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How Perfect Can Your Law Firm Be?

Being perfect is a relative term, of course.

"Perfect form" in tennis, for example, may define how a player strokes the ball. In law practice, "perfect writing" may be a brief without blemish.

Some law firms, however, may put form over substance. That's when being perfect is not a good thing.

Perfection in Practice

Mark Herrmann, author of The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law, has been there and done that. He spent 17 years as a partner at a leading international law firm.

He says good law firms focus on perfect briefs. Every detail matters, down to the typos.

Associates may quit under the pressure, although there are always other lawyers looking for work. Herrmann worries, however, that some firms may lose that perfect focus if they prize growth over perfection.

There is always another problem for firm partners, of course. Sometimes being perfect is the problem.

Frustration With Others

Amanda Nevill, a business writer for Forbes, said perfectionism broke up her partnership. She didn't realize it until later when she and her former partners consulted with a business coach.

"It changed my perception of my own perfectionism, which I used to wear as a badge of honor," Nevill wrote.

She said perfectionism used to cause her to feel frustrated with others, but now she checks herself. It's about defining the relative meaning of being perfect, and balancing that with others' expectations.

Nevill offers some ideas, but suggests there is no cure-all. In other words, nobody is perfect.

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