Friday, January 1, 2016

5 Leadership Lessons Small Law Firms Can Learn from Atticus Finch

5 Leadership Lessons Small Law Firms Can Learn from Atticus Finch

It is quite difficult to think of a fictional character that bares more gentleness, and courage in

standing up for what is truly right than Atticus Finch. He is “leadership” itself, so to say, since he

embodies all the necessary traits. Perhaps this is the reason every small law firm can look up to

his teachings and learn from them.

• Be the Example to Give an Example

From whom to learn this if not from the best father figure in fictional literature, who was the

good example his kids needed? Being a leader must be understood as a great honor, and you

have to work hard to not fail those looking up to you.

As he taught his children to love reading by reading every night himself, this is how you should

proceed in setting an example for your employees. You must set integrity as a priority in your

work environment, and all the pieces will fall in their place. All the little examples he gave

throughout this life made him the perfect role model.

 You Have To Get Even the Dirty Job Done

It shouldn’t be news that a good leader mustn’t be afraid of getting even the worst of jobs done.

There is truly no better way to motivate others. For example, the case of Tom Robinson that

Finch took – there was nothing else that would subject someone to ridicule and derision like

defending an African-American in the 1930’s American South.

But good and fair representation was given to him since he had the luck of having a lawyer who

had a fair view of the world. It is no mystery that doing the dirty job gets you the respect. And a

leader that is respected will listen by those who work for him.

 Be Empathetic

If being an effective leader is what you wish to achieve, then the first step is to put your

neighbors first and try to step in their shoes for once.

Atticus was a strong believer in the idea that you can never understand a person until you

consider things from their point of view. The heartwarming examples of empathy shown by

Atticus throughout the book serve to a vivid and better understanding of how exactly you should

mold your internal structure to become a good leader.

He took the defense of a man who was about to be hanged and tried to see the good in him.

 Integrity

Perhaps one of the most important lessons that he taught the world was that like him, a person

should be “the same in his house as he was on the public streets.”

Atticus was honest. People trust him always to do the right thing, to always take the right

decision and to tell them the truth. Atticus faced numerous difficult situations, including

defending a man who he knows will be found guilty. But he did all drove by integrity and


Although it might be difficult for a Seattle criminal lawyer, it is imperative to have integrity

since losing it from a leadership position means that others can’t be held to too high standards –

the power of example, again. Whenever you are dealing with a difficult case, it is important to

handle your clients and their needs with honesty. A certain level of transparency is required, and

losing the integrity equals to losing the authority.

 Moral Courage

Doing what’s right even when it’s difficult – that’s the catch. Perseverance always pays off and

leaves failure behind. Atticus Finch shows you how intellectual courage is even more important

than the physical one. When he is defeated in court, he doesn’t give up but continues to fight for

the things he believes in.

Any lawyer has to face a difficult case at some point or another. Don’t throw the towel just

because doing the right thing is too hard. When these moments come, simply adjust your

strategy. Try to look at your case from another perspective and figure out what needs to be done.

But, most importantly, have the courage to be a little brave than you might normally be.

Atticus Finch is probably one of the most beloved characters in literature. He may not be real,

but his teachings are, and lawyers can learn a thing or two from him about leadership.

What other important lessons do you think lawyers can learn from Atticus Finch? Share your

thoughts in the comment section below.

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