Advice for the new attorney: Face your fears

 

Face Your Fears
Face Your Worst Fear

 

Advice for the new attorney can be summed up by one quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” 

As a newly minted lawyer, there could be many things that scare you.  But remember…you got yourself through law school and the bar exam, you can conquer any new obstacle.

3 Main Fears: Going to Court, Public Speaking, and Networking

Going to Court

One mentor I had recommended that every practicing attorney should be required to go to court and face a judge. Why? Well, he reasoned, after that experience, nothing else would be as terrifying.  My first foray into court was fraught with worry, especially minor details such as: Do attorneys really say ‘may it please the court’ or is that just on TV? Thankfully, it turned out well.  The judge appreciated that I was prepared, professional and courteous despite my nervousness. Most judges are not out to get you as long as you are prepared.  If you have never been to court before,  I suggest sitting in a few trials to get a sense of what happens and what is expected.  Elizabeth K. Barton also has sage advice for those heading to court in her article, To the Young Lawyer: Tips for Court Appearances.

Public Speaking

According to a 2011 Forbes Article, only 10% of people are comfortable speaking in public.  That leaves 90% of us who get butterflies before addressing an audience.  The good news is that, as a lawyer, you are good at communication.  Now all you have to do it get over your nerves.  The more chances you have to do public speaking, the easier it will be.  You don’t get worse at public speaking, you will only improve. It is important to prepare but be flexible.  No one in the audience expects perfection. They are there because they are interested in what you have to say. The Harvard Division of Continuing Education Professional Development presents helpful tips in the article by Marjorie Lee North, 10 Tips for Improving Your Public Speaking Skills.

Networking

While it may be uncomfortable to put yourself out there, you need to.  You must learn to sell yourself and your practice in order to be successful.  However, if you look at it the right way, you are making important connections for you and for others. Attorney Vincent Roldan has 10 great tips for networking in his article, Networking Tips for Young Lawyers.

If you are an introvert, this can be especially daunting. However, if you treat an upcoming networking event like a legal matter and prepare, you will find yourself making connections and perhaps even enjoying yourself.  Read the article by ShiftWorkPlace, Networking tips and tricks for wallflowers: What to do before, during, and after an event.

Facing your fears makes you a stronger attorney and, in turn, a better advocate for your clients.  Once you get over these or other fears, you will be unstoppable.

And for those seasoned attorneys, what was your worst fear as a new attorney? How did you overcome it? Please comment below.

Want more tips and advice for your awesome law practice? Check out Law Office on a Laptop, Second Edition: How to Set Up Your Own Successful Law Mobile Law Practice.

Is your business hurricane proof? 5 things to check before one hits

As Florida residents, we have faced more than our share of hurricanes. As lawyers with a mobile law practice, we knew to set up systems so we could operate our law firm from anywhere. Any natural disaster, such as a hurricane, can be at best a minor disruption and at worst, devastating to your business. Do you have a plan to avoid one?

Here are 5 tips to make your business hurricane proof:

Keep an “In Case of Emergency” Binder

Put all your insurance policies, bank information, contact lists in a portable format to take with you. It will be easier to operate with your important information close at hand.

Backup Data

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Social Media Tips for Lawyers

thumbs upYears ago when we opened our law practice, we had a website and emailed newsletters to clients, friends and family.  One of our clients asked if we were on Facebook. We were stunned.  Did lawyers do Facebook?

With all the Rules of Professional Responsibility to follow, a professional image to maintain and the perceived learning curve, it can be daunting for an attorney to jump into social media.  Perhaps not the younger attorneys who have grown up with social media, but maybe the attorneys who remember that mobile phones were once used to call people.

So we looked into it.  Since our practice was in estate planning and we targeted families with young children, having a Facebook page for our firm made sense.  Most moms we knew had Facebook accounts and it was easy for them to find us (and tell others about us).  As a result of setting up our Facebook page, we could post a schedule of our speaking engagements and provide helpful articles about estate planning.

Today, that seems quaint.  With the explosion of social media platforms, early adopting attorneys are using Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and others, in addition to Facebook.

How to Benefit from Social Media

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Tips for Online Reviews for Lawyers

thumbs upDo you know what your clients are saying about you and your law practice?  Online reviews for lawyers are a common and critical way for potentials clients to hire you. You should incorporate into your practice ways for happy clients to recommend you to differentiate yourself in a competitive field.

According to a survey by FindLaw “Not only are two-thirds of consumers more likely to hire lawyers with online reviews, 59 percent of people report using online reviews when choosing professionals, including lawyers” And if your law practice targets Millennials, according to FindLaw, 71 percent have used online reviews for professional services.

Tips for Online Reviews for Lawyers

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Secrets of Solo Success – Interview with Hope Wood, Esq.

Hope Wood
Hope Wood Esq.

Hope Wood, Esq. is tech savvy when it comes to her estate planning, family law, and business law practice in Iowa.  She has a  paperless office and her website features secure portals for clients.

Hope has also reinvented estate planning to make it easier for her clients. She posts her fees for estate planning packages on her website so her clients know what to expect.  And her unique concept of “Will in a Day” allows her clients get their estate planning done in a streamlined and painless way.

In our interview, Hope gives us tips about her practice and the truth of what it takes to be a successful solo practitioner.

Q. Why did you make the leap to start your own law firm?

Several factors lead my path to a solo practice.  (1) I attended law school during the height of the recession (2009-2012) so there were few firms hiring.  I started solo right from law school and knew by my 3L year that my own practice was going to be my plan.  (2) It was important to me that I had flexibility in my schedule to attend my son’s school events and to have freedom to work remotely for long periods of time if I need to take care of my parents as they age.  (3) I worked in management for 8 years prior to going to law school so I was less afraid of the business part of practicing solo.  (4) I like making business decisions and having input on how a business operates – I only have to negotiate with myself as a solo. Read more