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Nine Ways You’re Losing Business—and What to Do About It

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

A longer newsletter than usual this week, with three important sections.

1. A must-read article for those of you working in large firms: Pay Gap Increases Between Equity and Non-Equity Partners. Two brief excerpts will show you why you can’t miss this:

“Equity partners averaged $971,000 in annual compensation, versus $338,000 for nonequity partners, according to MLA’s third biennial survey of what partners are paid at large law firms in the United States. While average pay for equity partners has risen nearly 20 percent from $811,000 since MLA’s first survey in 2010, nonequity pay has remained relatively flat, increasing just $2,000 over the same period.”


“The growing gap between equity and nonequity partner pay mirrors the disparate amount of business the two groups of partners bring to their firms. ‘The correlation between originations and compensation is getting stronger,’ says Alan Olson, a law firm consultant at Altman Weil Inc. Olson says firms are ‘rewarding and investing in those partners that can develop and maintain a remunerative legal business.”

I’ve suggested (and the data supports the idea) that nonequity partners are in a tenuous position unless they’re making a strong record of securing business. This article provides deep insight on this point and data on pay disparities.

2. LAST CALL for The RainMaster Paradigm Revealed: A New Model for Thriving in the Post-Recession Economy, a workshop I’m hosting at the New York City Bar Association on September 23. Visit this link to learn more and to grab one of the few remaining seats for this intimate workshop. (Want to attend but not in NYC? Please hit reply and let me know.)

3. This week marks the start of a 10-week series in this newsletter, titled Nine Ways You’re Losing Business—and What to Do About It. I’d originally planned to send it as a single article, but it’s nearly 15 pages long! This week starts with the premise of the article, and you’ll find the problems and solutions over subsequent newsletters.

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What’s your vision for your practice?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

Last week, I attended a business seminar focused on hiring and managing employees.
I was surprised that the program started by asking us attendees to identify our business vision and what we stand for. I was even more surprised to find how difficult that was to do!

You may have heard the distinction between working in your business as opposed to working on your business, popularized by Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth. The former is what you do to earn money, and the latter is what you do to design and build your business.

Lawyers, like other business owners, tend to spend your days working in your business: seeing clients, writing documents for client services, having meetings about client projects, and so on. And that’s good and important work, without which the business that is your practice would cease to exist.

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Consistency Makes it Simple

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

I often enjoy the EarlyToRise.com  newsletter, which recently included an excerpt from Sharon LaBelle’s book The Art of Living, which distilled Epictetus’s The Virtuous Are Consistent as follows:

To live a life of virtue, you have to become consistent, even when it isn’t convenient, comfortable, or easy.

It is incumbent that your thoughts, words, and deeds match up. This is a higher standard than that held by the mob. . . When your thoughts, words, and deeds form a seamless fabric, you streamline your efforts and thus eliminate worry and dread. In this way, it is easier to seek goodness than to conduct yourself in a haphazard fashion or according to the feelings of the moment. . .  

It’s so simple really: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it.” 

(Emphasis added.)

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Are you ready to thrive in your practice?

Posted in Uncategorized

Three offerings for you this week.  

1.  Join me in NYC on September 23 for a 1-day workshop, The RainMaster Paradigm Revealed: A NEW Model for Thriving in the Post-Recession Economy.
 I’ll explain why becoming a rainmaker is no longer the goal to pursue in the post-recession economy and what you can do instead to build a strong practice. Learn more and register here. 

Thrive2. The next round of Coursera’s Better Leader, Richer Life begins on October 5
. This free online course is taught by Steward Friedman and based on his book Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life. If you’ve ever felt like there isn’t enough time for your practice and your family and serving your community and meeting your own personal needs, you can’t afford to miss this opportunity. Click here to register.

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Should you (could you) join a board

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

Board MeetingClients often ask me about the business development value of joining a nonprofit’s Board of Directors, and (as with most activities) the value varies depending upon your objectives and the board you might join.
 In general, board membership can be an excellent way to meet other professionals who may be relevant to your practice and to gain an extra perk for your biographical sketch. And if you join the board of a nonprofit that advances a cause important to you, you may find personal satisfaction as well.    

Which board should you join? 

Consider organizations that sponsor causes in which you are genuinely interested. You can gain strong contacts from an organization that addresses topics of little matter to you, but when your interests align with the organization’s mission, you will likely connect more deeply with other board members and with the organization’s
membership more generally. In addition, because you will actually be working on the board, real interest will make the hours you invest less of a burden. Continue Reading

Why you MUST act

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

Overthinking can ruin your plans. One of the biggest mistakes I see lawyers make is coming up with a good, solid plan and then discarding it before ever giving it a shot. Overthinking takes the oomph out of a strategy, and there’s no better way to short-circuit than to let fear take over and reverse a decision. 


This week’s quote is right on point.


Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy. 

 Dale Carnegie


There you have it. Go out and get busy!


Under pressure?

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

“Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you are doing.”
- Peyton Manning

This quote stopped me in my tracks. My first inclination was to disagree, because I sometimes feel pressure because of a deadline or because of the importance of some activity, even though I know what I’m doing.  Digging a bit deeper, though, I think Manning has a point.

When it comes to business development, the lawyers most under pressure are those who don’t have a cohesive plan, who aren’t implementing their plan consistently, or who haven’t fully committed to one or more activities that are likely to help them secure work.  Although they know what they’re doing on certain levels, there’s a disconnect between intellectual knowing and buckling down to do the work. If you know that you should request an on-site meeting with a client, for example, and you expect that you might well land more business or receive a referral or even deepen a valuable relationship, but you don’t ask for the meeting, you’re going to feel pressure. Continue Reading

How to Make the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

LinkedIn is, de facto, the preeminent social media platform for professional purposes. As of May 2014, LinkedIn featured over 300 million mostly professional users, growing by two new members per second. (Read this article for 100 staggering statistics about LinkedIn.)

How can you construct a profile that stands out? I happened across a really nice infographic this week that offers 10 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Profile. I’m planning to review and revise my own profile this week, based on some of the suggestions—how about you?  Continue Reading

A mentor’s legacy…

Posted in Business Development, Coaching for lawyers

My first legal job was serving as a clerk for the Hon. J. Owen Forrester of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. I knew I wanted to be a litigator, and so working for a trial judge was my idea of the perfect job. Sure enough, I learned lessons that have lasted the test of time.

Judge Forrester died on July 1, and while attending his funeral, I asked a number of his other clerks the most important lesson he taught them. Interestingly, every person alluded to exactly the same lesson:

To be effective, solve the root problem rather
than spending time on peripheral, non-dispositive issues.

Tweet: To be effective, solve the root problem rather than spending time on peripheral, non-dispositive issues.

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