If you want to succeed as a lawyer, one thing you need to worry about is this: how will you stand out from all the other lawyers?
Different lawyers have different answers to it.
Some have white hair and decades of experience, which inspires confidence.
Some have worked on a host of very important matters that were reported widely in the media, and their skills have become well known in the legal industry and even outside.
Some have worked with top chambers or law firms with recognizable names or represented celebrities, so you can feel confident that they must be quite good at what they do.
Some have their chambers located in posh areas, invested in interior decorations that communicate how successful they are, and drive cars that impress potential clients.
Some have developed extensive professional networks, and have thousands of trusted colleagues who will vouch for them.
Others have written books and articles that communicate their knowledge and authority in a legal subject.
Some lawyers have amassed huge social media following, and their commentaries and observations are appreciated and amplified by tens of thousands of followers.
Some lawyers try to get degrees from top universities of the world to communicate their merit.
Whatever you do, communicating to the larger world that you are good at what you do is quite important for lawyers.
How will you do it?
While a lot of lawyers believe that they have to stand out by collecting accolades, privileges, and acclaim, it is not always the easiest way to achieve success as a lawyer. That works too, but it will take a long time, a lot of resources and if you are a young lawyer you are at a great disadvantage.
You would want to play to your strengths.
The easiest way to the heart and the purse of the client is through empowering the client.
What do I mean by empowering a client?
How can you make it easier for the client to access your service?
Can they get updates about their matters without having to call you and chase you for updates? Can you offer them a detailed, written roadmap at the outset that helps him to understand all the various options before them? Is your website very easy to use and communicates your USP and brand value clearly? Can they get their invoice in a timely manner and do not have to follow up too many times to get it corrected if there was a mistake? If they wanted to speak with someone, do you have a secretary or a junior to answer those calls and take a message while you are busy in the court or in a meeting?
If they are going to discuss private and sensitive issues with you, do they get the feeling that their secrets are safe with you? Do you speak with them in a soundproof chamber or a very private environment that gives them that confidence? Do you communicate with them on apps like Signal that are known for privacy and security?
Can you do something to educate and inform the client better than any other lawyer? For instance, can you share useful links to youtube videos and blog posts, or give them a handbook that helps them to understand what they are facing?
Do you keep in touch with them around the year? Do you send newsletters and communications that continue to pass on valuable and relevant information and updates?
Can you offer better payment terms (not only a lower price)? Can you do something so that financing the case becomes easier for the client? For instance, can they pay online? Can they pay for your services with a credit card? Can you connect them with a finance company so that they can get a loan or pay in installments maybe?
Can you make it easier for them to trust you and choose you by offering to do some initial part of the work for free so that they could experience how efficient and good you are to work with?
Another lawyer may have all the accolades, experience, great standing at the bar and fancy cars, but if you care more for the clients, and this is visible through how you treat them and the systems you build to make their lives better, clients will prefer to work with you.
Great lawyers do this intuitively. A partner of one of the big law firms once told me how he would make sure every time a foreign client was visiting him in Mumbai, his secretary sent out a mail explaining Mumbai’s traffic situation, best windows for traveling from the airport to his office to avoid the peak traffic, how to find his office, where to park the car, and a map of Mumbai roads (this was pre-google maps era).
I can’t think of a better way to show your clients that you care and that you are detail-oriented.
What can you do to make your client’s life better? Do you ever think of it? Do you ever hold a meeting with your colleagues to brainstorm about that?
Oh, how can I forget! Sometimes, the simplest way to find out what clients want but are not getting is to ask them. Do market research. Ask them what their pet peeves are while dealing with lawyers. What practices by lawyers do they hate? What causes clients headache and heartburn?
Ask real clients. Take them out for coffee, or just call up, but do not ask for work. Tell them you want to build a better kind of law practice, and you want to know what you can do differently. You want their suggestions. Ask open-ended questions and help them to open up.
The more you listen to your existing or potential clients, the more you will know about how to empower them further and what they actually value.
Even if you are an employee working for someone else or a law student, it is never too early to think about it. What kind of practice will you run? Who will be your clients? What will you do above and beyond what other lawyers do? What kind of machinery do you have to build to do it better than all the others?
Why wait for the day you start your practice.
You can start it today. Consider that your boss is your client, no matter whether you are doing an internship or a job. What can you do above and beyond what all other employees are doing? How can you make your reporting managers live easier?
Why not ask them for some time and have a conversation about it? Nobody hates it if you sit down and genuinely ask what you can do to make their lives better and easier.
In fact, this is always the quickest and easiest way to stand out no matter where you are.
In that spirit, let me ask you today: what can we do better for you? Is there something we can do for you to make your lives easier? Respond and let me know.
And before I go, here are the courses which are open for enrollment. Enrollment will close in exactly 7 days, so check them out quickly:
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Check out our other executive courses which can be helpful:
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- Knowledge about Banking & Finance Practice: Contracts, Disputes & Recovery is essential for every BigLaw layer, you can check that out too.
Also, you do not want to miss these very affordable workshops:
Beat COVID Crisis And Recession: How Can You Get 2 New Clients Every Month And Earn An Additional 50,000? | Fee: INR 500 | Last date of enrolment: August 25, 2020, 3 pm | Duration: 2 Days | Timing: August 25, 2020: 7 pm – 10 pm; August 26, 2020: 7pm – 9pm | To enroll: click here.
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