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LawCrossing Feature

Eight Causes of Workplace Conflict in a Law Firm Part-1 Workplaces have workplace conflict. Their presence is not abnormal, but failing to recognize signs of conflict, failing to identify the causes of conflict and failing to remedy them properly can have devastating effects on your work and career. It is easy to hold that you can focus on your work and turn the presence of the world on and off at will, but it really does not work so easily without training and practice.

Creating Toffler’s zones to create pockets of emotional

Conflicts in objectives or goals

stability can help to focus. However, identifying and

Conflicts of work pressure

getting rid of workplace conflicts is one of the greatest

Conflicts arising from work roles

services that you can do to yourself and to others who

Conflicts arising from differences in personal val-

depend upon you. Every attorney working in a law firm or solo has to practice workplace conflict resolution,

ues (culture conditioning) •

because every attorney has to play the role of a

Conflicts arising from lack of predictability in workplace policies

manager within the confines of their workspaces. That’s because they are expected to take care of their own

Conflicts over resources:

affairs and effectively manage them as independent professionals.

Every working person requires access to workplace

The Eight Causes of Conflict Proposed by Bell and

other workers, lawyers, associates of legal staff.


This has to do with our abilities to do our jobs well.

resources be it a copier or a phone or the skills of

Shared resources without metered and dedicated or Law firms are large workplaces filled with emotionally

personalized access can lead to conflicts in the absence

stressed people used to critical thinking. Workplace

of proper load balancing mechanisms or absence of

conflicts and subtle undercurrents of tensions are all

personnel who can effectively juggle the conflicting

too common. To chart one’s career successfully, besides

workloads. When war ensues over the sharing of

work, workplace management calls for enhancing the

a copier or the time of an associate or staff, the

productive environment by identifying and removing

reasonable way is not to stand one’s ground but to

possible causes of conflict. Bell an Hart’s propositions

negotiate empathetically and resolve the conflict.

on identifying reasons of workplace conflicts have withstood the test of time and research and considered

Conflicts over styles of work:

to be one of the best tools in the arsenal of those who want to be in control of their workplace surroundings.

Individuals vary greatly in their personal styles of work, habits and needs. Conflicting personalities manifest

Here are the principal causes of workplace conflict

themselves in a conflict of styles that can lead to

according to Bell and Hart.

disaster. Some people believe everything should be scheduled, structured, and evenly spaced. There are

Conflicts over resources

others who revel in crisis-management and wait till

Conflicts in styles

the last moment to act while devoting the rest of the

Conflicts in perceptions

time upon work that to them have higher priorities.


continued on back


LawCrossing Feature

When a senior wants everything evenly spaced and

The two issues treated in this article are very common

a junior believes in last-minute work – it can lead to

in law firms and in the lives of attorneys. We would be

horrible conflicts even though the quality of output

dealing with the other six issues in the next part of this

is ensured. People in superior positions or even in

article and taken together, this pair of articles would

equivalent positions have little things called egos which

help you gain some wonderful insight to your workplace

urge them to ‘have things their own way.’ Try to work


around and avoid stepping on little egos because they are big trouble. Adjust work styles to match workplace realities.


Eight Causes of Workplace Conflict in a Law Firm Part-1