For 10 years, I have held the belief that a lawyer will be more successful if he/she employs more entrepreneurial tactics. Initially, when I shared this concept with older lawyers and lawyers more accustomed to traditional means of practice, they shunned the thought that a lawyer should be entrepreneurial – some even stated a fear: “Why should we teach a lawyer how to run his own business? He’ll just leave us.” That is a fair concern. One reply might be: “If and when you part company, wouldn’t it be advantageous to have an ally at the new firm or company where the attorney lands?”
Despite the naysayers, I have held on to my belief. The growth of online marketing and promotion, and the advent of Social Media have expanded the conversation around legal marketing, essentially confirming that entrepreneurial law practice is the wave of the future. Therefore, over the next few weeks, I will post blog entries related to this topic to further explore what I mean and how a lawyer might adapt a practice with more entrepreneurial techniques. The posts will consider:
1. Fear. Fear of failure and fear of success. Fear of competition, fear of the unknown… Fear of what you don’t know. How perfectionism, a desirable trait among lawyers can paint you into a corner of inertia, if left unchecked.
2. Traditional feeding habits. Domesticated lawyers (i.e. those young associates inside a larger firm) traditionally receive direction and case work from the top. Yes, that occurs in part as a result of legal ethics guidelines, but how will it impact the associate’s ability to bring in firm business later in life or when they are on their own (out in the wild)?
3. Own it! If you are an entrepreneur, you know you are the business owner from day one. Successful lawyers will act as if… until they become true, independent owners of their caseloads, whether inside their original firms or engaged elsewhere.
4. Tooting your horn. Lawyers as a breed are generally competitive, yet often grapple with the promotion of their successes.
5. Deeper networking. Developing an interest in and a means to find deeper synergies with target prospects and allies.
6. “Yes, and…” This is a founding principle from the world of improv. Activate this tool and more doors will open.
7. Social Currency. Know it, love it, live it. Do it online and transfer it to real life. In a nutshell: developing personal social currency means managing and leveraging your online reputation.
As the related posts develop, I will link them back here. I look forward to your impressions.
Photo via BusinessNewsDaily.