Being good at what you do is not enough to build your law practice. I learned that the hard way early in my legal career. When the recession of the 1990s’ hit I was laid off of my general counsel job and needed to find a new job. I quickly ran out of people I knew who could help me find an opportunity.
My network of colleagues was limited for two reasons. I was from Canada and didn’t grow up in the country let alone the city I was working in and wanted to stay working in. But the main reason that I didn’t have enough people who could help me in my networking attempts to find new employment was that I never did any networking when I moved to Seattle.
I focused my efforts on all the work I had and doing a good job on the work. I didn’t realize what a mistake I made not building a network of relationships outside of my company or the lawyers that worked for me. I actually turned down opportunities to have lunch or attend events because I was so busy. I didn’t realize the importance of building a network of business relationships. I do now! I would rather you learn from my mistake and not your own.
The best thing you can do to build your law practice is to have a large number of people on your side. People that you can contact when you need help or new clients. Even if you are an introvert there’s no excuse to not build up your contacts list. Use social media to help build your network.
My story has a wonderful ending because it took so long to build enough relationships to find a job that I built my law practice instead. The even better ending is that when I wanted to build my business coaching practice (when people didn’t know what that was) I knew enough people that trusted me to help me make a success of that!
I’ve also pleased to have lawyers hire me to help them build their book of business because they thought that if I could build my coaching practice then surely I can help them build their law practice.