Gary Mitchell's Biz/Dev Coaching Blog
The beginning of a New Year always offers us so much hope. Hope for a new start. Hope for another chance. Hope to improve, learn and grow. Hope for whatever it is that we want more of.
That brings me to my all-time favorite quote. It comes from one of Goethe’s couplets:
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can-begin it-boldness has genius, power and magic in it”
Happy New Year! With so many people around the world saying goodbye to a very tough year, and beginning a new one with renewed hope for a better future, the concept of time comes to mind. On the treadmill the other day and watching the clock count down, I couldn’t help but remember a conversation I had with my Grandmother when I was younger. By the age of 25, I had already noticed how fast time was going by. She laughed and said, “Gary, wait till you get to my age”. She was 82 at the time. She said, “the more of life you have behind you, and the less you have in front of you, the faster it goes.”
Back to the treadmill. As the time was getting closer to my goal, it hit me. She was right. The more time I had already completed, the faster it went by.
So with this Year New Year, what are you going to do with your time today? What are you going to do with your time this year?
Change or die is an expression that’s been around a long time in the business world. Well legal industry, get used to the expression and live by it. Moving forward things will not look like it did pre-recession. Your clients will not continue to pay over-exorbitant fees. They will look for better value and be open to using non-traditional sources for their legal work. They will demand more. The insulation so to speak, is over.
If you are one of those lawyers that continues to think nothing will change, I ask you, what was your second career choice? You may need to revert to it and sooner than later. In Canada if we want to see the future of legal services, all we have to do is look south of the border and even overseas.
But this also presents abundant opportunities for those lawyers and law firms who are open to doing things differently. Go and speak with your clients before they come to you. Find out exactly what they need from you. How you can better accommodate them? What different models do you or your firm need to create?
Change or die. It’s only doom and gloom if you don’t take hede.
Good morning Lawyer X, this is your wake-up call. It’s time to re-think your career. This is not a call you were hoping to get. But let’s face the facts. Your practice is nearly dried up. Your market is flat. You are not bringing in any new clients, and you haven’t for some time. And the bottom line is there are no new clients to get. To make matters even worse the clients you do have are going away or have nothing for you to do. Yes, it’s pretty bleak. But it’s not your fault. Don’t beat yourself up, do something about it.
At the time of writing this, we are in the compensation season. And as a result, I expect we are going to see a lot of layoffs and more de-capitalization in Calgary and Vancouver in the coming months. There are a few practice areas that are feeling this pain, and basically on their last legs at many firms. This has been a long, deep and painful cycle. Your firm is unlikely to hold your life-line for much longer. And don’t think it’s any better across the street. No matter what firm you’re at, the work has dried up. The way I see it, you are left with the following three choices.
- Leave the profession and find something else
- Find an opportunity in-house
- Leverage your knowledge and experience and relationships and look for another practice area that you can apply them to
Look for my full article this month in The Lawyers Weekly where I discuss what your next steps should be if you chose #3.
Over the years I have worked with a number of lawyers who at one point in their careers either wanted to or had to take a new direction and develop a new practice area. And some of them have gone on to become amongst my most successful clients. That was the case with a client the other day. He was pretty down on himself. I asked him if he had considered adding an area or areas to his practice, and he had. I said great, then let’s get to work and build it for you. In this particular case, the slow period he is going through is really out of his control and is really about the economy and his particular practice area.
This is common and just like with any business, changes in direction sometimes need to be made. If you find yourself in this situation think about what possible practice areas would be complimentary to those which you currently serve. What other areas would you enjoy? What type of work/clients would keep you motivated? Are there any current clients that would benefit from these added services? Then as you did before, begin to build your profile in those new areas. Of course there is a lot more to it than that, that is why you hire a coach.