Tag Archives: Legal Groups

Steve Jobs: “Don’t lose faith … don’t settle”

Nancy Mackevich Glazer is manager of Legal Launch LLC.  The goal of Legal Launch LLC is to provide uplifting, career counseling for 3Ls, recent law school graduates and experienced attorneys. Nancy offers her clients endless ideas and possibilities to help land them the right job in a competitive market. For more information visit LegalLaunch.net or e-mail Nancy@LegalLaunch.net.

Perhaps you’ve heard the replays of the speech Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs, now deceased, gave to Stanford University’s commencement class of 2005.  He stated:

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

While this speech was written and given before the recession of 2008, his words have meaning for those still finding their professional footing and following their intended path.

Jobs implored the graduates, “You’ve got to find what you love … keep looking until you find it.”

His pre-2008 words, you may say, don’t apply to post-2008 times. You may be partially correct. For attorneys with this mindset, that they should land somewhere, anywhere, I might offer some additional thoughts.

First, it’s not such a bad idea to view your career development in stages. For example, if you want to practice real estate law, a practice area that surely is not practical right now, it may be possible for you to accept a position in litigation where you might be able to litigate real estate matters. If you work with a general practitioner, it may be entirely possible that some real estate matters may surface in due time.

I call this “making your own luck.” These situations do not simply fall in your lap; you can make them happen.

Second, while you are practicing litigation, it should be entirely possible for you to attend bar association meetings of real estate groups. This way, you are educating yourself and meeting practitioners who do what you want to do. You may meet real estate lawyers who have conflicts in real estate matters and want to pass clients on to you. In this way, you can get four for the price of one: you become educated in an area of law you enjoy; you get hooked up with lawyers who practice in that area; you may get your own real estate business; and perhaps, you may get the opportunity to recharge a practice area in your firm or create a new one.

Again, making your own luck while finding and doing what you love.

In this same way, while practicing litigation, you may want to accept a matter pro bono under the auspices of a Chicago legal services organization. Most nonprofit legal service providers also offer training and malpractice coverage for new attorneys. In addition, most will set up mentoring relationships with more senior attorneys. You receive tremendous benefit again, experience, training, mentorship – making your own luck.

Overall, it is helpful to view your career goals in terms of chapters in your life. If you talk to practicing attorneys, most have not stayed at the same firm or company from day one. The majority have practiced law in many capacities and worked in law-related fields over time.

So listen to the words of Steve Jobs. Keep your eye on the ball, and don’t forget the reasons why you went to law school. You can have what you want. You can remain true to yourself. It may not be next week. Despite the critics, think like Steve Jobs. Like the creation of desktop computers, the iPad or the iPhone, finding what you love sure can be possible.

Leveraging your Reputation: Get involved

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Some people tend to think of work as separate from their hobbies and interests, but you can actually help your reputation through the activities that you get involved in outside of work. If you know what you love to do and are active in organizations and groups, then you can benefit from participating in your community. It won’t seem like you’re working because you’re enjoying what you’re doing, but you could see some positive results in your own professional life.

Here are a few ways to follow your passion and help your reputation:

1 – Speak. If you’re part of an organization in your community, or are involved in your kids’ schools and extra-curricular activities, offer to give a speech or an informal talk that will help people improve their own lives. By offering to speak to a group, you’ll become a kind of community expert ready with helpful tips. And you never know who you’ll meet: a potential client or even someone from the media. There are a number of freelance writers who are looking for experts and sources for their stories, and they could be one of the parents at the next soccer game that you go to.

2 – Join. If you know what you’re interested in, whether it’s a sport, language, cultural topic, handicraft, music, or whatever, there’s a group or class out there that you can join. It gets you away from the stress of work and other responsibilities, but it’s also a great way to meet other people while you’re pursuing what you’re interested in. You never know who you’ll meet, and who they know.

3 – Tell others. When you get involved in a fundraising walk or a project that helps disadvantaged people, tell others about it in your blog, on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or wherever you communicate with people online. It’s not about boasting, but about letting people know that you’re excited about helping others. Such volunteer activities let your clients and colleagues know that you’re multi-dimensional, that you’re not just about work. So helping others is not just good for the community, but for your reputation as well.

What’s important to remember is to not be pushy or try to aggressively market yourself to others who you meet outside of work. Just enjoy yourself and be open to meeting others, and you’ll make new contacts naturally. And remember to have your business cards handy, just in case.

Leveraging Your Reputation: Are you making time for face-time?

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

Nowadays, there are so many ways to communicate with people that do not require face-to-face meetings, let alone getting out of a chair or using your voice. While we embrace new technologies and are thankful for how easy it is to connect with others, nothing can compare to the impact of talking to a reporter, client or prospect face-to-face.

The importance of face-to-face communication may seem to be fading fast, but next time you reach for the phone or your keyboard, consider logging some face-time with the following groups:

Media

Every day, reporters, editors and producers receive hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, telling them about this story and that angle. Instead of e-mailing a long pitch to a local reporter, ask about meeting at a nearby coffee shop where you can present your story and find out what the reporter typically looks for. Chances are the reporter is a coffee or tea drinker, so why not suggest a quick five-minute meeting to put a face to an e-mail address, and more importantly, see how you can help each other. This strategy can also work whenever you are traveling for business. Think about which reporters you’d like to connect with in the area you are traveling to, and suggest coffee or lunch meetings. Meeting media face-to-face can also increase the chance a reporter or producer responds to your phone call or email the next time you reach out virtually.

Prospects

When you are looking for new clients or potential clients are looking for you, you might send letters via “snail mail,” and they might look up your website. You might target certain Facebook groups while they might go on Yelp.com. One of the best ways to get in front of prospects is to literally, get in front of them. Every year, search your industry for potential speaking opportunities and events. Whether you work with program coordinators to sign you on as a speaker or simply sign up to attend the event, you will be put in a position to make strong face-to-face connections with others who could become clients and/or legal business alliances. Joining local organizations and frequently attending monthly meetings is another simple way to make sure people don’t forget your face – and the firm that employs your pretty/dashing mug.

Clients

Whether you’ve had a client for five years or five weeks, it’s easy to overlook in-person meetings since you are focused on getting results and making your client happy. However, making your client happy should include making time for them by meeting in-person. Some suggestions would be to hand-deliver birthday cupcakes to their office on their birthday or company anniversary, or set-up monthly lunches to review your work and plan. Also consider their interests and activities outside their day job. For example, if your client plays the guitar as a hobby and sets up a small gig at a local establishment, being in the audience should be a priority for you. Your client will appreciate you supporting him or her, plus you’ll get to enjoy the show! Sounds like a win-win to me.

Even though we’ve gone through a digital revolution and always wondering what will go “paperless” next, the art of communication is in the face-to-face. Making time for face-time is essential to foster stronger relationships and make you and your firm memorable in the long run.