February 24, 2005

Brainiac Deal Lawyers

A recent article on right v. left brain executives had me thinking: what makes a good v. great deal lawyer?

As you know, the people with the slightly larger left brain are the cool, calculative folks. The right-brainers are the creative/emotional ones. According to clinical psychologist, Sandy Gluckman, the characteristics of lefties v. righties are:

If your LEFT brain is dominant, you:

Get to know people through sharing facts

Focus on facts and solutions

Are pragmatic and cautious

Perform tasks in a proven and accepted way

Like to know exactly what is expected of you

Prefer a clear, step-by-step process

Tend to overlook giving recognition to others

Need many facts before arriving at a decision and acting

Believe caring and empathetic people are too soft in business

Solve problems by focusing on the way the task is being implemented

On the other hand, you’re RIGHT brain dominant, if you:

Get to know people through sharing feelings

Focus on feelings and the bigger picture

Are creative and open to taking risks

Look for a new and original way of going things

Like to be constantly surprised and challenged

Prefer to experiment as you go along

Give recognition easily and spontaneously

Are action oriented, quick and spontaneous in arriving at decisions

See analytic and logical people as cold and uncaring

Solve problems by focusing on relationships and teamwork

The competent deal lawyer must do all the left-brain things well. But, after reading the right-brain characteristics, could it be that the lawyer who the CEO, CFO, or CDO wants sitting next to them at the table is really the right-brainer? To be part of the strategic team that cooks up the deal, wouldn’t the execs prefer the out-of-the-box-thinking lawyer? Is this the difference between being the lowly scrivener or “The Dealmaker.”

After a certain level of core (left-brain) competency, my guess is that the real go-to, must-have, and can’t-do-a-big-deal-without lawyers tend to be righties – who, of course, a supported by a team of lefties.

(Actually, the left-brain characteristics sound like what you want in your ideal associate; the right-brain list sounds like a recipe for a high-flying I-Banker. Hmmm, I wonder who carts home the bigger check at closing.)

Anyway, I need an aspirin for this splitting headache I suddenly developed…