a letter prefix for the Bates numbers,” she said. “What letters do you want to use?” “What do you think the prefix should be?” I said, turning an otherwise ordinary conversation into a motivational “brainstorming session.” “Whatever you want,” she said. Amazing — this was exactly how I always imagined brainstorming would be. Now the ideas were really flowing. Still, one doesn’t go around choosing Bates-number prefixes willy-nilly. This was a chance to show the paralegal the kind of careful reasoning that leads to a winning Bates number. “A good prefix might be — ,” I said, naming a prefix that seemed to me to be economical and yet also resonated a certain sense of our view of the merits of the case. The paralegal nodded in assent and went back to her office. A great example of joint decision making! Memo to self: printer still acting up. Must talk to Paula. MARCH 21 Exciting news: the judge on one of my cases has scheduled oral argument on our motion. The partner in charge has asked me to coordinate getting a preparation binder together for the argument. Now, a good binder (like a Bates number, come to think of it) is really an art unto itself. Anything with three rings — binders and circuses — should be both entertaining and instructive. I carefully explained the binder assignment to a junior associate. “No problem,” he said brightly. “I’ll put together the binder.” I asked myself: what would the Motivational Manager do? The answer came to me at once: Challenge the employee to exceed his limits. “Not just any binder,” I said. “Let’s make this one — from the organization to the presentation — really the last word on binders.” “Okay,” he said, his eyes darting back and forth as though searching for a hidden camera. “So what you’re saying is, you want a binder. Right?” Just then the paralegal called. “The Bates stamping is finished,” she said. “Great.” “Just one thing. I changed the letter prefix … . ” Apparently, she thought that the prefix should just be the initials of our client. What happened to our brainstorming session? And on top of all that, the printer is still broken. MARCH 22 The ultimate lesson of the Motivational Manager is to motivate by example. This morning, before Paula arrived, I tried to fix the printer myself, replacing the toner, fiddling with the control buttons, opening and closing all the side panels. You get the idea. A little bit later, after Paula arrived, one of my colleagues tried to use the printer. Her document came out in (I am not kidding) Arabic script. I explained to Paula (but not to my colleague with the Arabic document) that I might possibly have done something to aggravate the printer problem. “I told you I would take care of it,” said Paula, pointing to the new printer she’d had installed on her desk. “Oh … well, good work!” I said. “What have we learned from this experience?” I said, launching into another brainstorming session. “Sometimes,” she said, “it pays to listen to your secretary.” Adam Freedman is a senior associate at Schulte Roth & Zabel.

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