More on getting legal business. This time: Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
We’re continuing our series on getting legal business. Last time we said you need to learn all about our industry and our company. This time, we talk about finding where you fit in . . . that is, if you fit in.
Step 2. Find your sweet spot.
Are you a square peg? Is my company / industry a round hole? PLEASE, for the love of all that’s decent, don’t try to be something you’re not. We (general counsels) know the pressure to produce, to make it rain (so to speak). But there is nothing less appealing — and less indicative of confidence and trustworthiness — than someone trying to “sell” him/herself as something he/she is not. If you’re a corporate securities lawyer, stop trying to get my employment work. You just look silly.
“But my practice area is dead/dying/slow. I need to market myself as an ‘all-around litigator’ “. No, you don’t. Please don’t. This is the age of specialization. Maybe you picked the wrong path. Sorry, no one said life was fair. What you can do is take that bucket-o-skills you’ve developed as a critical thinker and learn a new practice area. Turn the best of your skills into something useful.
It’s evolutionary, so don’t expect us to believe you’re ready for patent litigation when all you’ve been doing medical malpractice defense. But why not use your medical/scientific knowledge and work on, say, an environmental tort defense case? Maybe this could lead to a toxic spill defense case during which you could learn the weak spots in distinguishing chemical compounds so well that you snag yourself a trade secrets misappropriation case, and then finally patent litigation in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Your qualifications must precede you.
(Next time: You’ve the experience, now Get Your Message Out.)