Today, we are going to talk about 4 important characteristics lawyers need to have to be successful. Lawyers are very smart people. I know this because I’ve worked with lawyers since 1997, first in-house as a director of marketing and then out on my own since 2002.
I have the good fortune to work with many very smart lawyers. Many of you were recruited from law school because of your grades, because of where you ranked in your class, and because you demonstrated your knowledge and demonstrated that you were smart and would be an asset to have in a firm.
Well, sometimes being smart is just not enough. Let’s discuss.
Having knowledge and a wonderful, great, smart brain isn’t going to carry you through all of the practice and business development that is necessary for a profitable career.
You might get lucky, and just being smart gets you through all of it. But there are other characteristics, some other assets that you need to demonstrate in order to continue to grow a profitable practice.
First: You need to be visible. It’s one thing to be smart and to sit at your desk no matter where that desk is and to, yes, use your brilliant brain.
But if you aren’t visible and you’re not demonstrating that to people and you aren’t making it obvious to people that, yes, you are smart and you have characteristics that are appealing to them, then what is going to cause someone to think about you when they have a need that is within your practice area?
So you need to be visible.
Second: You need to be creative. I know that might make some of you cringe because you’re thinking I didn’t go to law school to be creative, and I get that.
No, you absolutely did not, not in the way that you might be thinking right now. But creativity comes in other respects. Creativity means you’re going to think of doing something different, something that cuts through the clutter, something that may be a little different, or a little bit faster, or more creatively than someone else.
It might be that you decide that you are going to host a podcast. Podcasts are very much on my mind these days because I’m helping firms with them all the way from conception of idea through launch and marketing, as well as training lawyers on how to record their sessions.
So they are very much on my mind, and you will hear me mention them a lot, but you might be thinking, alright, yes, I can be creative. I will launch a podcast.
It doesn’t have to be long and involved. It doesn’t have to be an hour. It doesn’t even have to be 30 minutes. Mine is under ten minutes. You can get in and out. You can get organized and do something creative like that.
It could be that you like video, and you pick up your phone, record a video, create a message to accompany it, something that you know is valuable because of the timing or because it’s an issue that is at hand, so you produce a really nice video, a short video, a message to people. You post that. It doesn’t have to be professionally produced, and there’s nothing wrong with being professionally produced, but you don’t need to do that today.
Think of how you can get creative.
It might only mean that graphically you produce something that is a little bit more creative than the next person so that your message comes across to those who are visual and not just those who like to read, or to listen, or to watch.
Third: You need to be patient. That’s not easy for a lot of us because we want our activity to produce results right now, or at the latest tomorrow, right? We don’t want to have to keep working at it. We want to see website visits. We want to see listens jump up all of a sudden. We want to see content that has a lot of views on it on LinkedIn. We want to see a lot of activity on our content that we put out, we want to see activity and conversation swirling around it because not only does that make us feel good (seriously, everybody gets a bit of a dopamine hit when they see that people are interacting with their content, so let’s get that one out of the way right now.)
That’s just human and there’s nothing wrong with it. It might mean that those people are consuming your content and learning something from you, or it might mean they are learning something about you and that your personal brand is being extended to more people.
So, I want you to be patient and let your tactics play out for a while before you decide whether or not they’re good or they’re bad.
The Fourth: You need to be persistent. That goes along with the last point about being patient. You need to continue to do whatever it is you’re doing. If you are hosting a certain type of event and maybe the first one’s a little lackluster, or the first one is great, and the next time you do it, it’s just meh, so so, not that many people came and you’re thinking no, I’m done because they only wanted one and nobody’s coming.
Nobody’s coming to my party anymore, and they don’t want to listen to me. They don’t want to watch me. They don’t want to read my content. There’s just no activity. So that’s it. I’m going to move on to something else.
What you need to do is be persistent, and you need to continue to remind people that you are the person that is delivering a message within your practice area. Sometimes that means that you’re also a curator of content. It doesn’t always mean that you are delivering your own content.
It often means that you are curating the intelligence and the insight of other people within your practice area, because that, too, sends a message about you and what you know.
So these four characteristics I am giving you will help complement your intelligence when building your practice.
I know your time is valuable, so I appreciate you spending some time right here with me.