One of a Kind
Business plans. Marketing plans. Professional development plans. The hard drives and filing cabinets of lawyers are littered with them. For some, developing a plan is a worthwhile exercise and a means to a desired end: business development and marketing success. But for many others, the planning process becomes an end in itself. The essential next step — action — is never taken.
Why Planning Often Leads to Inaction. Inaction can result from an overly ambitious plan that doesn’t take into account time constraints. It may stem from poor planning that doesn’t align with your particular strengths and weaknesses. For example, an introverted attorney who develops a marketing plan that includes numerous speaking and networking events is unlikely to act on that plan. … READ THE REST
Nothing But the Ruth!
Talk of New Year’s resolutions has inspired me to think about lawyer stereotypes and what we should be doing to combat them. If the legal industry had a resolution, I hope it would be to work on its image problem.
In my experience, when people hear the word “lawyer,” they think “stuffy, boring, conservative, narcissistic, ambulance-chasing jerk.” For some lawyers, the depiction is completely accurate. Unfortunately, their bad reputation has spread to all of us who practice law. Most of the lawyers I’ve met — and all the ones I associate with and refer work to — don’t fit that description. And for the record, I don’t either. Having to constantly fight the stereotype is annoying. … READ THE REST
Talking Back, Part Three
The staff evaluation form lands on your desk, with instructions to return it within a week. It’s time for the dreaded annual performance review. And it’s dreaded not just by those being reviewed.
If you are giving the review, it raises anxiety because you don’t want to “be mean” (well, maybe some people do, but that’s a different subject), or you may be convinced this whole exercise is pointless because in previous years your feedback has fallen on deaf ears.
For some law firms, though, the annual review may be the only time people talk about work performance, goals or how the office is functioning on a daily basis — the only opportunity to give and receive feedback. … READ THE REST
Get to the Point
A basic rule of good writing is to make every word count. “There is,” “there are” and “it is” are the weakest ways to start a sentence. Used this way, “there” and “it” are placeholders for the real subject of the sentence. They are particularly off-putting at the start of a paragraph.
When you write, “There are three reasons this Court should reconsider its ruling,” you mean, “Three reasons this Court should reconsider its ruling exist.” Of course, you wouldn’t use this unnatural sentence format. Rather, think of the subject of the sentence (here, the three reasons) as half of a sentence. … READ THE REST
The Friday Five
As part of your law firm’s strategy, you want (ideally) to align your pricing methods, metrics and communications with your clients’ value proposition. That, of course, is easier said than done. Most firms struggle to achieve the delicate balance between the rates they need to charge and the rates clients are willing to pay. And all firms face the same fear: What if you miscalculate and lose your best clients?
Still, there comes a time when you have to increase your rates to stay profitable. … READ THE REST
Ask the Experts
Question: I read so much about lawyers engaging in social media, but I see little evidence of its effectiveness. How is social media being used by lawyers in a way that is beneficial?
For this edition of “Ask the Experts from the Legal Marketing Association,” Stacy Smith, Christina Solomon and Ian Turvill weigh in with a reality check — and good advice. … READ THE REST