In associate evaluations at Blawgletter’s law firm this year, any variation of attention to detail signaled promotion and a nice bonus. Inefficiency implied trouble. Efficient attention to detail thus spelled lawyerly success, at least at Blawgletter’s firm.
How does a business trial lawyer find the right balance between mastery of details and efficiency?
In Blink (2005), which Blawgletter loves, Malcolm Gladwell explains humans’ awesome ability to make accurate snap judgments — the most efficient use of details possible. But Gladwell also emphasizes how often people form wrong first impressions and then don’t question what they want to believe.
Lawyers by training and temperament tend to avoid emotional assessments. The best ones also can judge when they know enough details — neither too little nor too much — to make a sound decision. How to find the sweet spot?
Blawgletter wonders whether attitude towards details makes a difference. It imagines that Mr. Gladwell would agree with master architect Mies van der Rohe, who liked to say that "God is in the details." H. Ross Perot, on the other hand, said "the devil is in the details."
Where do details reside — with God or Satan? Next to the Almighty or Beelzebub? In Heaven or Hell? And does one’s belief regarding location predict one’s efficiency in mastering details?
Please advise. Soon. And keep it short, if you don’t mind.
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