Please accept my apologies for writing a little late this month, a side effect of Sandy and Athena. Needless to say, I was first a wifi vagabond and then knee deep in snow. Those two women were very difficult to deal with here in Northern Westchester!
Before the storms hit, I attended the ABA Law Practice Management – Women Rainmakers Mid-Career Workshop in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I wanted to write and tell you a little about what I learned there and how I Walked my Talk.
The title of the conference was Reaching the Next Summit – Challenges and Choices for Designing Your Ascent! Isn’t that what Rezoomers do each and every day as they return to the practice of law? I said I attended the Women Rainmaker’s event, but in reality as I Walk my Talk, I should say, I attended, worked and helped create the program that 60+ women attended and thrived within. The title and topics covered were in perfect harmony with the issues confronting Rezoomers. I thought it would be important to explore a few of my takeaways from the meeting. ‘Walking our Talk,’ as Rezooming Attorneys or Women Rainmakers, can be a Challenge and Choice as we Design Our Return To The Law.
As a Rezoomer, decide what track you want to take as you embark on your journey. Do you prefer a large firm, small firm or solo practice? Whichever track you choose it serves your Rezooming purpose to find a ‘hands on’ Personal Board of Directors (PBD) from a pool of likeminded colleagues. Don’t know where to find them? As I have said before in my prior post, Belly Up To The Bar (Association), look for a local business-networking event or Bar association program in your field of interest. If that doesn’t appeal to you then go general, look for a group you gel with, like General Practice, TIPS, Environmental, Women Rainmakers, Women Advocates or Women in the Law, on a National or State level.
As you participate with your PBD, you will share experiences, mentor one another and compare methods of practice expansion that have worked. Ideas and processes will be easily exchanged. If you create a PBD and nurture these connections you will thrive, even in a depressed economy, because you will be hard pressed to remain stagnant with this supportive group helping you think outside the box!
As a solo participant in such groups, I’ve learned how to pitch and brand my practice and then share what I learned. In the market you need to create a buzz and desire for your services. By working in small PBD groups you will find the correct pitch, give/get feedback and road test your 30-second elevator speech. These groups are priceless because of the spot on input you receive from your peers and mentors.
Walking the Talk requires Rezoomers to get out of their comfort zone by setting goals for a month, a quarter, a year and then working toward those goals with single-minded purpose. A speaker at the Women Rainmakers Summit used the terms, “plow horse and show horse.” Each described how we approach work and marketing. One toils all day, never getting out to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The other is out gad flying about, never building a strong foundation from the outset. As Rezoomers, we are more like the plow horse; we have lived a different life and are now returning to the practice of law. We probably need a little kick in our ‘show-horse’ butt to reap the benefits of all we have done while we plowed the row to Rezooming the law.
My fellow Rezoomers, be a show horse for the rest of the year. Find the group that speaks to you and attend their holiday party. If you do what I suggest you will receive pure magic in return. The PBD you create will be comprised of the colleagues you feel you can rely on for input and critique and who will value your input, probably more than you may ever know.
Walking Your Talk is not only about taking full advantage of that which will get you where you want to go, it is about giving back as well. You need to commit to providing value to the others in your PBD in the form of experience-based knowledge. You might feel awkward at first because you think you are not smart enough or because you are just Rezooming your legal career. That is all the more reason to stop being a plow horse and kick up those heels, show them what you bring to the table. I have found when I get out there and stop hiding behind my plow horse security blanket I am rewarded and enlightened.
As I Walk my Talk I’d like to convey a single, consistent message.
Get involved with groups that will enable you to create your own Personal Board of Directors.
By making these valuable contacts you will be assured to receive honest feedback, on everything, from your pitch to your purpose, from similarly situated colleagues.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.