Choosing the r-i-g-h-t work

How many times have you heard the expression: “Work Smarter Not Harder [dummy]?”

There is certainly merit in focusing on the 20% of your time that produces 80% of your results, but when every day looks the same, how much insight do you truly possess?

The system is partly the solution, but they haven’t yet found a computer programme that will wade through a slew of documents and come up with the right¬†answer. It requires intellectual insight.

Selection of the right work is not easy when it doesn’t exist.

But how proactive are you?

Apart from the usual bunch of Business Development methodologies – cross-selling, up-selling, niche/vertical marketing, packaged products and fixed prices – how much of your time is currently spent identifying the work and or the clients that truly float your boat?

Can beggars ever be choosers?


But putting our your bowl and expecting to be picked won’t cut it.

As I said in my earlier post, in a moment the idea of “Pick me” will seem a distant memory.

Have you got your script worked out for these fundamentals:

a) Why are you in business?

b) What do you do?

c) Why should I instruct you or your firm?

d) What makes you or your firm different to your nearest competitor?

e) I can’t afford your service?

f) What’s in it for me if I refer someone to you?

g) Are you truly passionate about the work you do?

Now is n-e-v-e-r the time to be ditching the work, but as we approach a new epoc in the legal world, you have to focus like never before on what truly floats your boat. Previously you weren’t that bothered about the work – it was too easy by half – but now any work seems like good work.


Focus, focus, focus not only on the work that will make you a tidy profit (and some more) but focus on the work the literally lights up your day. This is not fantasy stuff. Having recently met with a litigation partner who has been at the coal face for at least 30 years, I could see that as soon as I mentioned one area of work, her eyes lit up and, without any prompting, she was off, as if her practising career depended on it (it didn’t by the way because she is very successful at what she does). It was magical to me.

You may think “So what” but long gone are the days in legal practice where you can turn up to work, put your blinkers on and just do your work. You have to go to work on building something, and winning work that will sustain you through the bruising battles – internal and external – that you will face.

Next time you are installed in any planning meeting, make sure you come prepared to say what you really, really want to do. Don’t compromise. Think of it like doing Art. No one, and I mean no one, is going to buy something that isn’t invested with your soul. It will be no better than buying an Athena print of old.

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