Thursday, December 17, 2009
Another Lawyer Gets the Nod
Lawyers often have a very difficult time transitioning from being the lawyer to being the chief executive in an organization. I think it stems in part from the discomfort they have in moving from being the adviser to being the decision maker. It may also be due to the fact that most people think of lawyers in a very narrow way. This is perhaps one reason why a string of very qualified Attorneys General in our state have not been able to become Governor. But good lawyers, who can view their role in a broader way, and who have vision, can make great leaders. Their analytical training, their ability to understand complexity and make it simple, and their understanding of the value of good and fair process, are wonderful qualities in a leader. And I am delighted to see that there seems to be a growing number who are able to make the transition - and to do so successfully. Jim Roosevelt, the CEO of Tufts Health Plan (and former General Counsel) did it in health care. Deval Patrick, our Governor and former lawyer in a number of key roles, did it in government. And we learn today that Brian Moynihan, the General Counsel of Bank of America just five years ago, with no particular background in banking, will now become the CEO of the nation's largest bank. I don't know much about Brian's background, but given my firm belief in the value my profession has to offer beyond just the law, I will be rooting for him to succeed.