Welcome to The 26th: An MCB Podcast!
The 26th is intended to serve as another resource for Mecklenburg County Bar members. This podcast will be split into seasons with each season highlighting a different topic based on requests from MCB members. Our first season will focus on business development and its vital importance in the legal profession.
We would love to hear your suggestions and feedback for our second season. Please click here to suggest what our next season should focus on!
Season one: Business Development
Hosted By: Robert Ingalls
Episode Seven: Drive up Your profits with community involvement
Guest: Harrison Lord, lord Law Firm
Harrison emphasizes moving beyond formal training and being more intentional in making connections with your peers. Find an organization or group and engage yourself in activities that you care about. Just as important, Harrison stresses, is learning what projects to say “no” to.
He also recommends lawyers avoid a transactional approach to relationship-building, this is a quick way to come off as insincere and salesy. He points to soft marketing approaches as superior methods that focus on carving out intentional time to nurture relationships. Even during the COVID-19 lockdown, where face-to-face meetings are discouraged, there are an abundance of tools and groups at your disposal to build and maintain your network.
Mentorship is another topic Harrison touches on, encouraging lawyers to cultivate multiple streams of mentorship. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, and don’t necessarily need to have a legal background to provide valuable mentorship. You can often get the best pieces of advice from those outside the industry, like entrepreneurs.
At the end of the day, Harrison advises against being so hyper-focused on your marketing processes that you lose sight of what your connections are looking for and how you can help them. He also provides us with a piece of advice we can all benefit from, “whatever you do, just show up and be pleasant.”
Episode SIX: Showing up and doing good work as a lawyer with Attorney sara lincoln
Guest: sara lincoln, lincoln derr
It’s already difficult, as it is, for new lawyers coming out of law school to work their way up. There’s no shortage of competition from their peers who also want to join reputable firms and a lack of funding and resources, should they wish to establish their own firms. You also have to consider how the economic and social climate will affect your opportunities to practice. Is it possible to build your private practice during unfavorable circumstances?
This episode’s guest is Attorney Sara Lincoln of Lincoln Derr, and she shares her story on how she started her own firm even during the economic downturn in 1993, a time when firms weren’t hiring. Despite growing expenses, she was able to slowly build her practice with the help of the solo practitioners with whom she shared office space.
She talks about some strategies that have worked for her in generating leads. The biggest was building relationships early on, by being active in the local bar and proactive in taking on extra cases from other attorneys. Put yourself front and center and be involved in spaces outside of the area of law in which you practice.Networking is necessary, as well, if you want to generate referral resources, particularly if you’re in the litigation space. You can also take advantage of online marketing, especially in today’s day and age. Ultimately, for Attorney Lincoln, you have to first do a good job at practicing the law, so that you build a positive reputation with others. Demonstrating that you are a competent lawyer lets your colleagues know that you are someone that they can trust their own clients to.
You can connect with Sara Lincoln and find out more about Lincoln Derr at https://lincolnderr.com/.
Episode five: The Value of Mentorship and Becoming a Reliable Resource with Attorney Laura Noble
Guest: Laura Noble, The Noble Law Firm
In a crowded and competitive marketplace, it can be tough for new lawyers to make their mark, especially if they had their heart set on working for a big firm, and with a bigger compensation package. Some end up disappointed and settling for practicing in fields in which they’re less than passionate. While this situation may seem bleak, you can certainly do something about it! And, the best part, you can begin while you're still in law school.
Attorney Laura Noble, who heads Noble Law Firm – the largest employment firm in North Carolina – shares her story from getting burned out as a prosecutor for the DA's office to running her own successful practice.
The first step, for Attorney Noble, is to figure out what aspect of the law you're passionate and interested in and find ways for you to get into that niche. This means being open to various opportunities, even if these opportunities don't match your vision, like unpaid internships.
She also suggests seeking mentorship from seasoned practitioners in the field. Start creating connections and building relationships even during law school. There is also a need to learn business development, marketing, and how to provide legal services, not just practice the law.
Attorney Noble encourages lawyers to hone a variety of business skills and take advantage of technology, so they become valuable resources not just for other law firms, but for your own practice and clients too.
You can connect with Laura Noble and find out more about Noble Law Firm at www.thenoblelaw.com.
Episode four: How to Build a Law Business From Scratch With Annemarie Pantazis
Guest: Annemarie Pantazis, Wilder Pantazis Law Group
Many lawyers are pretty clueless when it comes to the business side of law, which is quite understandable given that law school doesn’t really include these topics in their curriculum. Even if many attorneys want to start their own practice and have more control in their day-to-day life, they take a while to do so. Most of the time, they end up employed by a law firm for the rest of their careers.
While it may be difficult, it certainly isn’t impossible to live your law life according to your own terms as proven by this episode’s guest, Atty. Annemarie Pantazis of Wilder Pantazis Law Group. She shares her journey of building her own practice and making her mark as a workers’ comp attorney, beginning from the time she got fired from a law firm, which she describes as a forward movement rather than a failure.
Pantazis discusses how practitioners can use the skills they’ve honed in law school to learn the business side of law, such as marketing and accounting, for instance. It’s important, especially in the beginning, to be visible in spaces where you won’t typically find lawyers practicing your expertise. You can also generate referral networks when you attend selected social and networking events. There is value in putting yourself out there and being genuinely interested in connecting with others.
Pantazis stresses the importance to continue to provide excellent service to your clients and do your best for them. Don’t forget to sharpen your lawyer skills as you build the business side of your practice.
You can connect with Attorney Annemarie Pantazis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-342-2243. Find out more about Wilder Pantazis Law Group at wilderlawgroup.com.
Episode Three: The Pillars of Law business development
Guest: Chris Connelly, connelly coaching
Popular media has a habit of painting lawyers in a bad light. The stereotype with the most mileage is that of the greedy lawyer that only cares about the money. However, the opposite is frequently true in the real world, and there are unfortunately many attorneys who cut their rates and sell themselves short. Perhaps this has happened to you. When you don’t get paid what you deserve, it isn’t just going to affect your personal finances, but the way that you run your practice too.
This episode’s guest is Attorney Chris Connelly, criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly, and he discusses the pillars of business development on which new and seasoned lawyers need to focus. One of these pillars is running your practice as a business, a skill many lawyers have never learned. Chris learned this lesson early in his career after working with a lawyer who ran a small private practice.
It’s essential that you end the vicious cycle of constantly negotiating with yourself, and instead value your time by demanding to be paid the agreed upon fee. You have to believe that you are worth this cost because if you don’t, clients won’t either. Chris also believes in taking care of clients first and foremost, and ensuring that you’re providing them with the high level of service worth their time and investment. Keeping your reputation intact and hiring loyal and honest people to work in your practice are also key elements of building a successful business.
Chris also shares some strategies and systems that can help sustain your firm, including getting a mentor and investing in marketing the business not only digitally but on the ground as well. Time is an exceptionally valuable resource in the business of law, so he stresses the importance of spending it wisely.
Episode TWO: Networking and Cultivating Relationships in Law
Guest: Eric Bass, Bass, Dunklin, McCullough and Smith
Besides learning to practice law, it is important for attorneys to also focus on building relationships. It doesn’t matter whether you belong to a big firm, or a smaller one that’s just starting out. The relationships that you’ve cultivated can determine whether your practice will continue to thrive in the industry.
Attorney Eric Bass from Bass, Dunklin, McCullough and Smith talks about relationships as an important aspect of business development in law in this episode of The 26th. He emphasizes the importance of figuring out who your target clients are, particularly for new lawyers. And once you know who they are, find ways where you can interact, mingle and create connections with them, that can eventually turn into long-term business relationships. He encourages joining groups and networking events, where you can not only expand your social circle, but get to know them and their needs too. Find out which ones you’ll be attending based on your target clients and potential referral sources too.
Attorney Bass also stresses that besides enriching your personal relationships, it would be a great idea to also try and be a bridge between people who may need each other’s services. Be a hub that connects different people, and you will be remembered for it. Additionally, it would be to your advantage to seek mentoring from more seasoned attorneys. If your firm doesn’t have a program in place, then you can ask for help! Most of the time, lawyers are willing to extend a helping hand.
For Attorney Bass, you should be concentrating on the right clients and you have the option of letting go of the wrong ones. Time is important especially in the industry, so make sure that you are being efficient with your time as a lawyer.
Episode One: Building and Sustaining Your Law Practice
Guest: MCB President Chris Lam, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
One of the most important things that a majority of law schools still don’t teach their students is the business of law. Acquiring clients and maintaining relationships with them are issues that new and even seasoned lawyers base. And while many have partners and mentors they can rely on, oftentimes, associates are clueless as to where to begin.
The 26th’s inaugural podcast episode features Attorney Chris Lam, president of the Mecklenburg County Bar and trial lawyer at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. Attorney Lam discusses the many challenges and ways to build and manage your law practice better. One of the major keys in successful business relationships in the industry is to be responsive and communicative with your clients and associates. This helps build trust, reliability and confidence that you can be relied upon.
Connect with your peers in the industry, regardless of which firm they’re with or what field of law they’re practicing, by being intentional and sincere in building relationships with them. It’s not only great for general networking, but having a friend or two in the business helps as well.
For newly inducted lawyers, it’s especially important to hone your legal capabilities first and learn how to practice the law. Show that you can do the work effectively and that you have the competency and expertise that they require.
Attorney Lam also shares some tips and best practices that can help grow your practice through relationship-building. He stresses that patience is essential as this process is a long-term strategy, just like sowing seeds and waiting for the harvest time to come.