“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

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The Big 3 (brand, business & leadership) Blog

Holiday reading

I’m on holiday now—six glorious weeks in the Italian lakes. Among the many books I’ve brought with me is Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (which I’m actually re-reading). It has many underlined and highlighted passages, as well as asterisks and scribbled notes throughout. This is because I find the message of the book so inspiring, and so relevant to most lawyers.

The simple, condensed message of the book is this….

We have been taught to create and seek sameness, to follow rules, think inside the box, maintain the status quo, and do good work—and that this conformity will bring us success. But in reality this just makes us vulnerable to outsourcing, downsizing, and even redundancy.

What will make us successful is to become indispensable—to become a linchpin. Linchpins invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They love their work and pour their best selves into it, turning each day into a kind of art—and, by doing that (according to Seth, at least!)—incidentally gaining the best jobs and the most freedom.

This book just might inspire you to stop complying with the system, and instead drawing up your own map, and scheduling your (more exciting) future!

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Business development 101

The most basic rule of business development is something lawyers often forget. It’s this: tragic as it may seem, clients don’t care about what you do. Instead, they stubbornly persist in caring about their own problems and needs. (Very strange (not!), but true . . . )

So, don’t spend your time with clients boosting your credentials and expertise, or trying to demonstrate however brilliant you might be. Instead, focus on what’s important to them. Discover their issues. Ask questions. Be interested. Find areas of mutual interest. Make that connection. Seek information. And find out what they need.

In essence, listen (rather than talk). We all want to be listened to, and our clients are no different.

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So you wanted to avoid sales...

I’ve met many lawyers who chose their profession for its intellectual challenge—or (still more frankly) because they “wanted to avoid anything to do with sales”! But, in the latter case, the joke’s on them because as lawyers we must sell ourselves—and our services. Unfortunately (at least for these lawyers) we’re still in the sales business.

Fortunately, selling is something that can be learned. It’s no different from learning to play a musical instrument. First you learn the basics, just enough to play a note or two, and from there you learn how to put those notes together, and eventually play a song. At first that song seems pretty difficult, because you have to think about every note… but eventually it becomes natural, and you enjoy playing it. As time goes on, you learn more techniques and expand your repertoire and play more songs—or even sonatas.

The key to getting to that point is practice. Just like learning an instrument, if you commit to learning sales, and achieve what you learn with practice, you will succeed—and even come to enjoy it.

The knowledge is out there, so reach out and discover the relevant notes—and then practice!

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