“This book tells you all you need to know about how to get on.” The Times
“Relatively few books have been written with assistant solicitors in mind, about how to succeed at the business of being a lawyer… fewer still have devised a programme for so doing that runs alongside a book. This book does both.”Law Society (The Law Management Section)
5 star rating HR Magazine
At the end of this month, I’ll be launching my new book, Juggling the Big 3 for Lawyers: A career-building plan to develop your personal brand, client business and leadership mindset.
The immediate trigger for this book was a routine performance review for one of my associates. She asked me a pertinent (and simple) question: “What do I need to do to succeed? How did you do it?” I responded, bluntly, by telling her that very few of the criteria upon which she was currently being measured—and that we had just spent close to an hour discussing—would have much bearing on her ultimate success. Since she was a committed and high-performing associate (by standard benchmarks), this was a major blow to her belief that she had been pursuing a well-marked, near-infallible route to her goal of partnership.
Later, recalling our conversation, I had an epiphany—or, more accurately, a crystallization of what I already knew at some subconscious level: Most lawyers are poorly prepared for partnership because they fail to lay the groundwork for advancement at the inception of their careers. To make matters worse, in most firms the criteria for success at the partner level are rarely emphasized and may even be implied rather than explicitly stated. Thus, young lawyers are immediately “wrong-footed” and can flounder for years before realizing what they should have been taught from the start.
Here are some things to think about…
Pursue mastery. Rather than being “just another lawyer” demonstrate your unique skills and knowledge, preferably in a way that leverages your strengths and passions.
Become a great communicator. Your business development depends upon your ability to communicate and interact with people, and the way you present yourself. Invest in these skills now! For example, take an acting class or joint Toastmasters.
Network. Take every chance to meet people: and every effort to keep in touch with them. This isn’t about attending cocktail functions, or gathering business cards—it’s about building relationships. No other single factor will have a greater impact upon your career.
Take action. Commit to at least one (non-billable) marketing or reputation-building activity every day. This helps to build your business development mindset, and also increases your confidence.
There are no shortcuts. You can't have a successful law career in today's market without investing in these things. At times it may feel like a waste of time (distracting you from immediate billable work) but in the long run it will pay off. So stay the course (however uncertain it may look!).
Posted on 21/09/2009