On a Tightrope

In her New York Times piece, The Tightrope of Managing a Law Office, Anita J. Cicero discusses the challenges of being an office managing partner.

Watching management issues unfold each week is like watching TV when someone else controls the remote. One moment you’re watching a documentary, then — click! — it’s a thriller, then a drama, then the evening news. Switching among unfolding story lines, focusing on practical and fair solutions and trying to remember to prepare that agenda for a 4 p.m. teleconference make for stimulating and often exhausting days.

At 43, a relatively young partner at Drinker, Biddle & Reath, Cicero sought out advice and support from friends and nearby law firm managers.

Then I met a female managing partner who inspired me. She is more senior, cool as a cucumber, and a lawyer first and foremost while also a successful manager. I don’t yet have her level of gravitas, but at least I found a role model; that is 50 percent of the battle.

In her position, Cicero started a regional diversity initiative and is currently working on a mentoring program for new associates. She is actively recruiting the first African American partners to her firm.

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