Monday, June 11, 2018

Robert I. Sutton's Good Boss, Bad Boss

How to be the Best  . . .  
and Learn from the Worst

Doha does not have a deep collection of print books for sale.  I was at Doha Festival City twice last week.  After touring the entire mall, I found a book I did not expect to see in Doha.

It's Robert I Sutton's Good Boss, Bad Boss.  The book builds on his research that supported an earlier book called The No Asshole Rule.  I read the earlier book, several years ago, when I served on a law school's hiring committee.  We tried to use the advice in the book.  Overall, we built a small faculty of dedicated teachers.  Sadly, we did hire a few jerks along the way, and frankly, the institution paid for it.

Amazon describes the new book in this way:  
If you are a boss who wants to do great work, what can you do about it? Good Boss, Bad Boss is devoted to answering that question. Stanford Professor Robert Sutton weaves together the best psychological and management research with compelling stories and cases to reveal the mindset and moves of the best (and worst) bosses . . . . As Dr. Sutton digs into the nitty-gritty of what the best (and worst) bosses do, a theme runs throughout Good Boss, Bad Boss - which brings together the diverse lessons and is a hallmark of great bosses: They work doggedly to "stay in tune" with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers too) react to what they say and do. The best bosses are acutely aware that their success depends on having the self-awareness to control their moods and moves, to accurately interpret their impact on others, and to make adjustments on the fly that continuously spark effort, dignity, and pride among their people.
I would add that good bosses aggressively protect their followers from "red tape, meddlesome executives, nosy visitors, unnecessary meetings, and a host of other insults, intrusions, and time wasters."  Good bosses play this "human shield" role so employees can do the work they need to do and meet goals that move the organization forward. 

In chapter 8, Sutton mentioned his Asshole Rating Self-Exam (or ARSE Test).  Some of the questions are very surprising . . .  and disturbing.  I can't imagine someone answering true to most of them!  Psychopaths for sure.  

The scoring system follows:
0 to 5 “True”: You don’t sound like a certified asshole, unless you are fooling yourself. 
5 to 15 “True”: You sound like a borderline certified asshole, perhaps the time has come to start changing your behavior before it gets worse. 
15 or more: You sound like a full-blown certified asshole to me, get help immediately. But, please, don’t come to me for help, as I would rather not meet you.
(I scored 0 on the exam, but I may be fooling myself.  I attribute that score to the 3,500 hours of dispute resolution training I have gotten over the last twenty years.) 

The book is an easy and helpful read.  I also recommend his blog -- Work Matters, which I have added to my blog roll. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Karmic Payback? Saudi Football Fans May Miss Their Team's World Cup Opening Match

One Way the Blockade Effects 
People and not Just Governments

I am writing several book chapters for an upcoming book on the blockade of Qatar.  In one chapter I described attacks on the media by the countries starting the blockade – Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Bahrain, and Egypt.  Among other things, the countries blocked Al Jazeera broadcasts and other media originating from Qatar.

I stated that the media blockade serve at least two purposes.  It keeps an opposing narrative about Qatar from reaching people in the blockading countries.  It also limits access to programming popular with conservative Muslim audiences.

In that chapter, I also described the Saudis relationship with sport broadcaster beIn Sports:
Saudi Arabia also blocked access to the ubiquitous and highly popular, Qatar-financed, beIN Sports on June 13, 2018. The station has about 5,000 staffers working in 43 countries. The U.A.E blocked access for six weeks before restoring it on July 22, 2018.  Police had ejected and questioned beIN reporters attending sports events in the blockading countries or required them to remove company logos from equipment.  The blockading countries would not allow marketing of the company or the sale of subscriptions, and they have encouraged their athletes to boycott any interviews with beIN.  Countries sympathetic to the siege have prevented beIN staff from entering their countries to cover events.  A pirate station also began working in Saudi Arabia.  Then in January 2018, Egypt’s top prosecutor indicted beIN’s CEO, Nassar Al-Khelaifi, on charges of monopolistic practices.
See Paula Marie Young, Power-Based Interventions of Countries Organizing the Siege Against Qatar, Qatar: Political, Economic, and Social Issues (Nova Science Pubs. expected 2019). 

In what some people would characterized as Karmic payback, the Gulf Times reported on June 9, 2018 that negotiations between beIN and Saudi Arabia have broken down.  beIN owns the rights to broadcast all 64 games of the World Cup.  The £25 million sub-licensing deal would allow the broadcast in Saudi Arabia of the opening and closing match plus 20 other games of the World Cup.  

The 21st World Cup begins on June 14, 2018 in Russia.  If the negotiation fails, Saudi fans will have to watch the games through pirated broadcasts at locations with that broadcast capability.  They will not be able to watch, from the comfort of their homes, their own team play in the opening match with Russia.  

beIN has reached a sub-licensing deal with the U.A.E.

The Saudis have now asked FIFA to negotiate the deal on their behalf.

Clearly, the blockading countries did not anticipate that the blockade would extend into this important football tournament.  They erroneously expected Qatar to capitulate quickly to the demands of the blockading countries.  Instead, Qatar creatively responded to the siege.  See Paula Marie Young, The Siege of Qatar: Creating a BATNA that Strengthened the Tiny Country’s Negotiating Power, Qatar: Political, Economic, and Social Issues (Nova Science Pubs. expected 2019).

Update:  On June 13, 2018, Qatari officials announced that they had created three fan zones in different terminals of Qatar's international airport that would allow travelers to watch World Cup matches in their entirety.  In a marvelous Doha work-around, more prosperous residents of the blockading countries could fly to Qatar to watch the games, even if their home countries had not cut a deal with beIn.  You could stay for a day and watch in the fan zones.  Or, you could stay at the hotel in the transfer part of the airport and watch all the games in the comfort of your room.  Because all the TV access happens in the transfer area of the airport, you could do it (I think) without ever getting a Qatari stamp in your passport.  

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Red Velvet Lawyer Exceeds 250,000 Page Views!

A Big Thanks to the People Who Read this Blog!

On March 17, 2013, I posted my first blog post.  I called it: "Make art.  Think like an artist."  I read it again this morning, and time has been kind to it.  It still resonates.  Since then, I have created nearly 400 posts.   If I were Seth Godin, I'd turn them into a book or two. 

When I started this blog, I hoped to regain a voice I had had when I wrote a column every other month for the newspaper of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL).  The newspaper had about 7,000 readers.  My column was called from "Conflict to Collaboration" and discussed dispute resolution theory, techniques, ethics, and use.  When I began teaching, I quit writing the column.

As an academic, I lost my first-person, more colloquial voice in my law review writing.  The academy prefers the conceit that the words, and any analysis they reflect, appear on the page without a particular author's help or perspective. I have always preferred to write in first-person to make it clear the words on the page reflect my thoughts, biases, research, and analysis.  

I wanted back that first-person voice.  The blog offered that opportunity.  It also offered me an opportunity to do content marketing in support of the on-line mediation training program I had created called "Mediation with Heart."

During the first year of the blog, I tried to make a post a day.  I wanted to see how long it would take for the Google bots to find me.  Advice for bloggers said you needed to post frequently before the search engines would pay attention to your blog.  In the first few months, the Russian bots seemed to pay the most attention. 

I have used the blog in many ways over the years.  I continue to focus on dispute resolution topics and my ADR tribes.   I have discussed trends in legal education, especially when law schools saw steeply declining post-2008 enrollments and law graduates saw few job opportunities.  

I also used it to market Appalachian School of Law (ASL) when it faced competition from new schools in our market.  I talked about its mission, its faculty, its students, alumni, the classes I taught, its student organizations, and student community service.  When I reviewed my data on viewership, I learned that just this week, someone was reading a post about an ASL alum.  

I have discussed legal marketing, content marketing, and the new tools of marketing.  Yes, I like marketing.  My blog roll is also filled with links to bloggers who also like marketing.  

I also like to talk about leadership -- especially for women, about "leaning in," and about my experience in the three-year business coaching program offered by Chritine Kane for heart-centered entrepreneurs.  Leadership is a recurring theme, especially when I talk about leading my US and Gulf dispute resolution "tribes."

I created a series about "letting go" during my transition to Doha, Qatar in the summer of 2015.  Those posts still make me laugh and cry.  They talk about the family, friends, community, and food I love and left to come to Doha.  I write about my mom at least once a year.  I miss her most.

The blog also let me talk about wind energy, fracking, and natural gas production.  My blog roll includes links to a number of bloggers following the energy industry. 

I also post book lists, mostly so I can find those lists later. 

More recently, I have used it to discuss my experience teaching in the Arab Gulf.  For a while, I was trying to post weekly about the content in my course.  I have also summarized several conferences I attended.  I have shared links to good research sources on topics related to terrorism financing and human rights violations caused by the blockade of Qatar that came to my attention while I was writing two articles this past spring.

In addition, I created two posts with lists of organizations that will use your donations to support legal actions on your favorite issues of gun law reform or civil, human, reproductive, immigrant, or environmental rights.  I repost them on Facebook every time people seem to feel hopeless about the change they can make in the world. 

I continue to use the blog to discuss "mindset" issues about creativity, courageproductivity, gratitude, and growth.  Many of these posts reflect what I have learned from books I've read.   Every December or January, I share my "words for the year," a goal setting technique I find very valuable.

I want to thank all of you who have visited my blog.  My stats show I have viewership all over the world, with a surprising amount of attention from Russia in the last month.  I thank the Google bots for finding me and putting me on the first page of a number of search results.  Even the ABA has taken notice.

Very Modest Increase in Women Who Hold Equity Partnerships in Law Firms

Still Working on that Glass Ceiling

When I made partner in the mid-1990s, only sixteen percent of all partners in the U.S. were women.

A NAWL 2014 report shows little progress since then:

In its eighth year, the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL®) and The NAWL Foundation’s® annual Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms reveals not much has changed in its findings of compensation, leadership roles, rainmaking, and equity partnership at the nation’s largest 200 firms. The data this year revealed the same trend as in previous years: the greatest percentage of women (64 percent) occupy the lowest positions in firms (staff attorneys) and the highest positions in firms (equity partners) are occupied by the lowest percentage of women (17 percent). In comparison, the 2012 survey reported 15 percent equity partners were women and 70 percent staff attorneys were women.
“This year’s results reinforce that women in private practice continue to face barriers to reaching the highest positions in their firms – as equity partners and members of governance committees,” said Stephanie Scharf, report author, Past President of The NAWL Foundation, and Partner at Scharf Banks Marmor LLC. “It is troubling that women make up the large majority of staff attorneys – those lawyers in the lowest echelon of law firms – at the same time they make up a static minority (on average 17%) of equity partners in BigLaw.”

The 2017 report shows ongoing stagnation.
White women represent 88 percent of women equity partners and nearly 17 percent of equity partners overall. In the aggregate, women of color (including Black, Asian, Latina women) represent only 12 percent of women equity partners and about 2 percent of all equity partners . . . . There were some noticeable differences between the AmLaw Quartiles for representations of various diverse groups among equity partners. Women were 17 – 19 percent of all equity partners across the AmLaw 200. 
The new report has a table that makes a powerful statement about this lag in gender equality.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Charity Groups Fighting for Civil, Human, and Environmental Rights

It's Easy: Set Up a Monthly Donation

This morning, my Facebook feed is blowing up over a Huffington Post article about the immigrant kids being separated from their parents at ages as young as 53 months.  For additional information about the situation see here (agency that lost 1500 kids says it is not "legally responsible" for finding them),  here (history of policy),here (Trump blames Democrats for the lost kids), and here (SWOPE's fact check: True).

Many people want to know how they can help support resistance to this and other Trump administration policies affecting civil, human, and environmental rights.

I put together a list of charity groups that support gun law reform.  I post it after every mass or school shooting,  So, in the same vein and with the same purpose,  I am creating this list of organizations that work to protect civil, human, and environmental rights.  If I need to add an organization to the list, please let me know. 

Please donate a monthly amount to the groups of your choice.  I make an automatic payment to five organizations.  Easy.  Put your money where your mouth (or FB outrage) is.   Love all of you.

Here are the donation pages for the leading organizations:

Friday, May 25, 2018

UAE, not to be Out-Done by Qatar, has Finally Passed a New Arbitration Law

More Modern Arbitration Laws for the Arab Gulf

GAR reports that the United Arab Emirates has issued its long-awaited self-standing arbitration law, based on the UNCITRAL Model Law.  The Arabic version of the the law is found here.  In this post, I am reproducing the GAR story with a few edits.

His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE, issued Federal Law No. 6 of 2018 yesterday, after it was approved by his cabinet of ministers in February.

It repeals and replaces the previous UAE arbitration law, contained within a chapter of the UAE Civil Procedures Law No. 11 of 1992.

The new law will apply to all arbitral proceedings, including both domestic and international proceedings.  Its 61 articles include:

  • articulation of the principles of separability and competence-competence; 
  • power for arbitral tribunals and courts to order interim and conservatory measures relating to ongoing or potential arbitrations, with no waiver of the right to arbitrate if they are issued by the court; 
  • clarification of the competent court and its powers; 
  • confirmation that electronic writings satisfy the requirement that the arbitration clause be in writing; 
  • rules ensuring the enforceability of interim and partial awards; and 
  • the requirement that requests for annulment must be initiated within 30 days of notification of the award to the parties, with clarification that they do not automatically stay enforcement proceedings.

The law also says that the UAE's minster of economy will coordinate with the arbitration institutions of the UAE to issue a charter on the professional conduct of arbitrators.

Essam Al Tamimi, senior partner at Al Tamimi & Co in Dubai says, “this state-of-the-art arbitration law will fortify the UAE’s position as the leading seat in the MENA region. It is a landmark law that is the best arbitration law in the region."

Thomas Snider, partner and head of arbitration at Al Tamimi & Co, says that “with this new law, the UAE has achieved a critical milestone in fostering arbitration as a leading and reliable form of dispute resolution for all types of commercial and construction disputes in the country.”

Mohammed El Ghatit, founder and co-managing partner of OGH Legal in Dubai, tells GAR he first heard talk of a new arbitration law in 2006, the year the UAE
acceded to the New York Convention, and that for the country to finally issue one [several drafts later] is a “fantastic achievement.”

He says there have been a few “minor changes” to the draft law adopted by the cabinet in February. For example, in that draft, an order for the enforcement of an award was not subject to appeal, though an order rejecting recognition and enforcement was. In the final version, both types of order can be appealed. The final version also prohibits members of the boards of arbitral institutions, or their administrative staff, from acting as arbitrators in cases administered by their
institution. This prohibition did not appear in the previous version.

Qatar passed a modern arbitration law in February 2017, making it one of the few countries in the Arab world with a modern arbitration law that would be familiar to European and American companies working in the region.  An English version of the law appears here.  I understand some problems may exist with the translation, but I do not know enough about the law to point out the language with possible traps.  Another translation appears here.

A summary of its key points appears here.  More commentary about the Qatari law here, here, and here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The 12th Al Jazeera Forum: Session 7 - Where is the Gulf Headed?

Political Stability or a New Wave of Change?

On April 28-29, 2018, Al Jazeera held its 12th Forum providing an opportunity for leading scholars and other experts to discuss a variety of topics affecting the Arab world.  The website for the forum, @aljazeeraform, provides additional information and links to the videos of each session.  You can follow the Twitter coverage at #AJForum.

As I noted in my first post in this series, I am working from my notes, so I apologize in advance if I incorrectly paraphrase the remarks of any speaker. I was also reliant on the quality of the translation services and their audibility. Therefore, I am happy to make any needed edits to this summary.

For summaries of the other sessions see:
Session 7: Prospective Scenarios Facing the Middle East

Session focus:

This session will review the key ideas discussed in prior sessions from a futuristic perspective.  Where is the Gulf Crisis headed to?  Could the "deal of the century" be a fair solution to and permanent settlement for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

On what basis will the countries destroyed by wars and internal conflicts -- like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya -- be rebuilt if the current regional and international enterprises persist?  Could the countries that witness crisis and social tension maintain their political stability or are we headed toward a new wave of change?

How can the expected scenarios be dealt with?  Will the region develop its own vision for the future or will the region continue to be directed by foreign interests and agendas?

  • Moderator: Mohammed Cherkaoui, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding at George Mason University's School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and member of the Center for Narrative and Conflict Resolution.
  • Basheer Nafi, Professor of Middle East History and Senior Researcher at Al Jazeera Centre for Studies.
  • Mohamed Jemil Ould Mansour, Chairman of the National Rally for Reform and Development in Mauritania (Tawassoul).
  • Abdul Aziz Al Ishaq, Qatari journalist at Al Rayn and Columnist at Saqr Magazine.
  • Saif Eddin Abdel Fattah, Professor of Political Science specializing in Political Theory and Islamic Political Thought.
Key points:

Basheer Nafi:  The blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt will end, but perhaps not until the end of the year. Created a crisis of trust and confidence.  Reflects US policy in the region.  Iran remains a central concern.

Three factors in play in the region:
  • The regional backlash or counter-revolution is at a stalemate.  It stopped democratization of regional governments. 
  • The Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  No one expected this move by the Trump administration and the Palestinian factions did not plan for it.

No one can lead the region through effective alliances.  They are waiting for a new system.  But, it will lead to conflict and instability.

Countires untouched by the Arab Spring have tried to find alliances among themselves and launched counter-revolutions.  But, they could not provide solutions for the people, so the underlying grievances remain.  So, Egypt, Yemen, and Syria are worse off than before the Arab Spring.

At no time previously has the region been this volatile.

Mohamed Jemil Ould Mansour:  Agrees that the region is volatile.  We cannot predict the future.  Nonetheless, the speaker says:
  • The Gulf crisis did not achieve the goals of the countries starting the blockade.  Qatar found options and created new alliances.  The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is now form over content.
  • The "deal of the century" promised by Trump for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict may unfold in stages.
  • The crisis in Yemen, Libya, and Syria reflects the interference of outside actors with complicated solutions.
  • The counter-revolutions were a failed response to the Arab Spring revolutions.
  • The Arab world is "empty."  Instead, you see the influence of Israeli [?], Iran, and Turkey.  Creating a "triangle" of influence.

Abdul Aziz Al Ishaq:  Until April 2017, a diplomatic process existed among the countries of the Gulf.  Will the blockade persist?  If it does, then the "gloomy triangle" of influence evolves into a square with the fourth side now represented by the interference of other countries.

Qatar/Iran relationship exists, but is not as strong as the Qatar/Turkey relationship.   

Crisis will end.  The GCC should persist to:
  • support US security.
  • counter Iran.
  • resolve small problems with unity among six countries. 
  • increase relationships between people in affected countries.
  • prop up rulers' legitimacy.

Formal solution to the blockade:  International pressure that focuses countries on the Iranian threat through:
  • a summit.
  • GCC sub-committee creating outreach.
But, the countries will compete perpetually. 

Real solution needed that restore the status quo ante that existed prior to the blockade.  International guarantees from the US, Russia, Europe, or Turkey to ensure a lasting solution.  Should prevent re-occurrence of the blockade.

Saudi Arabia sees Qatar as threat to its legitimacy.

Gulf countries have no real integration, like a common currency.

Inter-GCC conflict may lead to war in Lebanon or Jordan.  Splits conflicts in the region.

The Arab Spring started in Tunisia and will end in the Gulf.

Saif Eddin Abdel Fattah:  A need exists to shape the future.  Three changes have affected the region.  First, the Arab Spring revolutions.  People waited a long time for those events.  Second, the counter-revolutions or backlash occurred.  Third, the underlying factors that led to the revolutions still exist.  Thus, change is inevitable.

Speaker notes that "The Middle East" is not an Arab term.  It reflects the position of the region in relationship to other parts of the world, especially Western powers.

Regional systems are experiencing conflict.  This conflict is evidence of the ongoing move towards change.

After the Arab Spring, "regimes started to tremble."

Speaker calls for a "strategic vision."

"Deal of the century" is not in the interest of the region or its people.  Will meet with strong resistance.  Currently, Palestinians are staging protests every Friday.  The deal sets a bad precedent for other groups subject to colonization.

The Qatar blockade represents "big countries trying to smother a small country."


Arabs have a hard time seeing the Iranian invasion of Iraq and Syria and its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as innocent.

Iran expanded into Iraq without any cost.  US bore the cost.

West cannot constrain Iran with military intervention.  But, it can limit the flow of dollars into the country.

Turkey is "manufacturing" status by identifying foreign policy opportunities.

Turkey cannot act as a balancing factor to those who opposed the Arab Spring.

Qatar and Turkey can be the center of an alliance that protects the will of the Arab people.