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November/December 2020


Leading During Turbulent Times

Traci Ray

Our leadership issue is one of my favorites. Law Practice offers so many fantastic articles by eloquent authors, and this issue is specifically dedicated to a topic that affects us all daily. Leadership is a lifelong skill, in both our personal and professional lives, and exceptional leaders can make a big impact on our success and happiness.

I remember my best coaches and teachers growing up, and, looking back, their leadership skills were a main factor that most certainly set them apart. They wanted the team or class, not only themselves, to enjoy growth and reach goals. They were able to lead through the wins and losses, the good grades and bad. They were always rooting for us to excel and were there to help us when we inevitably faltered. They capitalized on teaching moments, stayed positive and kept us focused. They enjoyed what they did, and it showed.

In this issue, law firm leadership grabs the spotlight. While strong leadership at any company or firm is key, leadership during these unprecedented times is paramount. Solid decision making, foresight, emotional intelligence, inviting input, communication, relationships, economics—these are just a few of the very necessary components of great leaders during all times, and certainly during turbulent times. Trust and credibility have never been more important, specifically when we are not physically together and when really tough decisions need to be made. Turns out the true test of a team comes with crisis. Have we done the work and laid the foundation and built the relationships when the times were “good” to be in a solid place to weather the many storms that have and will come our way?

Rising to the occasion, for each person at their respective helm, whether at home or the office, is a true testament to leadership skills and values. Bringing people together, plotting a course, staying flexible, being ready for the unique twists and turns, planning instead of reacting and implementing change are all necessary of our leaders. Learning and adapting, every day we forge forward.

And as we push ahead, we get to new forks in the road. Do we have the team in place, the compass to traverse new obstacles and challenges? Are we motivated to continue finding solutions, or are we tired of the persistent bumps along the way? If we aren’t feeling the leadership vibes, do we have respite in others? Do we have a plan to refocus and reinvigorate our teams and ourselves?

As the following pages unveil, there are many leadership skills to consider, acquire and re-engage. The Law Practice Division focuses on leadership daily in our publications, webinars, and internally with our committees, boards and staff. We hope you enjoy this issue of the magazine and that you find the articles helpful and meaningful in these challenging times. We also invite you to check out our webzine, Law Practice Today, and the many streaming resources on the ABA website, which are valuable resources for us all as we continue to lead during turbulent times.

Traci Ray

Executive Director

Traci Ray is the executive director at Barran Liebman LLP, Portland’s employment, labor and benefits law firm. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar and serves as the 2020-21 chair of the Law Practice Division. [email protected]

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