Insider Tips On Polishing Your Practice, Your Firm…and Your Finesse

Coach and ABA Journal Blawg 100 Honoree Ed Poll of LawBiz ® Blog has accumulated tips for profitability and success which run the gamut from hiring folks with the right attitude to avoiding what are common pet peeves when communicating with your business and social network. Today’s blog centers around the 400,000 baby boomers, some of whom work in private law firms, who will be eased out of their jobs within the next ten years.

His advice to help avoid early, unwanted retirement? The only real protection, he says, is to be a real rainmaker.  “[D]on’t let your skills deteriorate or your energy lag as you get older.”  And, no, the issue isn’t age.  “Even lawyers who are quite young can have productivity issues while ‘old’ lawyers are still going gangbusters,” he notes.

Poll also counsels you to solidify your client relationships.  And don’t give up the reins on the firm-client contact—make sure you’re the primary liaison. You might also develop a unique skill set which the firm would be hard pressed to replace.

There will come a time when you do exit, and, if you have your own firm, one way to do this is to gradually vacate the office.  Poll gives an example of an 80-year old solo practitioner who just signed a contract to sell his firm later this year.  That, says Poll, is a great way to “go”– on top, healthy (which this man apparently is) and with lots of time still left to do what one enjoys.

Meanwhile, there are a whole bunch of years left between now and that time, so what sort of habits can be buffed up a bit as you continue to grow your practice and your firm?  Let’s look at those pet peeves we mentioned earlier.  In a nutshell, here’s what not to do when you’re communicating with clients, associates and the like in the vicinity of others.

  • Don’t yell into the phone, and remember to be courteous. If you didn’t know yourself, would you like to be forced to listen in on your conversation? Use your smart phone or cell phone wisely.  Be aware of the fact that, especially if you have a voice that carries, your conversations can be overheard.  (Did you read of the fate that befell a traveler who talked for 16 hours straight in a no-talking zone on an Amtrak train?)  Poll says people who do this might be  trying to“show off their wit or importance or intelligence (and of course [end up] doing the opposite).”
  • This one really makes people uncomfortable:  people who board a plane and place orders on their cells, revealing their private credit card information to one and all.

Now back to what you can do to help your firm. According to  Poll, you must hire persons with the right attitude. It’s no surprise that studies have shown that happy employees make for happy clients.  Hire folks who have good work ethics, who are client-focused and who want to make a contribution to the firm. It helps if they’re passionate and enthusiastic, as well.  You say that these sorts of candidates don’t usually have the skills you need? Before interviewing your next applicant, you might wish to repeat Poll’s mantra on that–“Skills can be taught; attitude can not.”–to yourself.   To read more, go here:




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