7 Ways to Radically Improve your Career

Blog by Julian Summerhayes. 858 words.


Bill more (and some M-o-r-e).

Top line growth will always get you noticed, but don’t ignore collecting the cash. Having a slew of bad debts will just as easily attract the wrong sort of attention!

You may well opine “Easier said than done” but I didn’t say this was easy; and that is why it is #1.

Here a few pointers:

  • Begin with the end in mind and work backwards. You wouldn’t get on a train without knowing the final destination.
  • Focus on the Why, How, What of your proposition.
  • Find a USP.
  • If you can’t find one then remarkable service may well, over the long haul, pull you clear of the competition.
  • Drop clients that don’t fit your values.
  • Stop competing on price, and focus on value.
  • Embrace inbound marketing. Understand what people are searching for, and provide it in bucket loads.
  • Less is more. More clients = more billing. Remember Pareto’s principle.
  • MBWA – Managing By Wandering About (see below) should ensure that you know your clients better than they do and can add value.


Work like a demon on BrandYou.

“Carpenters bend wood. Fletchers bend arrows. Wise men fashion themselves.” Buddha

You are a brand. If you want to debate the issue, then you are missing the point. If you must get on your High Horse then revert to “reputation”. Frankly it doesn’t matter to me so long as you recognise the importance of developing you.

The key question:

  • What do you want to be?

And please, please not the limp … a great lawyer. You have to want to aspire to be the best lawyer in the World. As I said in an earlier post, the world is not defined in Darwinian terms but rather the widest circumference of influence you can conceive.


Network externally like a demon.

Don’t waste time going to every event in town. Pick and chose carefully but if you must go, then look to:

  • Speak to the group about how you can help.
  • Show an understanding beyond simply “I know the law”.
  • Look to refer as many other clients or friends to others as possible.
  • Adopt a giving mindset.
  • Stop trying to pitch all the time.
  • Listen first.
  • Seek to understand the other party before you run off your party piece.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell but make sure you know what it is you are selling. Clients don’t want to buy a Taxi meter service. They like a wrapper with a price tag.


Network internally like your life depended on it.

MBWA should be written visibly near your eye line. But don’t just open up another loop but rather walk the talk, and walk some more.

Get to know everyone in:

  • Accounts.
  • HR.
  • IT.
  • Facilities.
  • The post room.
  • All the trainees and paralegals.
  • Buy cakes, flowers and sweets more than once a year on your birthday.

If you think all this looks a chore then get out of law fast. Frankly, in the new world order you will need everyone rowing in the same direction if you are going to accelerate your career past the first marker.


Suck down.

Do I really need to say more.

Practice servant leadership.

Remember you are building a career and if you think you can get to the top by dumping on people, then you may just find that the fork in the road sends you right out the door. Yes, you might think that billing will make up for your acting up but don’t take the risk.


Embrace technology, and be the genesis of change.

To want more you have to become more, and that means staying on top of all the latest features on your computer, making yourself the Go To person for any or all technological change. And most of all showing how technology, properly used, can make the firm more – loads more – money. Yes it might mean a few less people but your strong desire to be out front, will be enough to show your true worth.


Say yes.







Childish I know but don’t look for every weasel reason why you can’t do something, even if you think it stinks. You may feel that you are being used but rarely is something a complete waste of time if you keep an open mind.


You forget about the Good Old days. Nostalgia is corrosive of your soul.

Stop talking about the past. Of course it was better but if you can cut it now, then give it a few more years and just think where you might be and what you will have learned.

Of course, this list is not definitive, but work on these all the time and you will speed past the competition. If, having committed to a life of Excellence, you find that everyone else is playing for safe or second best, then you may have to look elsewhere for your career aspirations to be met. Whatever else, you owe it to yourself not to sit there and fester but to truly make a difference. Surely you didn’t go through all that training to suffer at the hands of mediocrity?

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