Peer to Peer Magazine

March 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 30 of 103

Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity in Today's Global Environment by Charlotte L. Washington As law firms open international offices and merge with firms that have a global presence, interacting with multinational clients and managing multicultural legal workforces is more and more prevalent. To effectively lead a global workforce, it is increasingly important to not only become more culturally aware, but to also develop cultural sensitivity. Connecting Culture and Relationships Culture encompasses the attitudes, actions, traditions, language and behavior shared by members of various groups. While these groups might be delineated in a variety of ways, two of the most common are by organization or geographic locale. As firms move toward a more global presence, failure to be aware of and sensitive to such cultural differences will be a disaster in the making. Cultural awareness is not an innate trait, nor can it be guided by a random acceptance of perceived stereotypical behavior commonly used as a basis for communication or managerial methods. To begin to understand how culture shapes an organization, which will therefore impact not only management of law firms but also client relationships, we must understand that culture is multidimensional. 32 Peer to Peer

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