Courses and Training

You can enroll in Herb Rubenstein’s one-hour leadership for lawyers course. Click here.

We provide leadership training courses. We can customize these courses for:

  • Law firms
  • Judges
  • In-home counsel staff
  • Offices of attorneys general
  • Public defender offices
  • Legal aid offices
  • Everywhere lawyers work

Our leadership courses have been offered in the following formats:

  • Two and one-half day format to lawyers working in the federal government through the Western Management Development Center of the Office of Personnel Management.
  • One day, eight hour format, by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy to the City Attorney's Office of Denver.
  • One-half day format through the Colorado Bar Association.
  • Two hour format through the Association for Legal Administrators.
  • One hour format for the Association of Corporate Counsel, Denver Chapter.
Customized courses based on the responses to the pre-course questionnaire can be developed for:
  • Law Firms in retreat settings, annual meeting settings or over a period of time in the normal course of business
  • General Counsel's Offices
  • Attorneys General Offices
  • Nonprofit Organizations with Legal Counsel
  • In-House or Corporate Counsel Offices
  • As Pre-Conference Workshops at State Bar Associations
  • Public Defender Offices
  • Advocacy Groups Legal Offices
  • For Legal Associations

Learning Objectives: Leadership for Lawyers Course


Herb Rubenstein, Esquire

January 17, 2011

Montgomery, Alabama for the Alabama State Bar Association

Organization of our time: Discussion and lecture. Questions are welcomed at any time. Disagreements are welcome at any time. This is more a course about strategies rather than tactics. We will break into groups with each group dealing with a separate hypothetical and reporting back.

Our goals: Everyone in the course will:

  1. Take on greater leadership challenges
  2. Delegate more and more wisely
  3. Manage more effectively
  4. Assess strengths you have as leaders and build on them
  5. Assess weaknesses you have as leaders and improve noticeably to yourself and others
  6. Help others become better leaders and view themselves as leaders
  7. Help our profession, our firms, our legal organizations be led more effectively
  8. Become better, more effective communicators
  9. Know that becoming a better leader is a lifetime pursuit and it won’t come overnight
  10. Be a better listener. Become better at anticipating opposition, what others will say. Be better prepared to defend your decisions and actions as a leader and modify your decisions/actions when a valuable suggestion comes your way.


A Continuing Legal Education Course


Member DC, MD and VA Bars

Based on his book:


American Bar Association, 2008

One Hour – Video

Content of the Course

  1. Overview of How Leadership Development Can Benefit Lawyers, Law Firms and all Types of Legal Organizations
  2. Leadership Theory and Practice – The State of the Art
  3. Improving Your Leadership Skill – Six Ways –
    1. Assess Yourself As A Leader and the Leaders Around You so You can Identify the Barriers to Your Becoming A Better Leader
    2. Identify When You Are Willing to Be a Leader and When You Are Not So You Can Understand the Situations Where You Will Likely Be A Successful Leader
    3. Analyze Why You Are Successful As A Leader and Why You are Not for Your Past Efforts at Being A Leader
    4. Create Your Own Definition of Leadership
    5. Take On Leadership Roles, Smaller at First, and then With Growing Responsibility in Your Legal Organization, Community, State, Profession
    6. Focus on Improving How You Delegate and Produce Results Through the Joint Efforts of You and Others
    7. Create Goals, Large and Small, for Yourself and Organizations Where You Lead and Hold Yourself and Others Accountable
  4. Why Study Leadership – What Can It Do For Lawyers and the Profession
    1. For the profession improving the leadership skills of lawyers can positively help address the following problems and challenges we have in the profession:
      1. High rates of dissatisfaction
      2. Poor reputation
      3. High departure rates
      4. Growing economic pressures
      5. High level of client dissatisfaction
      6. Outdated governance practices in firms
      7. Glass ceiling for women
      8. Greater number of ethical complaints
      9. Questionable means to obtain clients
      10. Increasing civility among lawyers
      11. Increasing delays in litigation
    2. Benefits for the individual lawyer of becoming a better leader include:
      1. More effective client service
      2. Greater ability to produce results
      3. Greater alignment among teams
      4. Greater output of those you lead
      5. Less resistance to new ideas
      6. Less struggle and effort
      7. Greater satisfaction
      8. Greater willingness to take on larger challenges
      9. Better ability to mentor others
      10. Better communication (oral and written) skills
      11. Better listening skills
      12. Better reputation
      13. Improved client satisfaction
    3. Benefits for the Firm or Legal Counsel’s Office or Government Agency of Improving Leadership Development for their Lawyers:
      1. Improved client service
      2. Better management practices and policies
      3. Improved internal communication
      4. Improved resource allocation
      5. Greater ability to generate and handle more business/activity
      6. Greater alignment among teams and reduction of “silos”
      7. Improved ability to delegate and manage others
      8. Improved productivity of staff
      9. Better employee retention
      10. Improved short, medium and long term strategic planning
      11. Greater productivity
      12. Greater ability to manage and institute change
      13. Improved willingness to deploy innovation to improve service
      14. Help improve overall quality of the organization
      15. Improve the reputation of the law firm/organization
      16. Improved succession planning
      17. Improved governance of the organization
      18. Improved mentoring potential of people within the organization
  5. Specific Areas Where Leaders Excel

Leadership Checklist 1: People Management

An Excellent Leader:

1.1 Clearly communicates expectations
1.2 Recognizes, acknowledges and rewards achievement
1.3 Inspires others and serves as a catalyst for others to perform in ways they would not undertake without the leader’s support and direction
1.4 Puts the right people in the right positions at the right time with the right resources and right job description
1.5 Secures alignment on what is the right direction for the organization
1.6 Persuades/Encourages people in the organization to achieve the desired results for the organization
1.7 Makes sure not to burn out people in the organization, looking out for their well being as well as the well being of the organization
1.8 Identifies weak signals that suggest impending conflict and deals with the sources of conflict effectively
1.9 Holds people accountable
1.10 Encourages the human capital development of every person in the organization and allocates sufficient resources to this endeavor
1.11 Correctly evaluates the actual performance and the potential of each person in the organization
1.12 Encourages people in the organization to stand up for and express their beliefs
1.13 Creates a non-fear based environment where all persons in the organization can speak the truth as he or she sees it without concern for retaliation
1.14 Able to empathize with those he or she leads

Leadership Checklist 2: Strategic Management:

An Excellent Leader:

2.1 Is flexible when necessary to adapt to changing circumstances
2.2 Sets, with input from others including all stakeholders, the long term direction for the organization
2.3 Understands the competitive environment, social trends, competitors, customers and all stakeholders
2.4 Correctly analyzes the risks of all decisions
2.5 Correctly analyzes the returns of all decisions
2.6 Has the ability to focus without losing breadth in his or her ability to see at the outer edges gathering worthwhile information that others miss or fail to see as significant
2.7 Understands the strengths and weaknesses of the organization; how to exploit the strengths and address the weaknesses successfully
2.8 Can develop and implement strategies to improve the strengths and to combat the weaknesses of the organization
2.9 Can identify appropriate partners, strategic alliances and outside resources to tap into to help further the organization’s goals
2.10 Can articulate the values of the organization and develop strategies consistent with the core values
2.11 Demonstrates a strong commitment to diversity and change, improvement
2.12 Demonstrates a strong commitment to creating and sustaining a learning organization (Learning is the foundation for all sustainable change).

Leadership Checklist 3: Personal Characteristics of Leaders

An Excellent Leader:

3.1 Lives with honesty and integrity
3.2 Selects people for his or her team who are honest and have high integrity
3.3 Will, passion and desire to succeed
3.4 Willingness to shoulder the responsibility for success (without being a “thunder taker”) and failure (without casting blame)
3.5 Innovative and open to new ideas
3.6 Not willing to accept the ways things are since they can always be improved; never satisfied completely with the status quo
3.7 Smart, intelligent, emotionally strong
3.8 Confident without being arrogant
3.9 Able negotiator
3.10 Willing to be patient
3.11 Decisive when necessary
3.12 Able to think analytically
3.13 Quick learner
3.14 Respectful to all
3.15 Perceptive and sensitive to the needs of others
3.16 Diligent, disciplined and has strong perseverance capabilities
3.17 Comfortable with ambiguity
3.18 Willing to be original
3.19 Informed risk taker

Leadership Checklist 4: Process Management:

An Excellent Leader Is:

4.1 Able to manage change
4.2 Willing to promote innovation
4.3 Able to secure resources
4.4 Able to allocate resources
4.5 Great problem solver
4.6 Able to anticipate crises
4.7 Able to handle crisis when it explodes
4.8 Can create and manage budgets
4.9 Can create and manage timelines, work plans
4.10 Great project management skills
4.11 Can translate long term vision into step by step plan
4.12 Able to measure results
4.13 Knows when a process is not working
4.14 Willing to redesign processes as often as necessary


  1. The legal profession is behind other professions in using leadership development as a key part of professional development.
  2. Lawyers are leaders and improving this skill will help lawyers and their organizations become more effective
  3. The legal profession is becoming more competitive, lawyers have more time pressures, and clients are better able to do legal research on the web. Therefore, more and more of a lawyer’s role is in this internet and client savvy era is to be a solid, well grounded leader who uses his or her time effectively and is able to deliver legal services in an efficient and effective manner, working either solo or in conjunction with a team of other lawyers and personnel.
  4. Becoming a better leader is a path to becoming a better lawyer.
  5. Many books are out there, including my own published by the American Bar Association to assist you in becoming a better leader.

A specialized course has been developed for Managing Partners:
Managing Partner Workshop - Leadership for Lawyers    
Description:  Based on his book, Leadership for Lawyers, (American Bar Association, 2nd Edition, 2008) Herb Rubenstein discusses the principles of leadership in the context of law firms and how to lead your firm to the next level of customer service and employee satisfaction. By the end of this workshop participants should be able to:

  • Discuss the various types of leaders
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of leadership styles
  • Assess one's own leadership style with an eye toward integrating new strategies for leading the firm to optimal outcomes
CPE: 105 minutes     Field of Study:  Personal Development

Actual results from courses as written by participants: 

Hold “Motivation Meetings” with Managers
80/20 rule limit info/change to 20% Be more sensitive to other communication styles I am going to take advantage of coaching moments
- I’m going to read materials on moving from peer to supervisor
I want to improve by client service skills, but cultivating better relationships with them  
Take more of a leader of leaders approach
Have lunch every day! Take the time to help others and avoid getting caught up in my own world Set aside personal emotion/ frustration when coaching and focus on coachee To Do:
Find more ways to get candid feedback from subordinates (like the 360) on a regular basis
I aim to become more familiar with ethics authorities I am going to try to stress my term service to the taxpayers Do a better job of listening Open public speaking with relatable story - Address/look  
   into ethics
- Coaching
- Make use of the
Write an article a week
750 words
1) Interesting – Different communication skills; adjust delivery
2) Action to take – Deep breaths! Reduce frustration with clients
3) Do More of - Keep track of accomplishments and leadership for future use
I am going to look at an issue from the viewpoint of the requester/ client in an effort to better communicate my legal opinion to them Check in with my subordinates more often Practice different communication styles based on different personality types Learned – How I acknowledge praise,
acknowledgement is really tied to how I communicate, but can send the wrong message
Goal –
Appreciate more the communication aspects others are/maybe coming from
Motivate subordinates toward more concrete goals Think about other people’s communication styles Increase my tolerance for pain/discomfort Take more initiatives to understand/ discover people’s problems/ concerns Be more intuitive and have empathy for others Do before asking anyone to do the same thing
Get more involved with special projects and tasks Goal: Watch what I say When coaching, try to better tailor advice to personality of coachee Action to be taken:
Take more bold risks within my area of responsibility
New Goal:
- Do more “soul searching”
- Do more mentoring
- Seek out mentors
Action: Building rapport
Learn: Importance of honesty/ integrity
Communicate with others about the communication differences Pursue leadership opportunities Try to build better teams in office Learned: The whole concept of “modeling” Put into practice the communication wheel