What Makes A Great Lawyer?
Ever wonder what makes a great lawyer? Is it superlatives? Pedigree? Or something else? I wanted to share a few thoughts on why the attributes that make great lawyers are also those that make great legal marketing.
Ever wonder what makes a great lawyer? Is it their credentials? The firm they work for? The cases they handle?
Sure, great lawyers probably have the accolades, the superlatives and titles that you would associate with, well, great lawyers.
However, lawyers who receive those recognitions earn them over years of hustle, self-improvement and grit. They have developed hard skills and deep legal knowledge. But they also have soft skills that are often hard to quantify - especially when talking to prospective clients.
I recently read an article on what makes a good lawyer by author, speaker and blockchain strategist Olga V. Mack. I wanted to share some of those thoughts here on our blog and offer our perspective on why the attributes that make great lawyers are also those that make great legal marketing.
Practicing empathy for clients is difficult. Empathy requires you to step into your client’s shoes to understand their perspective. Empathy also requires you to think beyond your own concerns, wants and needs.
Showing empathy toward a client is a powerful way to build trust at the beginning of an attorney/client relationship. Additionally, empathy allows you to understand your clients concerns and address those concerns throughout the process, leading to more effective representation.
Ask yourself, are you currently practicing empathy in your day-to-day interactions with clients? Are you able to set aside your own views to see matters as your client sees them? Do you listen to your client’s concerns? Do you validate your client’s emotions? By baking empathy into your law firm’s culture, you can ensure that your clients’ voices are heard.
Moreover, empathy can be a powerful marketing tool. Even before you meet a client in person, your marketing can demonstrate empathy for their situation through your content, website and other marketing materials. By focusing on the needs, concerns and aspirations of your client, rather than your own superlatives, you will be able to win trust with prospective clients before the pick up the phone.
Are you passionate about what you do? Serving your clients? Running a law firm? Lawyers that are able to define their purpose demonstrate commitment to their cause regardless of obstacles that stand in their way. They have more drive, demonstrate clearer decision-making, and inject energy into their professional relationships.
As a lawyer, it is incredibly important to define your mission and be passionate in your pursuit of it. Serving your clients and your community - always putting others before yourself - can be incredibly taxing. Leading a life of purpose can help you blast through stumbling blocks, persist through difficult times and stay focused on your mission - ultimately delivering better value and service to your clients.
You should demonstrate passion in your law firm marketing as well. The author Simon Sinek tells business owners, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Think about it. Why should someone buy legal services from your law firm over another? If all clients see are a bunch of suits boasting about big wins and credentials, what is going to be the differentiator that sends them to your office?
Clients want to work with lawyers who actually want to work with them. By demonstrating passion in your marketing and the delivery of legal service, you can set yourself apart from other attorneys in your market who either exhibit apathy or who are unable to demonstrate their passion through their words and actions.
As lawyers, we all took the LSAT. We sat through three years of law school. Then, we studied for months to pass the bar exam. Even as practicing attorneys, we are required to complete continuing legal education credits each year.
But that is the bare minimum that is required to be a lawyer. Becoming a great lawyer requires continual personal development as well.
The best lawyers I have had the opportunity to work under as an attorney, interview as a journalist or serve as a marketing professional are in perpetual motion. They are reading books that help them understand human behavior. They seek out mastermind groups to become better professionals. They schedule coffee with mentors. They pursue hobbies and passion projects outside of work. They carve out time for self care. They, like you, may even be reading this blog post!
Self-development not only helps you become a well-rounded human being, but it trickles into your professional life as well. When you focus on personal growth, you gain perspective, wisdom and judgement. This not only helps you improve your service to your clients, but it can be manifested in your marketing as well. Demonstrating depth - revealing your character - through videos, social media, content and personal relationships is an investment of time and energy with long-term ROI.
Self-management is the ability to manage your time, stress, finances and relationships. As anyone who has practiced law can tell you, self-management is not easy. Lawyers are forced to juggle the needs of their clients, the availability of opposing counsel, court dates, filing deadlines, student loan payments, family obligations and about a million other things that unexpectedly fall into their laps day after day.
The ability to stay positive, stay focused on the work ahead and work through difficult situations is the mark of a great attorney. Those that are able to prioritize what is most important to them, find balance and maintain perspective - even in the face of adversity - are able to persevere and continue to deliver exceptional service to their clients.
“Creative” is probably not an adjective most people would use to describe lawyers, but I beg to differ. The best lawyers I know are also the most creative. Sure, they aren’t producing works of art, but they are continually finding solutions to problems that are elusive to most.
Though we don’t often talk about creativity in the law, we practice it every day through convergent and divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is a process that explores multiple possible solutions in order to generate creative ideas. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, focuses on figuring out the most effective answer to a problem.
Without realizing it, lawyers use these creative thought processes to uncover hidden sources of recovery for their clients, develop innovative strategies for their clients and protect their clients from unforeseen threats.
So talk about your process in your marketing materials. Tell your referral sources and prospective clients how you tackle tough problems. Even if you have never written a line of poetry in your life, it is time to start thinking of yourself as a creative.
In ancient Greece, Nomos was the personification of the law. We believe that lawyers are the modern day embodiment of that ideal. Our mission is to make the law more human by focusing on character rather than superficial superlatives.
If you would like to learn more about what we do, contact us today to discuss your needs. We’ll walk you through our process and offer advice on how to get started.