When clients select a lawyer, technical skills and knowledge are the basics they expect of a good lawyer. What can take you to the next level and differentiate you to prospective clients and increase loyalty with your current clients?
After speaking with a number of key HR managers, here are several tips to take you from good to SUPER!
1. Make your clients feel valued
It takes surprisingly little effort to make a client feel important and like their needs come first, but the payoff can be huge.
Once you’ve developed a business relationship, keeping it strong might simply be a matter of staying in touch by sharing relevant articles, important industry changes, or even remembering their birthday or a significant anniversary.
These small things can help position you as a ‘trusted adviser’ rather than just another service provider waiting to get paid.
2. Remember the EQ factor
No amount of legal knowledge can compensate for a lack of emotional intelligence. We’ve all worked with people who don’t have it. And, we’re sure you can point to someone who shows immense EQ and whose business thrives as a result.
The ability to relate to your clients and your colleagues – putting yourself in their shoes – is crucial if you want to build your client’s trust. A well rounded lawyer with commercial nous – understands the ‘business’, not just the law.
3. You’re ready with creative solutions
Being able to come up with a unique solution to a problem gives you a true advantage over lawyers who are simply painting by numbers. Develop an entrepreneurial capability. Focus on business growth, innovation – not just the law.
If you don’t think of yourself as naturally creative, don’t worry – creativity is truly something that can be learned. Start with the classic guides to creativity, from Edward De Bono’s Lateral Thinking to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink.
4. Be one step ahead of your clients
You should already be staying up to date with the legal world through CPD and reading. Passion for the law is seen through being able to discuss recent cases, legislation and matters you have read. However, there are other areas where a little bit of research on your part will really put you ahead of the pack.
Do you stay on top of financial issues that affect your clients? What about the latest tech news? This doesn’t have to be a huge research project. Just checking a couple of news sources a day will get you out of Dennis deNuto territory. A quick and easy way is to go to australianlegal.community w
5. Be seen as a thought leader
This may seem like a cliché, but it is a vital skill to master if you want to play in the upper echelons of any company, law firm or government department. While some are born with great leadership abilities, every great leader has spent time developing and refining their skills.
To keep up with the latest thinking on leadership, nothing beats the Harvard Business Review. You should also be across the best management training books (try David Maister, Daniel Pink and Seth Godin).
If you really want to refine your leadership skills, you could always commit to an MBA, LLM or a short course via College of Law, FMRC Legal. If you’re time poor, check out the great short courses at Bulletpoints.com.au.
6. Offer something unique
Following on from leadership, think about the skills you have outside your legal training that make you a ‘value-added’ adviser. Clearly demonstrate your technical skills when responding to scenario or factual questions.
Maybe it’s something concrete, like being able to speak another language or having in-depth knowledge of a specialist area, such as medical devices or start up technologies. It could even be something you’ve always had an interest in but never quite managed to pursue or an interest in social justice or community. I volunteered at a community legal centre whilst practising at a large law firm. Make sure you are aligned with the firm’s culture and business values.
While it might seem like a diversion or even an indulgence, developing your skills outside what’s expected can make all the difference in the long run.
7. Sharing is caring
Share your knowledge with new starters, junior staff and those reporting to you. Being approachable and known as the ‘go-to’ person may seem altruistic but remember, the best way to learn is by teaching others. This will take you and your team from good to SUPER!