When I have a consultation with a potential client, I always ask two questions: what do you want to create in your practice, and why? More often than not, one aspect of the “why” addresses the desire for independence. Service partners, for instance, often mention the desire to regain some scheduling freedom. Freedom in being… Continue Reading
Warning: Being a fungible billing unit is bad for growing your law practice! I’ve written previously on finding your Unique Service Proposition, which distinguishes you from other lawyers (and non-lawyers) serving your ideal clients’ legal needs. In that article, I noted that if you are one of a pool of fungible practitioners, you’ll be forced… Continue Reading
While visiting Wyoming last summer, I had an epiphany that made owning a home there possible: I could buy a duplex. Renting out one side would not only give me the cash flow to pay for the property, but it would also alleviate the problems of wintertime absentee ownership. (Love Wyoming though I do, this… Continue Reading
Until recently, I was most familiar with Steven Pressfield as the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, though he has written a number of other well-received books. And then a year ago, I ran across The War of Art. Curious, since I’d just finished The Art of War, I started reading and found myself… Continue Reading
A client recently called me, and I could hear the tension in his voice right away. Too many projects coming due at the same time (and thus, another long weekend in the office) combined with sheer exhaustion to make Rick an unhappy lawyer. “I just don’t know how I’m going to get it all done. … Continue Reading
Introducing Ron Peterson, a guest author. To learn more about Ron, scroll to the end of his post. Lawyers will often carry Phi-Beta Kappa keys, law review credentials, marquee college and law school degrees, and—after a few years of diligent and conscientious practice—a growing realization that they may be unemployable! How can this be? Throughout… Continue Reading
I noticed another lesson in the Olympics last night. I watched the 400m relays and saw the U.S. men’s and women’s teams disqualified for dropping the baton. The men quit running after the drop, but the women’s team anchor Lauryn Williams picked up the baton and ran the rest of the race. It was hard to… Continue Reading
Working on a bar association committee or project is a good way to get leadership experience quickly. The reason is simple: because of the number and variety of bar associations (the ABA, state, city/county, area-of-practice, group affiliations, etc.) and the number and variety of sections and committees within each, leadership opportunities are
Last night, I was watching the men’s gymnastics Olympic competition. I was struck with the approaches, at least as described by the know-it-all knowledgeable commentators. (I admit to some impatience with the Olympic commentators, who magnify every misstep and cluck over the athletes’ failings, but that’s another story.) Some gymnasts played all out, trying their… Continue Reading
I’ll write more about this in a future post, but here’s a question for you to consider: Are you playing to win? Or are you playing not to lose?
When “Carl,” a 4th year associate in a large firm, contacted me about lawyer coaching, he was dreading an upcoming evaluation. The office rumor was that associates were being asked to explain what they’d done to meet the goals they’d set in the previous year’s review, and Carl was nervous. He explained that although he’d been… Continue Reading
The latest issue of The Complete Lawyer features the theme “What’s Your Exit Strategy?” and includes articles that discuss exits including retirement, job changes, leaving the law, setting up a plan to ensure that your clients will be protected if you’re suddenly unavailable, and more. Here are a few highlights: Rob Hockett offers simple advice on… Continue Reading
An anonymous email I received shortly after I began coaching haunts me. This person (I don’t know whether male or female, but I’ll assume male here) wanted desperately to leave the practice. He was responding to something I’d written, and he explained that he’d practiced law for nearly 20 years and hated it. He never liked… Continue Reading
While describing an assessment I often use to a lawyer-client, I mentioned that it provides feedback about one’s natural tendencies and those tendences as adapted to work, explaining that almost everyone wears a “mask” of some sort at work. “You got that right,” my client chuckled wryly. We went on to discuss the discomfort this client… Continue Reading
It’s been a busy weekend at the Fleming-Brown household. One of my dogs, Jake, is the most cowardly animal I’ve ever met when it comes to thunderstorms — and the most wily. Both dogs sleep downstairs in crates, mostly because my cat would become a canape if they were allowed free reign at night. We’ve… Continue Reading
I’ve been doing a lot of speaking and coaching lately on business development, and someone asked a great question: what are the top obstacles to rainmaking success? I’ve identified three universal challenges. Do any of these sound uncomfortably familiar to you?
The number one complaint by lawyers is they can’t find the time for rainmaking and new business development. But finding that time and knowing how to use it effectively is a vital requirement for successful practice development. Don’t let this classic dilemma derail your success. On May 27 and 28 at 2 PM ET, I’m hosting… Continue Reading
My home office in Atlanta is on a two-lane primary road just a few blocks from Emory University’s law school. Today is graduation, and since about 6:30 AM, I’ve been watching cars full of well-dressed people, taxis, chartered buses, and even limos drive by. It’s quite the parade! And in fact, today marks the 15th… Continue Reading
Think back to elementary school. My guess is (depending on your generation), when the teacher called roll most students responded by saying, “Here!” And usually, especially by 5th grade or so, one wise guy (were there gunners in elementary school?!) would respond by answering, “Present!” The other kids would snicker and the teacher might look… Continue Reading
Following on last week’s post examining the roles of strategy and opportunity in career planning and business development, today considers strategy vs. tactics. Assuming that you find value in applying strategy to your own efforts rather than drifting along and hoping for the best, step one is to set the strategy. Obvious, right? Well…
I recently read a sentence (in a non-public email, so I won’t cite the source) suggesting that most lawyers and law firms are opportunists, not strategists. That brought me to a dead stop. Lawyers are trained (and generally self-selected as well) to think logically and analytically, and most lawyers put a high stock on strategic… Continue Reading
“There have always been, and inevitably will be, a certain number of bullies, braggarts, brutes and bigots who manage to insinuate themselves into any assemblage of humans, the legal profession not excluded. In the past, these misfits have been dealt with by peer pressure and sanctions; however, as the rude, degrading behaviors creep ever… Continue Reading
During my first conversation with a new client, we were talking about the goals she’d like to set. She said she’d like to make partner at her firm, and I asked what she needed to do to reach that goal. She answered that good work and maybe bringing in a few clients would get her… Continue Reading
Perhaps you’ve heard this: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!” I’ve seen that quote, or similar ones, attributed to everyone from Confucius to Harvay MacKay. Now, here’s my corollary: even so, you will nevertheless sometimes need to adjust priorities, to take time off, and to shift what you do.