Rampant bullying widely tolerated in American BigLaws

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While bullying is rampant in American BigLaw firms, those in leadership roles are not addressing the issue, a new survey has found.
Consultants David J. Parnell and Patrick J. McKenna found that 93% of respondents to their survey who are from AmLaw 100 firms reported “bullying behavior and lack of respect.”
However, it appears that while the problem is not a secret, little is done to alleviate the situation.
“It is our view that a significant number of firm leaders feel deeply uncomfortable with confronting the inappropriate behavior of their colleagues, thereby delaying or even preventing intervention altogether,” the authors of the Leader’s Pulse Surveys wrote in a piece for Legal Business World.
At 41% of the firms in the survey, there was a reported strong enough discomfort among leadership in challenging detrimental actors which led to a delay in addressing the problem.
What is more, when the authors asked whether the discomfort caused problems to completely be unchallenged, they found that such was the case in 1 in 5 of the firms.
“We then went even a step further and inquired as to whether that ‘discomfort was strong enough to altogether prevent leaders from addressing the problem,’ and had a surprising one out of four firms – 22% – freely admit that that was the case,” the authors noted.
Bullying and lack of respect tied with “poor matter management habits like getting in time, etc.” and “not being a team player with a ‘me-first’ personal agenda” for the top spot among AmLaw 100 respondents.
The study gathered 124 respondents from law firm both in and out of the AmLaw 100.
From all the respondents, the top five problems identified are: “bullying behavior and lack of respect” (by 89% of respondents); “not being a team player with a ‘me-first’ personal agenda” (84%); “poor matter management habits like getting in time, etc.” (80%); “failure to achieve work quality standards” (76%) and “negative attitude infecting others” (69%).

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