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« Report Finds Married Parents' Combined Work Hours on the Rise | Main | Jim Carrey in Liar Liar Poses the Question: Can Lawyers Practice Law Without Lying? »

Work Life Winner: Blank Rome Attorneys Use Fun and Games to Sharpen Lawyering Skills

Blank Rome is an 11-office, 450-lawyer firm that has adopted a most unusual mission statement: "Fun and Games Can be Serious Business in a Law Firm." This mission is expressed in two innovative professional development programs launched at the firm: Connections, a formal mentoring program; and Blank Rome University, a business-oriented educational curriculum.

With the Connections program, associates and partners interact and learn by playing a board game called Anatomy of a Matter. Players meet potential clients, snag business, work on matters, calculate profits and see how their efforts affect the firm’s growth. Attorneys reportedly feel awkward at first, but inhibitions quickly break down.

The Blank Rome University program has replaced book learning with bar learning -- candy bars, that is. Lawyers get technology advice with Tip-Bits, candy bars that have computer tips printed on the wrappers.

The program won an Innovaction Award in 2004 from the College of Law Practice Management (you can read more about Blank Rome's programs at page 54 of the inaugural issue of the Innovaction e-zine (PDF, 2.3 MB).

For its innovative training and mentoring programs, which have improved recruitment and retention during the past 2 years, we nominate Blank Rome as a JD Bliss Work Life Winner.

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Fun and games is an excellent way to teach anything -- especially business development. I use this technique to get lawyer to market themselves: take something they already enjoy doing and mixing marketing into it.

Larry Bodine

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