I don’t know about you, but recently checking and responding to my email, text messages, and social media messages as a solo started to drive me a little batty. The constant demand from these requests to “read me,” “respond to me” or “look at me” along with the day-to-day tasks of actual legal work left me feeling overwhelmed and anxious. So when it came to my inbox, I started to behave like someone watching a scary movie. I covered my eyes so I wouldn’t see the scary parts.
Lawyers as a group are terrible when it comes to properly and thoroughly documenting their files! Of course, not you, but all the other lawyers out there sure are. You wouldn’t believe how bad it can get. I say this because with almost every claim handled we’re having to deal with the lack of documentation of something. This can be a serious problem because now we’re often forced to live with the reality that a word-against-word dispute between a lawyer and his or her client is in play and that rarely ends well for the lawyer. Here’s just one story that highlights the problem.
Raised with the cultural ideal of the solitary hero it can be very easy for solo practitioners to overlook one of the most significant health problems for which they are at risk, as documented by extensive studies and research.
Can you guess what it is? Isolation.
Have you ever heard the advice, “Never eat lunch alone?” That’s what they teach sales people who need to schmooze clients and referral sources in order to get new business. It’s not bad advice, but it is woefully incomplete.
It is not enough to simply go to lunch with people you like and call it networking. It’s not enough to show up at chamber of commerce meetings, bar association luncheons, and networking happy hours. In the world of networking, the “work” piece is the important part. This is how I get clients.
You can’t rezoom the practice of law without including the finer points of social media. Yet Rezoomers have gaps in their profession which makes social media even more important. You get to craft your re-entry the way you need to in order to succeed. Learn how.
Now I know there is a huge debate about whether attorneys should engage in the “practice of law” or the “business of law”. However, I think this debate misses the mark. The salient question is – how can we continue to serve our clients’ legal needs while keeping up with their expectations for business? In other words, how can we practice law and maintain the business persona that our customers expect?
“You never told me that!” Those are words a lawyer never wants to hear, but unfortunately many of us do. That’s why CYA (cover your a$$) can be so important.
Often a lawyer’s interaction with a client occurs during one of the most stressful times of the client’s life. Although it may be a routine matter to the lawyer, it may be the only time the client has ever been in this circumstance. Just when the client needs full brain power to comprehend new and complicated concepts, stress negatively impacts the client’s ability to think and remember. So put yourself in your client’s shoes and see how you can make their experience easier while covering yourself.