“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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A remarkable woman and example of generosity we should all emulate

On the 12th of December, my grandmother turned 98 years old.  She had a wonderful birthday surrounded by friends and family—children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren—even one soon-to-be-born great-great-grandchild, who will be her namesake.  The few of us unable to attend in person called to send our love and hear about her day.  I will always remember my grandmother then as being in great spirits, serenely joyful and full of life as we celebrated her and her place in our lives.

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It’s all in the attitude

A lawyer friend of mine recently lost her job (very unexpectedly and—in my view—quite unfairly): a job that she had really invested herself in and thoroughly enjoyed.  So I was extremely surprised (though equally impressed) when, rather than view her situation as horribly unfair, she chose to view it positively as an opportunity to recharge her batteries.  Her attitude reminded me of a story I once heard that demonstrates that any situation can be viewed as positive or negative, depending upon how we choose to see it…. And a negative situation can very quickly turn into a positive one.  

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Want respect? Ask for it

In his book Life Strategies, Dr. Phil McGraw suggests that we teach people how to treat us.  In every interaction, we play a role in how the other person behaves because we choose to either accept or reject their behavior.  If we accept bad behavior and don’t communicate how we feel about it, then we can’t expect positive results—and it’s partly our own fault.

I was recently coaching a lawyer who was stressed out because she felt completely unsupported by her boss.  Projects were dumped on her desk and she was given responsibilities far more demanding than she thought she could handle.  She felt that she was sinking fast under a weight of impossible expectation; and her boss was never around or available to help.  As we talked through her issues I learned that this was not the first time that she had endured this problem, and that in fact, she had felt unsupported by most of her bosses.  In fact, to me this was beginning to look more like a lack of communication from my lawyer friend than a fault on the part of her boss.  (Which is not to say that her boss shouldn’t have been more supportive, but that my friend clearly needed to be more assertive about her needs.)

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Great presentation requires practice

I’ve been doing a lot of presentations lately and it’s not unusual for someone to come up to me afterwards and tell me that they just couldn’t possibly give such a presentation, not through lack of ideas but because of public speaking nerves.  I’ll tell you what I always tell them.  There are a few people born to do great presentations, but I’m not one of them, and you may not be either.  For most of us it just takes planning and practice—and lots of rehearsing.  Rehearse your presentation over and over, leaving nothing to chance.  You need to know your message so well that you never have to hesitate or worry about what’s coming next.  In fact, you should spend even more time practicing your talk than preparing it! 

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Get out of your head

I had lunch a while back with a lawyer friend who was worried about her job.  So she spent most of our lunch playing “What if.” (“What if I lose my job?”  “What if I don’t find another one?”  “What if I can’t pay my mortgage?”)   Thinking about the conversation later I was reminded of a remark once made by Mark Twain that he had been through some really rough times during his life, and in fact some of them had actually happened.  We all do this.  I call it “awfulizing”, meaning, taking a situation and contemplating its worst-case scenario.  We can put ourselves through hell and usually for no reason— because in most cases the worst case doesn’t happen. 

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