Eating Your Way To Success

There is an easy way and a hard way to develop a good client base in the legal profession. The hard way is to work extremely long hours and be phenomenally good at what you do. I have met a few people who have done it this way, but not very many.

In fact, I have met some people who have done both of those things and still been reliant upon other lawyers to bring in the clients.

The easy way is to make friends. In my case, that meant three things – going to a lot of lunches, opening up to people and listening to them.

Accountants were my best source of referrals. I often said that I would rather go to 100 lunches with one accountant than one lunch with each of 100 accountants. After a few lunches with the same accountant, we would be friends and client referrals would flow. After one lunch with a new accountant, I was unlikely to recognize them if I passed them on the street a month later.

At each of these lunches I would talk about my personal life. For example, I would often share the story about how my domestic reorganization came about. Some of my lunch dates might react poorly to that – perhaps their marriage had ended in a manner similar to mine, and they did not want to be friends with someone who had done something like what their ex-spouse had done, or perhaps they just thought that personal things should be kept personal.

Others would react very well – happy to get to know me on a personal level and now feeling free to share things about their own lives.

But all of them would remember me because I wasn’t just another lawyer pitching them for their business and telling them that my fees were reasonable, and the quality of my work was great. Having related to potential referral sources or clients on a personal level often resulted in new client relationships.

As I have often coached junior lawyers, competence is usually assumed, especially by people who are not a member of the same profession. Typically, I assume that the doctors, dentists, and engineers who I meet are competent. In fact, the less that I know about their profession, the more likely it is that I will assume that they know what they are doing when I meet them. I am somewhat less likely to assume competence in an accountant because I have a better idea of what they do, and I am never going to assume competence in a lawyer unless I have had a good discussion with them about their technical knowledge and how they practice.

Since my potential referral sources and clients are often going to assume that I am competent unless I give them reason not to, they are likely going to choose me to be their lawyer based on other criteria, such as whether they like me when they meet me. And they are never going to know whether they like me unless they know something about my personal life.

Of course, I always had one or two “legal” things to share to prove that I wasn’t just a pretty face.

My conclusion, although admittedly based only on my own observations, is that those intensely private people who like to keep their personal and private lives separate or who believe that it is not appropriate to discuss personal matters with strangers, will have more difficulty establishing a good client base, no matter how competent they are. Of course, they can always try to do it the hard way, by working long hours and being brilliant.

None of this is to say that you can be incompetent and hold onto clients once you have attracted them. Eventually, the truth will out. However, sharing my life experience with interesting people was both fun and profitable, and a welcome break from drafting documents.

Finally, no story about marketing by having lunch can neglect to mention my personal lunch hero, an accountant at BDO who was famous for scheduling two lunches every day. Salad with the first client; main course with the second client. You know who you are.

Murray speaks about the legal profession from the safety of retirement, offers private courses in business law and mentors young lawyers. Learn more about him at Law & Disorder Inc.

4 Mantras that Gave Me Confidence & Focus to Start My Own Law Firm

I created this post-it in 2018 when I was devastated that I didn’t win a particular award 🤦‍♀️ I felt rejected, not good enough, and needed to focus. I was trying to convince myself that I didn’t need any external awards to accomplish what I wanted to do (I was right).

I still have this post-it on my nightstand. It keeps me focused on my goals and objectives, + pushes me to keep working hard.

👑 1️⃣ VALIDATE YOURSELF. Self-validation is what allows you to accomplish your dreams. You have to believe in yourself and your vision. All that matters is that you are accomplishing the goals and journey you feel called to do - not what others think about them.

👑 2️⃣ BEGINNER’S MIND By having a beginner’s mind, you are never afraid to try new things + ask difficult questions, which are critical to business growth.

👑 3️⃣ TAKE THE TICKET. When you are accomplishing more than you have ever imagined, sometimes you should just “take the ticket” + be willing to receive. We can be our own worst enemies - talking ourselves out of good opportunities, or thinking we aren’t deserving of something. If a good opportunity presents itself to you, don’t talk yourself out of it - step up to the plate + receive it. You do deserve success + fulfillment. You deserve the best of what the world has to offer.

👑 4️⃣ PASS THE TEST. We all want to rise to the next level and achieve success in our lives. But before you can get to the next level, you need to pass the tests right in front of you. You need to master the level you are at to get to the next step.

This guest post above is by Katie Lipp, the Founder & CEO of Law Practice Queen, where she coaches female lawyers on business development, to achieve more power, flexibility, and control in their lives. Katie also runs her law firm, Lipp Law, in the Washington DC metro area. To stay connected with Law Practice Queen, check out their monthly newsletter with business development tips for lawyers.

Today, Faren Bogach, a BigLaw partner made a post tiled My Great Resignation on LinkedIn. In it, she talks about how this is her last week in BigLaw. A little bit lower on, she says, “Thanks Dhawal! You were so helpful to me in this process and I am so happy that I signed up for Build Your Book. As you said recently there is one day or someday and today! I chose today!” Having this type of confidence to venture out on your own comes with having a strategy. That’s something we teach and help you implement in our 8 week workshop. Will you choose today to sign up for the Authentic Business Builder?

💊 pills And Potions🧪

Most people are looking for pills and potions for their issues.

Let me take a quick diversion to the world of healthcare.

According to the most rigorous analysis of risk factors ever published—the Global Burden of Disease Study—the number one cause of death in the United States, and the number one cause of disability, is our diet, which has bumped tobacco smoking to number two.

What we eat is the number one determinant of how long we live. What we eat is what determines most whether we’ll die prematurely. What we eat is what determines most whether we become disabled or not.

Unfortunately, most doctors are just never taught about the impact healthy nutrition can have on the course of illness, and so, they graduate without this powerful tool in their medical toolbox.

Back in 1980, less than a quarter of medical schools required a single course on nutrition. Today… only a quarter of medical schools require a single course on nutrition.

Out of this small group, doctors get about 24 hours of nutrition on average, with most getting only 11 to 20On average, out of thousands of hours of preclinical instruction. (source)

It certainly wasn’t in my wife’s or my brother-in-law’s medical education.

This is mind boggling!

It’s no wonder that most people rely on pills and potions. Stand at any check-out counter, and you will see covers that promise you that you can lose 10 lbs in 30 days! Doctors are ill informed (pun fully intended) about this topic themselves and don’t really have the time to counsel people about this either.

Back to the practice of law.

Most lawyers (not our loyal readers of course!) will continue seeking the pill. The shortcut. Quick hacks to build your practice perfectly–now!

Much of the content out there–the skinny detox teas of the Biz Dev training world–are also focused on these quick hacks.

Investing in your health takes conscious effort, but the results are far more satisfying and long lasting.

Similarly, investing in building your practice authentically takes conscious intention. But the rewards are far more satisfying. There’s a reason why our Authentic Business Builder is 8 weeks long and not focused on “quick hacks” (even though almost everyone recoups the cost of their investment in our course during the course itself).

We’re in the business of selling lasting change, positive habits, and a different look at the world. Of course the skills to get included are part of the course as well.

In this new year, choose to invest in making lasting change…both in your diet and your practice.

If you’re much more interested in an Evidence Based approach to health, check out this incredible talk with sources aplenty by Dr. Michael Greger MD FACLM: Preventing & Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet.

This is the last week to register for the Authentic Business Builder course starting this coming weekend. If you’ve been delaying it, do it now.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

What system of thinking do you operate at?

Daniel Kahneman won a Nobel Prize in helping us understand that we have two systems of thinking.

System 1: It’s fast, emotion driven, instinctive. System 2: Slow, deliberate, methodical.

Of course System 1 rules us most of the time. But in case you didn’t notice, it rules your clients as well. Yes, even the business owner, or the CEO.

This has startling implications for building your practice.

On one hand, this means that you cannot rely on gut reactions and feelings to work with clients. It requires skill and finesse. It requires deliberate practice. It requires systems and frameworks.

You cannot just “shoot from the hips” to get that client to work with you. You cannot just “hope” for the other person to take the next steps. You cannot fool yourself into saying, “I’m already good with people” if your results don’t really bear fruit (a common cognitive bias).

The only way to deal with your System 1 thinking is to rely more on System 2.

Of course on the other hand, you need to satisfy both systems for your client.

You need to connect with them at a real human level. You need to satisfy their true emotional needs behind them coming to you. Yes, with the right deliberate process, you can unearth this. You need to, in other words, be authentic so they can trust and respect you.

But it’s not enough to say “authentic” and leave it at that. Authentic is a system, it’s a framework. It’s deliberately crafted.

Do you engage both systems in building your practice? Guiding your associates? How do you do it?

Being deliberate is what we’re all about. Whether it be running a client meeting with deliberate intent, or catching up with a friend.

The first and last skill we teach (through actual application in the form of case studies, real conversations, etc) is how to be deliberate in your human interaction.

This skill alone pays for the cost of our 8 week cohort for many people. Sign up for the January 2022 Authentic Business Builder cohorts with the 2-3 spots left if you’d like to start being deliberate in the new year.

The Line Between Pest And Persistent

There’s a fine line between being a pest and being persistent.

You are much further away from it than you think. Most of you are very far away from being a pest.

People are coming back from the holidays. Now is the time to pick up the phone, draft up that email, and reach out again.

For the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th time if needed (especially if you never got a response back!). Data shows that nowadays, it takes up to 5 emails to get a response in some industries.

In other words, you’re not being a pest by following up.

Pests are those people who:

  • are self-serving in each message.
  • care nothing about contributing to the other person.
  • only care about their own agenda.
  • don’t show any empathy.
  • have forgotten key details from previous conversations
  • never even tried to understand the other person at a personal level in previous conversations.

Ironically, this seems to be the laundry list of most law firm client presentations. No wonder they have such a low hit rate or effectiveness.

For those with a pest mindset, this year will be harder than ever before.

Focus on contribution, on creating value for others. For those who are persistent in the right way, this year will reward them richly.

We are running a webinar titled Designing Your BD Gameplan for 2022 tomorrow. It’s free and it’s meant to be fast paced and practical. I hope it helps!

Talking about persistence, it would be out of place if I didn’t mention the Authentic Business Builder course. We’re starting it up later on this month. We know it makes a huge difference and that’s why we persistently bring it up. So if you’d like to be a lot more deliberate about how you build and grow your practice, now is the time to invest in this program.