Tune Up Your Business

In today’s complex business environment, the legal profession continues to experience industry consolidations, increasingly sophisticated client demands, and talent shortages.  The successful law firms are finding the best way to prepare for the future is to look inside at their talent. By looking inside and discovering their emerging leaders, leveraging and enhancing skills and competencies, firms create a motivated and energized force.  This unique culture will attract and retain new talent and clients.  

Tune up your law firm with four key strategies:  

Step 1 – Tune Up Your Seats: Now is the time to ask yourself if you have the right people in the right places. Lead your firm—make tough decisions and transition people who no longer have a place in the future of your firm. Low performers, culture misfits, and those who have outgrown their positions or your firm all affect morale and your bottom line. 

Step 2 – Tune Up Your Hiring: If you need to hire, make sure it’s the right fit. Top candidates are in high demand, and they know it. Create the right first impression with a smooth and timely interview experience. Identify the major responsibilities and expectations for the position, both short- and long-term. Assign a key stakeholder in the position to champion the recruiting process—to weed out candidates who are not a firm fit and shepherd those who are. Remember to integrate your new hire, no matter how experienced.

Step 3 – Tune Up Your Leveraging: Don’t add stress during lean times by asking your people to perform the work of several others. Serve your people, and your clients, well—or risk losing them. Utilize attorney and paralegal project staffing to manage overflow work and extra projects. Whether you need a seasoned attorney or a mid- to entry-level professional, project consultants add value to your team in skill, experience and energy. This is cost effective for the firm as it is seamless to clients and often generates revenue.

Step 4 – Tune Up Your People: Provide your attorneys and staff with opportunities to learn and grow, and it will pay dividends both for them and for the organization. Now is the time to implement a comprehensive training program to ensure attorneys, paralegals and staff enhance not only their legal skills, but their interpersonal skills as well. Your organization will be stronger and more versatile in meeting client needs, succession planning, and attracting and retaining top talent and strong clients.

How do you remain competitive during these economic times?  Make sure you have the right talent in the right places and leverage that talent.  Today’s law firms must create supportive work environments that foster employee creativity and innovation. Communicating, supporting, energizing, and training Attorneys and staff will give law firms the competitive edge they need to thrive.

The Secret is Out: Five Tips for Legal Marketer Success

A while ago, I was having a long lunch with a legal marketing friend.  Our conversation quickly turned to why the legal marketing function is still seen as a cost center in a law firm.  Some reasons my friend mentioned (the attorney isn’t a good speaker, the attorneys won’t listen to me or do what I suggest they do, the budget is limited, the resources are limited) are the most common we hear no matter the size, location or specialty area of the firm.  You, I am certain, can add even more reasons to the list. What is the commonality with these reasons? Do you notice the reasons all point out and away from the marketer?  

This thought, that your success depends solely on everyone else effectively carrying out your plan, is dangerous!  The legal marketing function has been touted as one of the most challenging areas in a law firm and remains one of the most volatile because of the mindset that there is no, or only so much, control.  Successful marketers today are careful to not fall into this trap. Guess what, we have found there is an overriding factor that is the true foundation for a marketing function’s success, YOU. The secret is out…You have control and influence over your success.

Here are five of the most critical tips that spearhead legal marketer success:  

  1. Be Visible. Stay in front of the key decision makers in the firm.  Know what the leadership is thinking for firm strategy, direction, opportunity and concerns so you can address, problem solve and creatively add value.
  2. Let Them Win.    That’s right folks.  It really doesn’t hurt you by letting a challenge to your idea come at you.  If someone else wants to be right, let them be. Instead of automatically going into defense mode, try staying open to communication while shifting the challenge slightly so it ends up supporting you.
  3. Emotional Intelligence. You have it – are you using it?  EQ has been described as the back wheel of a bicycle – the wheel that steers the power of the front wheel (likened to IQ).  Both are important to use the energy of the bike in the most efficient way. How effectively are you using your smarts, your intellect, your IQ?  Think about on a bicycle, when the gears are aligned, with the weight distribution, the pushing and pulling of the pedals, the steering – your physical energy output is minimal to get an increase in speed.  In other words, are you practicing what you preach? Do you know yourself? Do you know your strengths and possible weaknesses? Do you know how the professionals you work with might perceive you? Can you recognize who you are speaking to or working with and strategically adapt to be most effective in your communication?  
  4. Trends.  Stay up on trends both in your market and in other industries.  Bring value to your role and your firm by watching and listening to what other firms are doing and what other industries are doing.  The most cutting edge ideas in the legal environment are ideas adapted from other industries.  
  5. Be Direct.  No one knows what you do unless you tell them.  It may seem obvious to you and the truth is, it is not obvious to others.  Make it simple, easy and consistent. Numbers, facts, measures – all important to remind people what you do and have done for them lately.

Practice these five tips for 21 days to form a new habit – you will see the results, secure your position and increase the fun meter in your day-to-day!