Secrets to a Successful and Happy Law Practice

Secrets to a Successful Law Practice blogSubstantive legal knowledge and good law school grades are not enough. If you want to have a thriving legal career, you must be able to engage the people around you – from clients and prospects, to colleagues and partners, and perhaps the public at large. More importantly, you need to know how to “hit the ground running” with skills that aren’t taught in law schools.

In this presentation, Ann Jenrette-Thomas, co-author of The Happy Law Practice and founder of Esquire Coaching will teach you how to:

  • cultivate workplace savvy so you can stand out from the crowd, get better assignments, and develop key relationships,
  • think like a rainmaker so you become an invaluable asset to your firm and secure future success, and
  • act strategically so you can leverage your actions with less stress

Presented by SABA-DE (South Asian Bar Association of Delaware)

Hosted by

Skadden

One Rodney Square, Wilmington, DE

Monday, July 21, 2014

Noon – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch provided. Registration is free.

Please RSVP by July 14th to info@EsquireCoaching.com

Staying the Course When You Decide to Go Solo

Susan-Cartier-Liebel

Susan Cartier Liebel, Founder and CEO of Solo Practice University

When you first commit to the whole concept of entrepreneurship, starting a solo practice, you are simultaneously ecstatic and frantic and giddy and fretful.  Once the decision is made, though, it seems you can’t get started soon enough.  You want to realize your dreams of self-employment, the autonomy, and the flexibility.

However, once the euphoria fades, how do you stay the course and realize your dreams? Learn some tips and tricks to help you navigate the dips and valleys known as solo practice which will be an eventuality for the majority of lawyers at some point in their professional lives.

Susan Cartier Liebel is the Founder and CEO of Solo Practice University® (solopracticeuniversity.com), the only online educational and professional networking community for lawyers and law students who want to create and grow their solo or small firm practices.

Susan is a coach/consultant for solos, entrepreneur mentor for LawWithoutWalls.org, member of the advisory board for the innovative Suffolk School of Law – Institute on Law Practice Technology and Innovation, an attorney who started her own practice right out of law school, adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University School of Law for eight years teaching law students how to open their own practices, frequent speaker, and columnist for LawyersUSA Weekly, Connecticut Law Tribune, The Complete Lawyer, and Law.com. She’s contributed to numerous legal publications and books offering both practical knowledge and inspiration.

Join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.

Dealing with Serenity-Busting Employees

Melody Stevens, contributing author for The Happy Law Practice, and author of Become a Time Millionaire

Everyone is familiar with the horror story of hiring. You interview a candidate. The interview goes phenomenally. You hire them thinking they’ll be a perfect fit within your firm. Before you know it, the honeymoon is over and your star employee is beginning to wreak havoc within your practice, busting your serenity. In this interview, we will learn from Melody Stevens, a woman of many talents, about how to identify these types of serenity-busting employees during an interview.

The key to running a successful business while maintaining your happiness is surrounding yourself with a dream team. In order to find that dream team, however, you must interview candidates, weeding out the serenity-busters. Below are descriptions of Melody’s top three personality traits and types of serenity-busters and how they manifest in interviews.

The Owner Wannabe

The Owner Wannabe interviews very impressively, showing that they are very eager and driven, ready to get the job done. This individual, however, will subtlety evade your questions, talking in circles, but to the untrained ear, still gives a stately answer. The biggest red flag for this type of serenity-buster is that they can’t say “I don’t know.”  As a boss, your instinct is to take them under your wing and mentor them. After being hired, this serenity-buster will compliment you and tell you they want a business like yours. They are self-willed, have a very strong personality, and do not collaborate well with the rest of your team. You will start to see a change in them after you make a decision without consulting them. The Owner Wannabe will then become argumentative in a manipulative manner and jealous of your success. This is when you need to get them out as quickly as possible before their attitude begins to poison the workplace. Melody mentions that this type of serenity-buster is the most problematic and she suggests focusing on eliminating this personality type at the interview stage.

The Ever Innocent Flake

The Ever Innocent Flake shows up to the interview bubbly and enthusiastic, ready to take on anything. They don’t have any concerns, questions, or fears about the job; they’re just ready to get started. This is the red flag. This individual either doesn’t realize there is actual work to do or doesn’t have a grip on reality. After the honeymoon period ends, they will repeatedly call in sick or not show up but they ALWAYS have an excuse. Their excuses are constant and equally tragic making you feel like a horrible person if you were to confront them about the incident, whatever it may be. This serenity buster will fall behind in work, but it will never be their fault. In order to get rid of this employee, ask yourself what your needs are. If this individual is not meeting your needs, then they are not being productive in the workplace and need to go.

The Prima Donna

The Prima Donna will come into the interview with a stellar résumé. Not that you don’t want to hire someone with a stellar résumé, but just pay close attention to how they talk about themselves. A Prima Donna is self-centered and won’t relate to you very well as a person. They fail to see the impact their actions have on their clients, you, and your firm. For example, say the Prima Donna is on a personal phone call while with a client. The client comes to you about the issue and you confront your employee. This serenity buster will respond with “Well have they seen my résumé?”. Like this example, Prima Donnas will repeatedly use their credentials as an excuse for their lack of common work and courtesy practices. This is definitely not the kind of employee that plays nice with others and certainly the last person you want “shmoozing” clients in your practice.

For more from Melody, check out her website at melodystevens.net. Email her at Melody@timemillionaire.com or set up time to chat through her assistant at (732) 580-6098.  Also, make sure to read her book, Time Millionaire (available on Amazon).

Do you have any horror stories from hiring a serenity-busting employee? We can help! Through our coaching and training programs we can help coach your employees to improve performance or coach the leaders to take the necessary tough action. Email us at info@EsquireCoaching.com.

Share with us your advice to avoid hiring these individuals on Facebook at facebook.com/esquirecoaching or on twitter at @EsquireCoaching

To listen to the full interview, CLICK HERE.

How to stay stress-free

stress-freeby Ann Jenrette-Thomas and Kathleen Ashwill

Take a moment. Close your eyes & observe your thoughts. How many responsibilities are causing you stress right now? That brief? A demanding client? Coordinating a ride for the kids? Oh, and there’s that dinner party this weekend. . .

In this fast-paced world we live in, and particularly in the legal profession, stress is just a given. . . or is it? If you stay quiet for another moment, you may start to attain further detachment from that hamster wheel of stressful thoughts. Maybe you’ll find that the “you” who’s observing your thoughts is at peace, sees them as a little humorous, or perhaps isn’t attached to outcomes. The truth is, we all have the ability to access peace within every single moment of the day! It’s just a matter of training ourselves – gently!stress-relief1 – to do so.

Think back to those times in your life when you’ve been most “in the zone” and at peace, when even a seemingly difficult sequence of tasks flowed effortlessly and you felt on top of your game. This often happens when we play sports, an instrument, meditate, gaze at the sunset, or are involved in a meaningful conversation with a friend. Time becomes irrelevant and in our time-obsessed culture, these instances are crucial to prevent burnout! How can YOU integrate a little more of “the zone,” a little more peace into your day?

Though it can seem that the to-do list is never-ending, many resources are available, within you and outside of you that can make stress manageable!

I invite you to reach out to me at Ann@EsquireCoaching.com to set up a coaching session if you want to get proactive about addressing your stress level and implementing the work-life balance that works for you.

I also want to share with you this number for The American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs’s National Helpline for Lawyers: 1-866-LAW-LAPS.

Now let’s look at some tips for stress-management, shall we?

  1. Time management: It’s tempting to want to tackle the easiest tasks first, but I’m sure you know that prioritizing the most time-consuming, potentially difficult tasks feels better in the long run, and actually gives you energy as you accomplish them and move onto what’s next on the list. Whether it’s a very left-brain oriented itemized list, an intuitive and colorful flow chart on your wall, or pop-up reminders in your phone’s calendar, come up with something that feels good to look at and address daily, a system that feels like your ally. Then, go for it, and the task that’s most like a mountain will quickly seem like a molehill!
  2. Be aware of your thoughts and emotions: Let’s come back to the exercise we tried at the beginning of this post – observe your thoughts. Use your lawyerly skills to your advantage and refute the ones that don’t support you, inserting more loving and encouraging ones in their place. Becoming a vigilant observer of your thoughts and feelings means you’re behind the wheel, instead of letting old subconscious programming (usually instilled by our parents early in life) steer you into mayhem and stress. Empower yourself, and when you feel things slipping out of your control, lovingly look at what false belief is influencing you. Remember, you’re competent, capable, brilliant, and infinitely adaptable! What are some other supportive concepts and words that can counter the Negative Nancies in your head?
  3. Practice relaxation techniques: Stretching, deep breathing, a brief walk outside. . . . It’s no surprise that each of these calms you, gives you perspective, and brings you back into the present moment and your body (let’s face it, as lawyers, we tend to be a bit disconnected from our bodies with the exception of our brains!).
  4. Delegate: Let go of some of that control and let your support team support you. Be communicative and clear, and have confidence in the staff you’ve chosen or have been assigned. You will likely be pleasantly surprised at the weight that you can release by letting others catch you a bit more… and hold you up!
  5. Have an outlet outside of work: Your job is intense; there’s no doubt about that! What enlivening, energizing, and/or relaxing hobby can match or mitigate that intensity in a positive way? Perhaps you’ve already found that and explore that passion regularly. Good for you! Keep it going. If not, start to brainstorm.  Think about how you want to spend your weekends (or better yet, clip images of it and create a vision board!). Give yourself the adventurous and nurturing life out of work that gives you the extra oomph to greet Monday with a smile (or at least not a grimace) and have some good memories & stories to tell while you’re at it!

And now it’s your turn! What is your lifesaver when it comes to stress management? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

MIND The Matters- The Art and Science of Compelling Communication

Robin Lavitch, MA, CPC, “A-ha Instigator” and the founder of Surpass Your Goal

Robin Lavitch, MA, CPC, “A-ha Instigator” and the founder of Surpass Your Goal

by Melissa Grau

Are you sick and tired of delegating tasks that always find their way back to you? How about being fed up with keeping the peace in your practice? Or maybe you’re frustrated after repeating yourself and still no one takes action? Robin Lavitch, founder of Surpass Your Goal, tackles all these issues and more, helping you effectively communicate to get things done.

Robin is an expert in communicating with differing personality styles, interpreting body language, and detecting deception. Her company, Surpass Your Goal, coaches, consults, and trains business professionals on a variety of human behavior elements through personality, motivation, body language, and communication. Through her astute comprehension of human behavior, she is able to guide individuals to success by understanding their own personality style.

“We are our worst enemy and we tend to have limiting beliefs of what we think is possible and so looking at the psychology of what motivates us, looking at the psychology of our beliefs is really helpful in removing some of those obstacles and then sustaining our momentum.”

What is MIND the Matters?

MIND the Matters is a workshop Robin offers that analyzes four different personality styles, Motivator, Investigator, Nurturer, and Director. The purpose of this workshop is to identify your own personality and behavior style determining what motivates and demotivates you. From there, you can understand what you enjoy and be able to delegate what you don’t enjoy doing. In addition, you are also able to understand yourself and those you interact with, leveraging those personality styles to guarantee success. Below is a list of the four personality types and their brief descriptions. For the full descriptions, visit surpassyourgoal.com and look for “MIND the Matters Overview” link under the resources tab.

Motivator

  •      Innovative
  •      Optimistic
  •      “Big picture” oriented
  •      Charismatic
  •      Loves being the center of attention

Investigator

  •      Opposite of Motivator
  •      Pessimist
  •      Cautious
  •      Analytical
  •      Big thinkers

Nurturer

  •      Compassionate
  •      Has a hard time saying “no”
  •      Strives for harmony
  •      Driven to help

Director

  •      Opposite of nurturer
  •      Wants to get things done
  •      Doesn’t care what others think
  •      Strives to get things done quickly

Any of these sound like you? Most people are a blend of two, if not three, different styles.

How Do Attorneys Benefit From Knowing Their Personality Style?

Not only is discovering your personality style an eye-opening experience, but it will help you to grow by learning your strengths. You will be able to gather credible knowledge about your staff and learn how to foster healthy relationships within the workplace. Knowing your personality style can also help you to motivate growth within a client.

To apply this knowledge to specific attorney related issues, Robin uses an example of a personal injury lawyer. In this instance, the lawyer can employ his or her personality style to negotiate within the case.  By being able to identify other personality styles, the lawyer will be able to identify what motivates people and what demotivates them, helping to build relationships more easily. Each personality style differs in language they use, each type resonating differently within the jury. In family law, Robin talks about using your knowledge of personality styles to mediate conflict, being able to see past the surface issue and really address the root of the problem.

How Can I Generate a Team Report?

Every boss wants a well-balanced team, complete with a Motivator, Investigator, Nurturer, and Director, but how do you determine that? Through Surpass Your Goal, not only can you identify your own personality style, but you can also generate a 360-Degree team report. The team report plots everyone’s strengths and personality styles within your workplace and clearly identifies the gaps within your firm. The questionnaire also polls your co-workers on how they perceive you, matching their response to your personal evaluation to give the most accurate personality style as possible.

How Do I Know This Works?

Robin has been told on multiple occasions that she has saved marriages through this workshop. MIND The Matters teaches you that you don’t have to be good at everything all the time; you just have to be able to work with others who are strong in areas you are lacking. Robin has incorporated family counseling into this workshop from working with children to working with in-laws. She says that everyone leaves the workshop open-minded after having the “a-hah!” moment thinking to themselves “Oh, that’s why they drive me nuts.” After MIND the Matters, individuals realize there is no right or wrong style. As a result, they are able to have a greater insight as to where the other person is coming from, strengthening that relationship.

For more information about MIND the Matters and Robin’s Master Series, Visit her website at surpassyourgoal.com. Email Robin at robin@surpassyourgoal.com or call her at (727) 776-7766.

Now that you have the keys to understanding human behavior, share with us your personality style! If you need support in working with challenging personality types, contact us for 1:1 coaching.  Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/EsquireCoaching or tweet at us @EsquireCoaching. Let us know how MIND the Matters has worked for you!

Until then, be well.

To listen to the full interview, CLICK HERE.

 

Your Client is in the Room: Networking Secrets Even an Introvert Can Master

Research shows at least 50% of US adults identify themselves as introverted. And according to an article published by Psychology Today, 50% of US adults say they are shy. Statistically at least half of your conference attendees will fall into one these two categories.

“Your Client is in the Room: Networking Secrets to Increase Your Confidence & Conference ROI” is built for the 50% who will struggle with making connections and very likely wish they had some kind of training to give them the much needed confidence and tools they need to break out of this cycle.

Richard Oceguera

Author, networking guru, and Introvert Icon Richard Oceguera

This interactive breakout session is designed to give several easy to learn networking tools that will help conference attendees gain confidence in their ability to connect, improve their level of professionalism while networking and then leverage the contacts they make after the conference.

Author, networking guru, and Introvert Icon Richard Oceguera brings reverence and a sense of play to making connections. He knows that community is foundational in building business.

And he knows the quiet strength of the introvert. His compassionate philosophy to coaching is simple – Everyone has something to offer; everyone has the right, and the power, to shine.

This former wallflower is now a multi-award winning entrepreneur; the founder of several six-figure businesses; (including a Chamber of Commerce in NYC); the author of Convert Your Community to Cash: Monetize Your Connections; and a national television spokesperson on networking for business professionals.

Join us LIVE tonight at 5:30 pm EST/2:30 pm PST by clicking here.

The Softer Side of Selling

by Melissa Grau

Working in the law industry, it’s imperative that you think of yourself as a salesman or saleswoman, ready to give your pitch at a moment’s notice with the intent of attracting clients. But how do you grow your client base without feeling like you’re sacrificing yourself? Christine Clifton, founder of Client Centric Growth, enlightened us as to how we can draw clients to us through compelling conversation.

Christine came to her approach through a series of trial and error. In these learning points, she was able to identify which techniques worked for her and which techniques did not. Christine then analyzed the success factors of each particular client bringing her to her newfound technique, the Softer Side of Selling.

Christine Clifton, founder of Client Centric Growth

Christine Clifton, founder of Client Centric Growth

The important aspect of pitching yourself is to pick the pieces that apply to you and who you are. By tweaking this approach and making it your own, you are more likely to attract clients that identify with your platform. In time, you will help yourself to grow in confidence and be able to incorporate new layers to your personal approach.

Christine specifies that there are four components to the Softer Side of Selling. The first two aspects are internal and the last two aspects are external.

  1.    Understand why you are in business. Having unique position statements about your work will help you to specify exactly why you do what you do subsequently attracting clients. Your ‘why’ is what will ultimately draw clients to you.
  2. Bring forth that ‘why’ into messaging. Micro-messaging is breaking down who you help and how they benefit. Note that this is not yet the ‘what’, but simply conveying your why as explicitly as possible to your desired market.
  3.    Network and market yourself.  When you’re clear about your ‘why’, the next step is to put yourself out there generating clientele.
  4.    Extend the ‘invitation’. Commonly referred to as the ‘ask’, the invitation is a mind shift from just asking a prospective client to hire you to inviting the prospective client to work with you. This change in mindset takes off the pressure of closing a deal and ultimately improves how you go about bringing people into your business.

How We Know It Works

After putting it into action in her own practice, Christine can prove this approach works. Using client results as proof, one client tripled their revenue in a six-month period of time.  Through this approach, individuals are able to refine their work, specify target group, and land clients leading to a successful business. Christine says that when her clients list their benefits, they gain greater confidence in their abilities and rates. Her clients will often increase their rates over time resulting in more profit for the same amount of effort.

The Sponge

To better convey the Softer Side of Selling, Christine uses an analogy to illustrate her point. Think of a sponge as a business. Each divot in the sponge is a service you provide for clients. Now imagine an individual comes to you for a specific service. You are drawing in that client based on a specialized work you perform. The client buys into your business and later down the line uses your practice for another type of service. By breaking down your business into specific entities, you are able to draw clients in and then expand to different divots or services.

In closing Christine summarized her approach in one sentence, “Compelling messaging is what people identify with.” The common misconception of narrowing down your business is that people think they are limiting themselves when in fact they’re broadening the potential for prospective clients. The more concise and clear the message is, the more people will remember you.

Connect with Christine Clifton on LinkedIn and visit her website at www.clientcentricgrowth.com to book time to chat.

How do you plan to involve the Softer Side of Selling into your business? How has this approach been successful for you in expanding your client base? Share with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EsquireCoaching or tweet at us @EsquireCoaching. We look forward to hearing from you!

Until then, be well.

To listen to the full interview, CLICK HERE.