“… a deep, driving desire to learn, a vigorous determination to increase your ability to deal with people.”
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Namely, there are two parts:
- A desire to learn; and
- Fundamentally, an ability to deal with people.
These principles lie at the heart of any successful legal career.
You would be unwise to weight them but they are inextricably linked, albeit that ‘people skills’ are not always as straightforward as reading a book or studying a HR manual. No, you have to apply the Tom Peters maxim (taken from his experience of writing about Hewlett Packard in his book In Search of Excellence) of MBWA [Managing By Wandering Around]; I take this to mean: staying close to the Action.
All the great lawyers that I worked with didn’t rest on their laurels and wanted to know how the business worked and could work better, rather than knowing about the law. Sorry to disappoint you but law is a business now.
They knew that they couldn’t afford to stand still and were prepared to constantly look for better and more innovative ways to provide value to the client and solve their problems.
As to the people aspect, the quickest way to develop this, apart from MBWA, is to treat your desk as the competition and make sure you get out and see some clients, prospects or referrals as regularly as possible. Nothing will sharpen up your act more quickly as face time. The more you stay at your desk or speak to your colleagues the more introverted and out of touch you will become.
If you manage to master or perfect these principles then you will stand head and shoulders above your peers. And even if at this stage you don’t have a fixed view on partnership, you will find that you lead a happier, more contented and fulfilling role in your practice.
For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on juliansummerhayes [at] gmail [dot] com or call me on 075888 15384.