“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
I’ve recently reread Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, in which he examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. One of these factors is what he calls the "10,000-Hour Rule", which means that the key to success (in most fields, even the law!) depends upon practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.
This reminded me of my blog post from last week: Avoid Being All Things to All People. It takes discipline to become an expert (discipline to stay on track, and discipline to “say no” to the things that don’t support your goal or distinct personal brand).
Wherever you are in your legal career, I would suggest that you develop your "expertise proposition". What is your desired expertise? Who is the ideal client with regard to that expertise? What value do you deliver?
Once your value proposition is developed, you need to research your client base. Learn about that business or industry. Understand your client’s issues and how you can help resolve them.
Then go back to the "10,000-Hour Rule" and do anything and everything to practice your skills, remembering—a key point—that such practice is not limited to "billable" hours. Be imaginative. Nourish the other parts of your character. Invest in yourself.
If you’re really serious about becoming an expert, spend some time developing your expertise.
Posted on 28/10/2009
The other day I was helping a young lawyer with her search for a job after she was made redundant in a large City firm. As we reviewed her resume, I quickly realised that she was trying to sell herself as a "jack-of-all trades". Now this approach, especially in today’s economy, may feel like the safest route - an attempt to avoid missing out on any opportunity. But as I explained to this young lawyer, trying to be all things to all people can actually hurt you.
If you try to sell yourself in this way, you risk looking as though you actually know very little - i.e. by spending your time learning about everything, you haven’t focused on becoming really accomplished at any of it.
When you explain exactly what you are good at - and admit what you don’t know - people can be confidant that you will in fact prove yourself and meet their expectations in the area that you demonstrate mastery.
And the more you can build upon that specific expertise, showing your consistent interest, skill and passion, the more authentic you will be... and in the process you will succeed in that elusive and lucrative goal: creating a personal brand.
Posted on 21/10/2009
Since its launch in September Juggling the Big 3 for Lawyers remains the #1 legal career book on Amazon.co.uk. To date book reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Juggling the Big 3 is for aspiring young lawyers and students who want to get ahead and prepare themselves for a successful career, as well as new partners struggling with the stress of client development and managing themselves as leaders. It is also quickly becoming the handbook for learning and development training and HR managers.
To learn more, check out the press release for Juggling the Big 3, which gives a good overview of the book, and includes some of the initial reviews from high profile lawyers and law firm managers.
Posted on 15/10/2009