August Productivity

Today reminds me of Natalie Babbitt’s opening lines in Tuck Everlasting, “The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.  The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow, a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless and hot….These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.”

It is Wednesday August 1st. Pause. Look around you. What will you do today that you will thank yourself for later?  What will you do this month that will make a difference in your career this year?

If you are motivated and open to coaching to help make changes in your practice and career, please contact me.

Your LinkedIn Profile: Is That You Speaking?

Does your LinkedIn profile actually sound like you?  Or does it sound like how you think a lawyer should sound?  Perhaps you skipped the “Summary” section completely because you don’t know what to write other than something dry and stiff.

I’ve helped hundreds of lawyers with their LinkedIn profiles and Liz Ryan’s article Seven Things Your LinkedIn Profile Says About You is spot on.  Read her advice and then look at your profile with fresh eyes.  What does your profile say about you?

Your LinkedIn “headline” doesn’t have to be the same as your current job “title”.  Your job titles don’t have to be limited to formal titles.  You can write your summary in the first person.  You can highlight work you really enjoy.  You can share your story.  (And if you don’t know your story, we can help you find it.)  You can sound like the knowledgeable, credible professional you are who people would trust, enjoy working with and getting to know.

And for lawyers at medium and large firms, revamping your LinkedIn profile often means the opportunity to rewrite and improve the stiff or clichéd language that constitutes your bio on the firm’s website.  Wouldn’t that be progress?

Please let me know when you want to get started.

How to Stop Saying “I’m Sorry”

never-apologize-sorry-daily-quotes-sayings-picturesAre you an apologizer? Do you keep saying “I’m sorry” for no reason? Quick, effective fixes from my experience coaching lawyers:  (1)  Realize that this behavior undermines your credibility and authority.  (2)  Count the number of times you say “I’m sorry” in one day. Why did you say it? Was it necessary? How did it make you look?  What would you do next time?  (3) Ask friends to call you on it every time. Have them ask you what you are sorry for.  (4) If you tend to respond to people’s comments during stressful situations with an automatic “I’m sorry”, substitute “I see” instead. Both are only fillers. It’s a patch if you can’t quit cold turkey.  (5) If you have a colleague who is addicted to “I’m sorry”, tell them to stop apologizing for things that need no apology. Tell them it undermines their credibility.  If they never thought of it this way, this feedback can work like a charm. (Note:  first ask for and get their permission to give feedback.)

Key to quitting:  realize that this behavior undermines your credibility and authority!

Please contact me if you are ready to take control of your career.

Lawyers Shy About Self Promotion — Try a Speedometer

speedometer2The assertions keep coming:  I don’t want to be braggy.  I hate talking about myself.  I’m not comfortable blowing my own horn.  I don’t want to be one of those people…you know what I’m talking about.  I can’t stand those guys who….

When I am working with a lawyer on external and internal business development and marketing, such statements are a familiar refrain.*  Contrary to public perception, a lot of lawyers hate self promotion and won’t do it.  They can’t even imagine the concept of appropriate self promotion.

One of the most effective tools to explore this concept is to envision a speedometer.  When I ask, the lawyers usually admit they are at 0 in terms of self promotion.   So then I ask if the lawyer who is always blowing his own horn is at 100, isn’t there some speed between 0 and 100 that they could go without crossing the line?  What would 6o mph look like for them?  What about 30?  Inevitably they start thinking of acceptable, fact based things they can do and say, to relevant people, at relevant times, to start moving the needle.

The funny thing is that even if these attorneys pressed the pedal to the metal, none of them would ever come close to being that dreaded braggart.  We can recalibrate their internal governor but it’s still impossible for them to go 100.  This realization gives them permission to give it a go.

Where are you on the self promotion speedometer and what is your ideal speed for 2017?  If you are ready to push yourself at least a bit more, please contact me.

*This is also a familiar refrain and challenge for lawyers preparing for job interviews.

BigLaw Partner Compensation Survey – A Few Thoughts & Advice

Major, Lindsey & Africa published its bi-annual partner compensation survey of BigLaw firms in mid October.  I answered a few questions about the partner gender pay gap in today’s Detroit Legal News column “Asked & Answered” My advice applies to women and men attorneys in firms of various sizes!

If you want to work on making more money, please contact me.

“Getting Your Marketing Plan Together for 2017” – Nov. 9 free ABA webinar

It’s Q4 and the law firm is asking you for your business development plan for 2017!  Or you keep telling yourself that next year will be the year you really break through!  Where’s your plan for that?  How will you make that happen?  What will help you execute or implement your plan this time?

Join me for a free ABA webinar on November 9 @ 2:00 p.m. E.T. where I’m one of two panelists covering the essential elements you need in your business development plan for 2017.  I believe your plan should be one page or less and it has to have specific goals you care about and actions you will actually take.  If not, you’ll have another plan to throw in the drawer with all the others, or to file away in an Outlook folder never to be touched again.  As I’ll probably say during the webinar, one of my favorite plans fits on a square Post It Note a client keeps on the mirror where he shaves every morning!  We’ll walk you through a one-pager (although not a Post It!) that you can download and start filling out during the webinar.

This webinar is produced by the ABA Women Rainmakers, but you don’t have to be a woman, a member of the ABA or a rainmaker yet to register!  Register here.  I’d love to “see” you there.

Confirmation Bias – Problem Solving Lawyers Can Have It, Too.

yes-no-buttonsTake this quiz in yesterday’s New York Times. Then consider  how a preference for certain kinds of responses may affect your behavior as a lawyer and the questions you ask in your business development activities, your client communications, your arguments to the court, relationships with your colleagues, and the way you manage your career?

If you’d like help harnessing the power of both yes and no to be an even more effective rainmaker and efficient, productive and satisfied attorney, please contact me.

Job Searching: Do You Look and Sound Like Yourself?

resumeHR consultant Liz Ryan, founder of “Human Workplace”, writes fresh, useful advice columns for people on job searches.  The other day she wrote an excellent column on ways to answer the “why do you want to work here” question. She recently wrote about how to get a job you will hate.  A cornerstone of her job search advice is what she calls a “human voiced” resume.

Take Ms. Ryan’s “human voiced” job search approaches  straight up or modify her tips to fit you.  Either way, I think you’ll find some valuable ideas you can start implementing to stand out and be more of your unique self in your search for your next job.

I know from experience with my lawyer clients that you’ll like your resume, cover letters, interviews, even your own website content and LinkedIn profile more when you look and sound more like yourself.  And yes, that includes parts of yourself that you, like many lawyers, may have a hard time seeing and promoting.

That’s why asking questions and listening for nuggets is my favorite aspect of coaching lawyers.  It’s not just about finding a new job or a better fit, having a more effective website or more clients.  It’s also about you recognizing, building on and being more of your unique, best self.  When you start doing this, more of the other good things will follow.

If you want to stand out by being more of your unique self in your job search, marketing, business development, or workplace, please contact me.

Interview Preparation: Your Questions Matter, Too

This recent WSJ article, It Pays to Ask Smart Questions at a Job Interview by Dennis Nishi, rings true with my experience with lawyers and law students preparing for interviews.trivia 3

Many of the lawyers and students I’ve worked with have previously made their own questions an afterthought in their interview preparation.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to hear:  “I never know what to ask when the interviewer asks if I have any questions for him/her. What should I ask?  What are good questions?”

To me, disinterest in spending time researching and thinking about a potential employer to formulate questions beyond those which can be answered by its website almost guarantees that an interviewee won’t stand out from other candidates.  Fortunately, it’s usually not disinterest but rather a lack of understanding about the value of digging deeper and being more curious about the employer.

After it dawns on people how their questions are opportunities to distinguish themselves, we also talk about asking questions to elicit information to help shape their own answers.  And wouldn’t you like to have that insight sooner rather than later when the interviewer finally asks if you have any questions.  Better still, weaving your questions into the interview also makes it more conversational, thus more comfortable.  What a concept!  Try it.  I think you will like it.

Therefore, I couldn’t agree more:

“‘Don’t wait until the end of the interview to ask about the job and what the employer is looking for in a candidate…  If you ask them at the end of the interview, it’s too late. You already pitched yourself to the company without knowing what they want.’ Being more proactive with questions also allows you to weave them into the natural flow of the interview conversation.”

If you would like help preparing for interviews, including questions to ask, please contact me.

Time to “Repot” Your Career?

repottingThe end of a year is a perfect time to consider where you have been and where you want to go in your legal career.  For some experienced lawyers, it may even be time to “repot” yourself.

This January 2014 article from the Stanford Graduate School of Business revisits the idea of how changing your career trajectory every 10 years or so can lead to greater innovation, success and meaning in your work.  As Dean of Stanford GSB Ernie Arbuckle said about fifty years ago, “Repotting, that’s how you get new bloom . . . you should have a plan of accomplishment and when that is achieved you should be willing to start off again.” 

If you would like to explore what “repotting” in your career could look like, please contact me.



Take Charge of Your Practice and Career!