As I often like to do, let me share two brief stories. The first involves a criminal defense lawyer. This lawyer represented a client who staunchly refused to allow the lawyer to call his girlfriend to testify at trial. There may have been other witness who the lawyer could have called as well; however, the client simply refused to ever discuss the matter. Here’s the problem, this client has somehow always managed to find his way out of trouble; but this time was going to be different and the lawyer knew it. This time the client was likely to spend a serious amount of time behind bars unless she could find a way to convince her client to work with her……
As you think about rezooming your legal career beware of the joy-stealers. Who and what is a joy- stealer? They are the people who, when you speak about your dream or positive events that have unfolded in your favor on this journey to rezoom, pour cold water on your moment. As you reflect on the law you would like to practice they tell you its too competitive or worse, “Well, no one would want to practice in that field so it should be wide open.”
For the past 20 years, I have worked for an insurance company that insures lawyers for their malpractice. Trust me when I say I get it. There are going to be times when an insured doesn’t necessarily agree with every decision the company must make in trying to resolve his or her claim. That’s going to happen. What I don’t get is when an insured makes a decision to prevent us from helping at all.
There may be a time when a client wants to speak directly with the other side simply hoping to move the process forward. Truth be told, I’ve been there as a client. It felt as if my legal matter wasn’t progressing as fast as I thought it should and it seemed to me that the attorneys were the ones getting in the way. I started to wonder if I couldn’t move things along by just having a one on one with the other side. So, what does a good attorney do?
Business owners, or I should say, successful business owners, know and track their key performance indicators (KPIs). At just a glance, successful business owners can see what’s working, what’s not working, and where to adjust.
As a solo practitioner, you’re a business owner and CEO, right? Of course you are. So, are you tracking these important measurements?
Solo attorneys sometimes land in an office share setting. And look, I get it. The reasons for doing so can be compelling. There’s the savings on overhead, the presence of others who can provide personal and professional support, and the list goes on. While I have no desire to quash anyone’s desire to work in such a setting, I do feel compelled to share a story; because sometimes it’s just too easy to minimize and even ignore potential problems.
Like the harassment issue many ignored for 40 years, the stigma of leaving a profession to raise a family, start a new business or write a book is often seen by the person who chose to leave the profession as something to be ashamed of, forgotten or ignored. “Me Too.”
That jolly ol’ white-bearded, chubby guy in the red velvet suit with the fur trim is a better Rainmaker than you. While his clients, children, may not be your target market, if you acquire his characteristics and take on some of his abilities to bring in new clients and make them advocates for life, you can become the Rainmaker he is.
Prospective client Diane has a complex legal issue in Illinois. Her matter will likely generate millions of dollars in revenue. She receives two referrals, one for Grace and one for Alan. Diane decides to search for these lawyers on the ARDC website (this is the disciplinary agency that regulates lawyers in Illinois) to learn more about them. Diane learns from the website that Grace does not have legal malpractice insurance; but Alan does. They have both been active Illinois licensed attorneys for 10 years. Who does she pick? Wait! This is not only not a silly question, but read the answer and the changes now being implemented for those who don’t have malpractice insurance. Illinois is leading significant changes. You’ll be glad you read this.