What Every Lawyer Needs To Remember (And How To Remember It)

What to remember: Names and faces

Whether it’s shaking the hand of your client’s wife at a Christmas party or with your first-year associates in the office hallway, law firm professionals meet and greet a lot of people.

And, studies show that leaders who remember the people they’re leading are more effective, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR) Blog.

How to remember: Repetition and association

Majid Fotuhi, M.D., chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness and an assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, offered Forbes Magazine a few tricks for remembering faces and names.

“The first step is to make an effort. When you meet someone new, confirm that you have heard and can pronounce the name correctly. Then ask how it’s spelled and if it means something or has a cultural history,” explained Dr. Fotuhi.

“To really cement it in your brain try to use it, either by introducing the person by name to someone else or by using the name to direct a question to them. Nathan, do you live in the area?

Most people have mastered the trick of remembering names. The more you use a person’s name—say, to address them—the more you remember. But, what about faces?

To do this, Dr. Fotuhi pinpoints a unique or distinguishing physical feature. It can be a prominent nose, celebrity resemblance, or combination of two.

“The more ridiculous, the easier it will be to remember,” Dr. Fotuhi advices Forbes.

What to remember: Your pitch to a client

You have the chance to pitch to a new client. You know that this potential client is soliciting multiple firms. Not only should your pitch stand out, it should be practice perfect.

How to remember: Practice

Although not a memory trick, practice does, in fact, make perfect.

So, write out key points or a script. Read through your notes several times in advance. Then, choose family members or colleagues with which to practice.

Don’t let these helpers go easy on you, either.

“Research has established that fast, simple feedback is almost always more effective at shaping behavior than is a more comprehensive response well after the fact,” according to an article by the Wall Street Journal.

“Better to whisper ‘Please use a more formal tone with clients, Steven’ right away than to lecture Steven at length on the wherefores and whys the next morning.”

So, when your practicing your pitch, make sure your fake audiance is correcting you at every step.

Also, leave your notes at the door. Not only are presentations more engaging when the speaker makes eye contact, but they are also easier memorized ad lib. This means, you’re not memorizing words or phrases, but ideas.

If there are a few key ideas or information that must be communicated, use a pneumonic to remember them by. Don’t leave practice for the last minute. Not only will practicing in advance increase your confidence, it will increase your chances at delivering it with perfection.

The more you practice, the more you’ll realize that memorizing is just a trick. The key to a perfect pitch is being perfectly prepared to give it.

What to remember: Filing deadlines

Remembering deadlines for filings is the most basic requirement in the practice of law. And yet, with all the other client meetings, internal deadlines, and various obligations that a law firm manager faces, it’s hard to keep on top.

How to remember: Technology

Contrary to the previous points, the best way to remember important legal deadlines is the computer. Don’t trust your assistant or younger associates to write them down.

Download a iPhone, Blackberry, or Droid app that will keep track of your to-do list and deadlines. Get in the habit of setting alarms, calendar alerts, and other electronic reminders for even the littlest, daily detail.

After all, the one thing a professional—and certainly every attorney—is never without is his phone.

-WB

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