‘The Hard Value Of Soft Skills’

We, as Lawyers, are trained to be analytical, questioning, rational and forensic. To do this well the emphasis is on being unemotional, not emotional.

However, neuroscience teaches us that all humans actually base key decision-making - including commercially important and life changing decisions - on emotional factors.

It’s emotion first, rationalisation second.

We can be sceptical about the value of achieving this balance given the strong focus of both our training and practice as legal professionals.

But switching our professional focus to engaging in creative, expansive, collaborative behaviours affords us tangible benefits in terms of more fruitful interaction with clients, peers and colleagues, staff retention and job satisfaction. It also fosters a “win/win” result in negotiations and settlement - quite the opposite of the “I win / You lose” adversarial approach.

And the most effective individuals, global research tells us, are those who balance the ability to get the job done while at the same time bringing people with them. In other words, highly effective individuals give as much attention to the “how" of their work (how they interact with individuals) as to the “what” of their work, sharing their rational and logical expertise.

At this recorded interactive workshop, Jenifer Payne BL and Clodagh Hughes explored these ideas in a session entitled the “The Hard Value Of Soft Skills" and discussed in an open forum the potential benefits of such an approach in our own practices.


Jennifer Payne BL is a qualified Executive Coach (Harvard and Cambridge), following her 30 years’ experience in legal practice, both at the Bar of Ireland and after joining the Office of the Attorney General where she was a senior member of the Management Board for more than 20 years. She trained and mentored over 50 lawyers over the past decade, in addition to mentoring senior officials across a range of government departments.

A particular focus of Jennifer’s coaching work is the career development and mentoring of women both for and in senior management, helping them to broaden their skill sets and find their unique leadership style and voice.

Jennifer’s clients include individuals in a range of Government departments and Offices, not-for-profit organisations, and other sectors such as banking, accountancy and the arts.

Clodagh Hughes is a leadership specialist who advises CEOs on the people strategies and behavioural changes needed for business growth.

Prior to setting up her OD consultancy, Clodagh worked at a senior level in the financial services industry. This “first-hand” experience of leading teams and developing people allows her to uniquely address the needs of her clients.

Clodagh is a social scientist by profession and holds a Master’s in Business and a Master’s in Executive Coaching both from UCD. She is accredited in a wide variety of coaching and leadership assessment tools including EQI, LSI, LWS, GSI, Belbin team roles, Marshall Goldsmith coaching and Insights. Clodagh works with a wide variety of organisations, teams, and individuals with the common objective of increasing their effectiveness and performance.

Clients include Selfridges, Sandisk, Reckitt Benkiser, Paddy Power Betfair Bank of Ireland, Davy Stockbrokers, Cairn Homes, Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Primark, SMBC Aviation Capital, CBRE, Apollo Aviation, Bearing Point Consultants, Oneview, Brandtone, Sky Ireland, Rockall Technology, Boys and Girls Advertising, IAPI, Alternatives, Zurich, INM, Financial Ombudsman, and the HSE.

For a more detailed description of Clodagh’s work and testimonials see


Category of CPD: Management (or General)*
Duration: 1.1 Hours

* (which you can also use as General CPD if you have already done your mandatory Management hours).


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