Category: Business, Leadership and coaching
Publication date: November 16, 2021
Extent: 240 pages

Leading Lawyers

A practical toolkit to help you adjust your leadership style and deliver great results

Sally Sanderson


“The beauty of the ABCDE model and toolkit is that it is simple but not simplistic, it’s user-friendly and works in practice.”
Joanne Gubbay, Former Head of Learning and Development, Slaughter and May

Lead your team of lawyers to new heights with this tried-and-tested toolkit, based on 25 years’ practical experience of getting the best out of lawyers.

Leading Lawyers distils 25 years of experience at helping people do just that into one easy-to-read practical toolkit. Based on the successful ABCDE methodology, this guide will help you identify your natural leadership style, identify the various needs and personalities in your team of lawyers, and align everything to become a truly impactful and supportive leader.

Packed with real-life inspiring examples, ready-made tools and memorable tips, Leading Lawyers will help you reflect on your own communication preferences, and use what you learn to get different stakeholders and different personalities on board.

From scoping the project with a client to reviewing progress and success, from on-boarding a new team member to tackling a stubborn problem, there are examples each step of the way and opportunities to plan how to use the approach in practice, so you can become an even more effective team leader.

SALLY SANDERSON is a multi-award-winning consultant to law firms. Specialising in leadership, emerging leaders, people and project management, she uses personality profiling to increase self-awareness and speed up development. Her ABCDE approach has been used by thousands of lawyers across the world with outstanding results.


This book delivers what it says it will do on the cover. I was looking for fresh ideas on managing professional people in the hybrid environment and this book ticks all the boxes. The tools are actually very useable and the writing style is conversational and non-technical. There is a refreshing absence of jargon or ‘stating the obvious’ which makes it easy to read – and to extract the elements that work. That’s what I did, in any case. Highly recommend.


Came across this book and a great insight to how lawyers think and work and lead their teams. The ABCDE model and toolkit appears user friendly.


This book is a super easy to read and extremely useful with great practical insights.



The beauty of the ABCDE model and toolkit is that it is simple but not simplistic, it’s user-friendly and works in practice.
Joanne Gubbay, Former Head of Learning and Development, Slaughter and May

More than ever before, law firms need good leaders. However, leadership skills don’t always get the attention they deserve, especially in early years of practice. I’m delighted to see how Sally has provided a simple and effective template to get every lawyer, junior or senior, thinking about the development that would make them a better leader of people. Having seen Sally run many development courses in the past, it is no surprise that the approach outlined in this book is very practical but also draws on theory and many years of observed behaviour in professional services, to make it a valuable tool in real life.
Ben Tidswell, Chairman, Ashurst LLP

I loved this book. It is so helpful to find a leadership book focused on the behaviour, personalities and scenarios found in law firms and with lawyers. The book is both thought provoking and highly practical with many realistic, tried and tested suggestions. It is useful for anyone who wishes to get the best out of others as a leader, coach, mentor or HR/Talent professional working with lawyers. This book is on our recommended reading list for all of our leaders.
Yvonne Garricks, Head of Talent Development, Dentons UK, Ireland and Middle East LLP

Good lawyers must make good leaders; or, so the old lie goes. Leadership, just like law, requires a framework that you can apply to situations, circumstances and individuals. Leading Lawyers is unique in that it provides both a complete toolkit and framework you can apply to your leadership, team and clients’ position; and also a reference that you can dip into quickly for specific and effective advice and help on how to deal with a particular situation, client or team member based on how you and they work together. Lawyers should have this on their desk next to their favourite text book / internet legal search link.
William James, Partner, Addleshaw Goddard LLP

Amongst many books on leadership, this is a highly practical guide on how to work effectively with the different personalities. Sally elegantly extracts and combines the essence of various behavioural psychometric tools and gives you a simple 5 step process for leading others, managing up and down, giving feedback and managing projects. Without enormous effort, this can become part of your day routine, and will help you form better relationships and deliver with the least friction.
Neil May, Chief Operations Officer, Thackray Williams LLP

Sally generously shares in her book a range of practical tools to support lawyers in their efforts to become effective leaders. Her unique insight into the leadership challenges faced by those in the legal world are derived from years of experience supporting and coaching legal practitioners in all stages of their career. Any lawyer who aspires to become a truly effective and inspiring leader should keep a copy of Sally’s toolkit on their desk as a key resource when facing daily leadership challenges.
Veronique Faucher, General Counsel and Global Head of Legal, REDEVCO

I really enjoyed this book. It was obvious to me that Sally has worked with lawyers and understands the pressures and conflicting priorities that we face. The book provides sound practical advice for team and task management. Identifying your own style and that of the members of your team is an enlightening and extremely useful process allowing you to get the best out of yourself and others. I now use the ABCDE approach to plan my meetings.
Simon Knott, Partner, Pennington Manches Cooper LLP

I have already followed the ABCDE toolkit this morning during my discussion with my Partner and it worked!
Senior Associate, Magic Circle Firm

Self-awareness is essential for effective leaders and ‘Leading Lawyers’ provides excellent guidance on achieving that state.
Tony King, Lexington Consultants

It is a painful truth for lawyers to discover, later on in their careers, that learning to lead other lawyers is every bit as demanding as learning the Law. This book saves time for busy lawyers by crystallising the key points in a framework that’s easy to use and re-use and helping to rehearse the tricky conversations that all good leaders need to hold.
Roger Wyn Jones, Associate Fellow, Said Business School, Oxford University

Much has been written about leadership in law firms, but few have been able to nail it down to the essentials and describe it in practical and pragmatic terms. Sally Sanderson of Profex Consulting has been coaching and training lawyers for more than 20 years throughout Europe. I had the pleasure of working with her while at Clifford Chance. In her new book and based on several – very recognizable – case studies she provides a practical toolkit for leading lawyers. Her ABCDE-model is achievable, beneficial, and very clear. A compelling and great book with practical insights, tips, and tools. An excellent guide for law firm leaders and those in leadership positions!
Gerard Tanja, Partner, Venturis Consulting Group

Sally adeptly links her experience in the legal profession with her knowledge of multiple psychometric tools, articulating how leadership development in this field can be enhanced through the self-awareness that psychometrics provide. I enjoyed how practical and accessible the recommendations were, helping to show how easy it can be to link theory to practice in the real world.
Jayson Darby, Head of Science, Thomas International


Part 1

Provides an overview of the ABCDE model which helps leaders to get better results from their teams. Then each section of the model is explored in detail, with case study examples, and with opportunities for you to do some planning on how to use it in practice. If you have never considered your own personality preferences, after the overview you might like to use Part 2 before reading the detailed sections in Part 1.

Part 2

This section explores different leadership styles and how they link to the ABCDE model. It should help you to identify your own style preferences. We start by looking at leaders with a very clear style where one personality preference dominates their way of communicating. But most people have more than one preference in their style, so we look at a range of leaders commonly found in law firms who represent a combination of two or three preferences. You may well recognise the style of some of the case study leaders.

Part 3

This section gives you some tips on how to work with and align those with different personalities – whether a team member, a boss or a client. It will help you to adapt your own style when you need to do so to motivate, influence and manage others. It will make you aware of which parts of the ABCDE message different personalities listen out for, which parts motivate them and which parts they might ignore, which could lead to lower levels of performance. This section aims to help you get the best out of your interactions with all those important for your team’s and project’s success.

Part 4

This is the first part of the ABCDE toolkit. It provides a series of ABCDE conversation tools to help you in different situations where you are leading and managing a project team – whether for clients or for internal projects such as for business development or making your firm more competitive. Tools include scoping and planning, briefing the team, delegating part of a project, reviewing progress, reporting to stakeholders and conducting an end of project/matter review.

Part 5

The second part of the ABCDE toolkit focuses on conversation leaders have with individual team members from when they join the team through to delegating, praising, coaching, tackling problems, performance reviews and development planning. Whether a team member is a high flyer, a solid performer or struggling, you can adapt these tools to give them the support they need to deliver their best.


This section gives you some links to personal profiling tools which are compatible with the ABCDE model: DISC, Insights and Social Styles.



Paperback / 9781788602921 / November 16, 2021 / £19.99

Ebook / 9781788602914 / November 15, 2021 / £9.99

Paperback and eBook Bundle / £22.49


Sally Sanderson

Sally Sanderson is a multi-award-winning consultant to law firms. Specialising in leadership, emerging leaders, people and project management, she uses personality profiling to increase self-awareness and speed up development. Her clients include global firms and niche practices, and her ABCDE approach has been tested on thousands of lawyers across the world with outstanding results.