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Tressler Partner and Chicago office Managing Partner, D.J. Sartorio, has authored “Management Playlist: Manage the firm, you will,” published by the Chicago Lawyer, June 1, 2013. This is the inaugural monthly Management Playlist column written by D.J. for the Chicago Lawyer magazine.

In “Manage the firm, you will,” D.J. writes that most people have some familiarity with the Star Wars character Yoda. But, he asks, “have you ever thought of Yoda in the context of law firm management?

“This inaugural column is about mindset,” he writes. “That is where management and leadership start. Management (or, more precisely, effective management) cannot be put on remote control. It requires focus and energy. Coincidentally enough, so did training to be a Jedi Knight. So, as silly as it may sound, let's look at what Yoda teaches us about law firm management.”

D.J. lists and discusses the following Yoda lessons:

"Do not assume anything … Clear your mind must be."

"Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view."

"If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play."

"Named must your fear be before banish it you can."

"Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future."

"Do or do not. There is no try."

D.J. writes that Yoda’s lessons are easy to understand and hard to argue with. In layman’s terms, they are:

Investigate and ask instead of assuming.
Consider the points of view of others affected by your decisions.
Focus on things that you are truly capable of doing.
Identify and plan for potential problems that would be most disruptive.
Plan dynamically and flexibly.
Commit fully to what you decide to do.
“These concepts are foundational to effective law firm management,” concludes D.J. “While it is wise to remain mindful of where you have been, management should be about where you want to go. You will decide that.”

For a copy of the article, please visit the Chicago Lawyer magazine’s website by CLICKING HERE. Alternatively, you may contact the author directly at or 312-627-4093.

About the Author
D.J. Sartorio has more than 30 years experience as an insurance and appellate lawyer. He has extensive experience representing insurance companies in litigation, coverage analysis and underwriting consulting. He has successfully handled appeals throughout the United States, including one that changed Illinois law with respect to expert disclosures. Active in firm management, D.J. has served on Tressler’s four-person Executive Committee, which is the governing body of the firm, since 2001, and presently also serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s Chicago office.