I am very pleased to chair this webinar conference to air September 24th. Working closely with the conference organizers at The Commons Institute, we’ve put together a stellar group of presenters including legal practitioners and legal marketers who are leading innovation in today’s marketplace. From Law Clerk, Cris Lam who will share what she did to grow her network and bring in clients to her firm; to Bobbi-Ann Wallace, a fourth year M&A Lawyer who will share her approach to business development, and Kris Bonn, a Managing Partner will share how he continued to make rain, lead the firm, manage his people, engage his team in business development and grow his firm. We also have Jana Schilder, Managing Partner of First Principals Communication who will cover the value of media relations in growing your firm, and Susan Van Dyke of Vandyke marketing, who will cover off effectively using Social Media.
In addition to the amazing content we will cover, each participant of Raindance will receive a copy of my 2nd book, “Raindance 2: A Blueprint for Growing Your Practice, Small Firm addition”, and a one-hour coaching session with me to follow the conference. If you are looking to grow your practice or firm, this webinar cannot be missed. GO to The Commons Institute and sign up today. You can also view our YouTube video. I look forward to working with you to grow your firm.
The next step in becoming more targeted in your approach to business development is to take a look at your own values. What’s important to you? Over the years I worked with several lawyers who had to make a change. When I got in there and began coaching them, we determined that one of the reasons they weren’t excelling at business development was that their own values were not aligned with the people they were serving. And that goes for your firm as well. Are your values aligned with those of your firm?
If you’re not happy working for the people you are working for, or where you are working, there’s not much motivation to go out and get more clients of the same ilk. So consider what you value? What is important to you? Are your values and what you consider important aligned with your current clients? Are your values aligned with the firm you’re working at? If not, consider making a change for the long-term good of your career. If you’re just starting out, this is likely some advice you haven’t heard before and I highly advise you to take heed of it.
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.