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Referring to lawyers as “resources” rather than acknowledging and investing in them as talented human beings is the scourge of commercial law firms, writes an anonymous senior associate from a top-tier firm.

It continues to astound me that leaders in private practice proclaim to be innovative in their approach to business when they remain so archaically entrenched in the way they view, manage and refer to the people who comprise the value of the business they are operating. It is a disgrace.

Legal business leaders are as quick as greyhounds to adopt the latest buzz words and demand that their organisations become “agile”, “disruptive” and “creative”. But in their zeal to chase after fashionable notions, they remain blind to the commercial folly of viewing skilled lawyers as “resources” rather than people. Referring to people as though they are oxen, ready to be interchangeably yoked and put to work in a field, rather than treating colleagues as skilled human beings is sadly commonplace in commercial practice.

From a purely business perspective, using this language disassociates managers from thinking about the real business, which is to expand on the strengths, skills and capabilities of an organisation by investing in the development of team members.

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