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Builders and Destroyers

Harrison Barnes
By Jun 24,2022
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Companies necessarily seek to employ positive, forward-minded people. A firm’s success depends on their employees, and they seek people who will enhance them rather than merely contribute to the bottom line. People with positive natures, who contribute to a healthy social environment, prove essential to the growth and success of their employers.

Several years ago, I wrote an article for BCG Attorney Search called “Builders and Destroyers”. In this article, I discussed the two types of people one may encounter inside a law firm: (1) People whose mission it is to build and improve things around them, and (2) People whose mission seems to be to tear down, criticize, and damage the whole.

In reviewing the financial crisis this past week, and in thinking about my own career and life, I come back more and more to this belief and its importance in the business world.

Organizations surrounding themselves with positive employees – and that even make this attitude a requirement – typically have higher success than those who do not. In the law firm merger space, for example, I have noticed that firms that do not merge, and instead raise and maintain their own positive culture, tend to do much better in the long run (and survive), as compared to law firms that do not do the same. The social culture of law firms, and all organizations, tends to be much healthier, and conducive to success when the organization surrounds itself with positive people.

When organizations grow too quickly and unnaturally, they often end up absorbing at least a few negative people. The forces inside the organization that would have traditionally kept these people out cease to function as they should. On Wall Street, with the advent of mortgages being sold in bulk, a similar lack of accountability has entered the system. The contact bankers used to have with borrowers, and the subsequent understanding of their particular family and work history, is gone. Also, it seems some employers do not care who people are as long as they appear to contribute to the bottom line. People who cannot contribute to the overall system effectively or for a sustained period of time are also allowed in for one reason or another.

It benefits everything, be it a system, organization, or individual, to avoid those who do not contribute positively along the path to success and growth. For example, we have all come across people who continually find fault in the world and in the people around them. We know how draining people like this can be. When organizations bring in these types of individuals, it affects the whole. Staff can become unmotivated and unsure of themselves and their organization. Personally, when I spend time with negative people I tend to get a little depressed. I also notice avoiding them makes me feel better.

While my career advice may be an overly simplistic solution, I do believe that many problems can be solved by having more personal accountability, and by surrounding ourselves with positive, forward-thinking people, those who want and are able to work toward a common goal. As simple as it may seem, I have experienced how big a difference this can make.


Companies necessarily seek to employ positive, forward-minded people. A firm’s success depends on their employees, and they seek people who will enhance them rather than merely contribute to the bottom line. People with positive natures, who contribute to a healthy social environment, prove essential to the growth and success of their employers.

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About Harrison Barnes

Harrison Barnes is the Founder of BCG Attorney Search and a successful legal recruiter himself. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. His firm BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys. BCG Attorney Search works with attorneys to dramatically improve their careers by leaving no stone unturned in a search and bringing out the very best in them. Harrison has placed the leaders of the nation’s top law firms, and countless associates who have gone on to lead the nation’s top law firms. There are very few firms Harrison has not made placements with. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placements attract millions of reads each year. He coaches and consults with law firms about how to dramatically improve their recruiting and retention efforts. His company LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About BCG Attorney Search

BCG Attorney Search matches attorneys and law firms with unparalleled expertise and drive that gets results. Known globally for its success in locating and placing attorneys in law firms of all sizes, BCG Attorney Search has placed thousands of attorneys in law firms in thousands of different law firms around the country. Unlike other legal placement firms, BCG Attorney Search brings massive resources of over 150 employees to its placement efforts locating positions and opportunities that its competitors simply cannot. Every legal recruiter at BCG Attorney Search is a former successful attorney who attended a top law school, worked in top law firms and brought massive drive and commitment to their work. BCG Attorney Search legal recruiters take your legal career seriously and understand attorneys. For more information, please visit www.BCGSearch.com.

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One Response to “ Builders and Destroyers”
  1. Avatar Geraldine Waugh says:

    Dear Harrison
    I am a Scot living in Scotland but keeping track of your website. You make many interesting observations on business and the legal profession. It seems to me that too many lawyers lack integrity: many have character traits and ways of behaving/thinking that tend to maintain the status quo when acting with integrity demands change: traits such as arrogance, monomania, dogmatism and greed can and do defeat integrity because they suppress and undermine attempts to critically assess changing goals and external factors. Personal accountability can be undermined by the corporate culture. This means choosing the firm carefully as the common goal might be get-rich-quick and to hell with the damage this might cause socially and personally. Best wishes
    Geraldine (M.A, LL.B, LL.M)

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