In last month’s newsletter, I wrote about how the local legal market has changed since the 2008 recession. Against that backdrop, how can Mecklenburg County attorneys stay competitive? Heather McCullough & Jill Huse coach and consult with professional service providers through their business Society54, and they answer this question as follows:
As attorneys consider how to remain competitive in this ever-evolving market, they need to consider their own offering to clients – their personal value proposition which outlines what makes their practice unique. Not one attorney has the same network and knowledge – combining these two factors offers each attorney a differentiator, and to be competitive attorneys will need to understand and market this differentiation. Also, focusing on clients and their experience with the organization and with each attorney in the organization is incredibly important. Asking clients for feedback, training staff and attorneys on client experience best practices and following the client journey throughout the firm will differentiate an attorney and the organization from the competition.
Camille Stell, Vice President of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of North Carolina, offers the following:
Change is hard. Talk about change openly, honestly, and with transparency. Facts are your friends, data can be persuasive, and clients are the catalysts.
Author Adam Newhouse says in his book E-Lawyer: A Guide to Legal Practice Leadership in the Internet Age that what matters is not the latest technology itself, but rather a “new state of mind attuned to the digital environment” in which we live and work.
Build your network, think like an entrepreneur, attend a conference focused on the future of law, develop a mindset of collaboration and share experiences with other professionals to learn how they are handling challenges in their profession. To learn more about navigating the current legal landscape, I recommend reading “Law Is a Buyer’s Market” by Jordan Furlong, as well as following his blog, Law21. Reach out anytime, I love to talk with lawyers about building 21st century law firms.
Finally, MCB and MBF Executive Director Nancy Roberson sums it up nicely: “Stay connected to your colleagues and stay educated on trends.” You can leverage your Meck Bar membership to develop as Heather, Jill, Camille and Nancy all suggest:
√ Build and nurture your network (your connections). The word “networking” conjures Rick Moranis’s character in the movie Ghostbusters, throwing a party for his clients in order to create a tax write-off. Instead, think of networking as the skill of connecting with people and looking for opportunities to help each other. You can connect at a variety of upcoming MCB events: the April 10 lawyers’ luncheon series, at which Trial Court Administrator Charleston Carter will discuss his plans for his office and answer member questions; our Law Day luncheon on May 3, which will feature keynote speaker New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak; and our Annual Meeting on May 23. Sit with someone new and maintain that connection after the event. You never know when you will need your connections to help you land a client, complete a project, or find your next job (brilliantly illustrated here by career coach Bruce Kasanoff).
√ Be a lifelong learner. Want to sharpen your skills in your practice area or transition to a new one? MCB offers extensive continuing legal education with a local focus, and you may take up to six hours of CLE credit “on demand,” through online courses each compliance year. You can make your CLE more affordable by purchasing an annual pass for $365.
It’s an exciting time to be a lawyer in Mecklenburg County. Commit to doing something new this month to make the most of the opportunities before you.