Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In addition to skills, you'll need a good visage to run a profitable law practice.

That's the implication of this study reported in the online ABA Journal Blog that analyzed the facial features of managing partners at the AmLaw 100 firms.  According to the study, managing partners with "powerful" faces were able to leverage their "good looks" into greater profits per partner while having a "warm" face, plus $1.50, will get you a cup of coffee. 

Here's an excerpt:

'Appearance matters a great deal when it comes to judging people,' the press release says. According to previous studies, 'Senate candidates whose faces were judged more competent than their opponents won three-quarters of their races, and the more powerful the faces of CEOs of Fortune 1,000 companies looked, the more profits that their companies earned.'

The data in the latest study could suggest that society expects people who look a certain way to be good leaders, according to one of the researchers, assistant psychology professor Nicholas Rule of the University of Toronto. Perhaps people who look powerful are given more opportunities to develop their leadership abilities, Rule tells the ABA Journal.


Interestingly, the "power" face used to illustrate the article is Ropes & Gray managing partner John Montgomery who is someone I used to work for when I was in private practice.  It never occurred to me to think of him as having a "power" face but he was certainly a very nice man who treated colleagues, including young associates, with respect.  My hunch is that that has been a key factor in his ascension to power within the firm as well as his financial success.  But whether his face has caused an increase in partner profits across the board is an intriguing theory indeed.

You can read the rest of the ABA Journal article here.



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