Do you read books? Of course you do. Maybe you like to escape into James Patterson’s latest thriller or load a beach read into your smartphone for those precious few minutes of downtime. Many lawyers anticipate extended time for leisure reading during travel or while on vacation.
Getting Smarter With Nonfiction Leisure Reading
Perhaps you read books to improve your lawyering skills. These could be procedural books about topics like negotiation or books about substantive issues that affect your clients.
Nonfiction is not a synonym for boring. “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment” by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein explains why judges are unpredictable. “The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath teaches the persuasive importance of story-telling, whether talking to your client, a jury or a CLE audience.
Do you handle employment cases, or maybe you’re intrigued by the regular news stories about the treatment of employees in meatpacking plants and Amazon warehouses? The classic “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich can provide insight. A search for books about banking regulation referenced “Illicit Financial Flows & Worldwide Money Laundering Practices: White Collar Crimes in 2021” by K.M. Cook. A search for books about environmental regulation brought up “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” by Naomi Klein as well as “False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet” by Bjorn Lomborg. Finding books like these can open a window into views you might not otherwise see.
What’s That Got to Do With Marketing?
Like you, your clients are busy. Unlike you, their reading habits may not uncover books that could provide legal insight for their business or personal life. Moreover, they probably lack the ability to connect the legal dots. They need you to explain how these ideas impact their own situations.
Some of these books may suggest a potential new practice area. Becoming knowledgeable about a new area is a first step in expanding your service offerings.
When you read a book that affects how your clients and prospects conduct themselves, translate the core message into small bites of plain language. Explain how clients and prospects should react to the author’s view. Should they change how they do business? Maybe they need to participate in opposing the author’s proposals through their professional or community associations.
Then incorporate the summary into your marketing messages. Report your findings in an email newsletter and on your firm’s blog. Then provide links to those texts in your social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Funneling information this way marks you as an expert who stays on top of the news in your field. Being able to interpret how the information can affect clients demonstrates thought leadership. Clients look for exactly that kind of specialist to represent them.
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