According to the ABA’s most recent Legal Technology survey, lawyers are experimenting with social media now more then ever.
The ability to successful negotiate in todays fast paced business world can make or break you as a professional. Here are my tips for successful negotiation:
You should start your arguments first
According to a study published by Harvard Business School, you should always consider going first during a negotiation. What are the benefits of making the first offer? You are able to set the anchor number. The study says that by “making the first offer, you will anchor the negotiation in your favor.” Making the first offer will also show the other party that you are a confident individual.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
Being assertive means asking for what you want and refusing to take NO for an answer. Practice expressing your feelings without anxiety or anger. Let people know what you want in a non-threatening way. Practice ‘I’ statements. For example, instead of saying, “You shouldn’t do that,” try substituting, “I don’t feel comfortable when you do that.”
Focus on the first 5 minutes
In a study published in the Journal Of Applied Sciences, the first 5 minutes of a negotiation can predict the negotiated outcome. During these minutes, the other party is trying to figure out if you actually mean what you say or if you’re merely trying to get more than what you know you’re worth. Start out likeable so that the other person doesn’t shut down on you.
Do your homework.
Gather as much pertinent information prior to your negotiation. What are their needs? What pressures do they feel? What options do they have? Doing your homework is vital to successful negotiation. You can’t make accurate decisions without understanding the other side’s situation. The more information you have about the people with whom you are negotiating, the stronger you will be.
Show that you’re passionate
If you’re satisfied, show that you’re happy by smiling. If you don’t like what you’re hearing, make sure the other party knows this by showing your emotions! When making deals, people want to believe that what they see is what they get, so be transparent with your emotions!
Start higher than what you’d feel satisfied with
In an article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, researchers say you should always start high in negotiations. These starting prices will eventually “form an anchor,” which will come to affect every other number that follows it. Even if you know the number is ridiculously more than what you would be satisfied with, you are the only person who knows this!
Trends Reshaping The Legal Industry
Domestic law firms are expanding across borders, collaborating with foreign counsel and forming intercontinental mergers, erasing traditional boundaries on the geographic scope of law practice. Although globalization is not new, it is gaining momentum due to the growth of the Internet, the automation of legal processes, developments in data security and emerging technology tools. as law firms continue to expand their footprint worldwide, globalization will continue to reshape the landscape of the legal industry in the coming years.
- Alternative Legal Service Providers
Lawyers no longer have a monopoly on the law. The legal marketplace is changing and clients can seek legal assistance from a growing number of non-lawyer professionals including paralegal technicians, legal document preparers, legal self help sites, virtual assistance and offshore legal vendors.
- Virtual Law Firms
Powerful mobile devices, software as-a-service, and secure, web-based technology allow legal professionals to work from virtually anywhere. As a result, more legal professionals are working remotely from home or a virtual law office. Virtual law office provide an alternative method of practicing law that permit flexible work hours and foster a better work/life balance for legal professionals.
- Legal Process Outsourcing
In recent years, the legal industry has experienced a global paradigm shift in the delivery model for legal services. This new model, known as legal process outsourcing (LPO), transfers the work of attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professionals to external vendors located domestically and overseas. Legal outsourcing, both onshore and offshore, is transforming law practice as law firms and corporate legal departments seek to minimize costs, increase flexibility and expand their in-house capabilities.
Benefits of New Legal Trends
- Cost Savings
Organizations can reduce their cost structures through labor arbitrage – the wage differential between in-house legal personnel and outside vendors – to reap tremendous cost benefits to both lawyer and client.
- Access To External Talent
Outsourcing legal work to external vendors allows organizations to access high level talent and niche expertise that does not exist within the firm. For example, coding and document review. Access to external talent is particularly useful for small boutique firms to fill in gaps in internal competencies.
- Reduced Turnaround Time
The use of external personnel can explain internal bandwidth to reduce turnaround time for pressing legal projects. The use of a combination of onshore and offshore teams can also allow organizations to complete a project in a shorter time frame.
Employing a combination of in-house and external talent allows law firms and organizations to tailor their capabilities in response to workload and client demands. Workflow challenges are particularly prevalent for small and mid-size firms. These firms may find it more difficult to spread variability due to a smaller number of attorneys, support staff and clients.
There are so many factors that contribute to successful lawyers. Some are more subtle and others are more straightforward. You can be sure, however, that being an impressive lawyer in the first weeks and months of your career has little to do with the knowledge and abilities that you gained in law school.
Instead, the impressions you make on your colleagues will center on the intangibles—your ability to assimilate and integrate into your office, your understanding of your role as a new lawyer, and your ability to learn quickly.
Here are three easy ways to demonstrate that you’re positioned to become a constructive, productive, and successful member of your legal practice from day one.
1. Don’t show up empty handed.
As a new lawyer, you never want to go into a meeting or another attorney’s office without a legal pad and a pen in hand. In fact, you should probably not leave your office without paper and a pen. You always want to be in a position to take down an assignment when the opportunity arises, and impromptu conferences that result in assignments are a regular occurrence.
2. Offer support.
Above all, your role as a new lawyer is to act in a supportive role for the more senior attorneys you’re working with. From day one, you can demonstrate your willingness to contribute meaningfully by being as supportive and helpful as possible. Show that you will do whatever it takes—stay late, come in early, run down the street to the courthouse, etc.—in order to help your colleagues get their work done quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
3. Adopt this mantra.
‘No project is beneath me. Repeat: No project is beneath me.’
Entrepreneurs are responsible for learning every aspect of their business, from payroll to website development to sales and marketing. Knowing your business inside and out is the best way to retain control, manage operations, and run things successfully.
For lawyers, the exercise should be no different. Welcome any assignment that’s given to you, no matter how simple. Regard every assignment as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to understand more about your legal practice. If you tackle each and every project you’re given with energy and enthusiasm, in no time you’ll be assigned to more complicated projects and will be trusted with more responsibility.
Click here for more tips for new lawyers.
According to an article published by Yale Law School, “Public Interest Law is the use of law by nonprofit organizations, law firms, and government agencies to provide legal representation to people, groups, or interests that are historically underrepresented in the legal system.”
If you went to law school because you wanted to “help people” when you graduated, there’s a good chance that public interest law is the right career choice for you. Public Interest lawyers advocate for those who most need advocates, act as a voice for those who have none, and work hard to make the world a better place.
Public interest work can feel like a personal obligation for many people because of a general desire to serve and help others. Many students come to law school with the sole purpose of wanting to help those in need and promote fairness and justice. Because of the passion and meaningfulness behind pursuing this type of career, most public interest attorneys really love the work they do.
Public interest attorneys also assume much more responsibility at the beginning of their careers. Large law firm associates may have to wait until they are mid-level or senior associates before they have much direct client contact, courtroom or pretrial experience – in public interest, you often gain these experiences immediately.
The benefits to pursuing a career in public interest are numerous and fulfilling. Not only will you gain tremendous hands on experience that can lead to professional success, but also make a visible and lasting difference in the communities you serve, which is the ultimate reward.
Some examples in Public Interest Law include but are not limited to:
- Animal Welfare
- Children/Youth Advocacy
- Civil Rights/Liberties
- Criminal Defense/Prosecution
- Death Penalty
- Disability Rights/Advocacy
- Domestic Violence
- Elder Advocacy
- Environmental Issues
- Gay/Lesbian Rights
- Labor Law
- Health Care
- Housing Law
- Immigrant/Minority Populations
- International Human Rights
- Prisoners’ Rights
- Public Benefits
- Rape/Sexual Assault
- Reproductive Rights
- Social Justice
- Street/Poverty/Homeless Law
- Women’s Rights
Click here for a more extensive list of public interest areas.
Feeling behind at work? Are you overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Lawyers suffer nearly four times the depression rates of other professions, and stress and anxiety within the legal profession are well documented. Professional burnout is on the rise and while there are no quick fixes for the depression epidemic afflicting lawyers, there is some relief to be found through the practice of mindfulness.
Set your intention the night before
This is especially helpful for those of us who have trouble falling asleep due to our racing minds. Before you go to sleep, set your intention for something that you want to accomplish in the morning. Having reminders set up for yourself in the morning are also helpful. For example, if your intention for the morning is to start your day with 5 minutes of meditation, maybe it would be helpful to leave yourself a sticky note on your bathroom mirror so that the rush and chaos of the morning doesn’t distract you from your original intention.
Start with your priorities – not someone else’s
Do you spend your morning hours trapped in your Inbox? When you’re responding to emails, you’re allowing other people to set priorities for you. Carve out no-email time in the morning when you’re most productive to do work that requires focus.
The Power of having a NOT To Do List
Create a ‘Not To Do List’ and see if it’s bigger than your ‘To Do List’. This follows right along with setting your priorities. Work can pile up, it happens to all of us, and when this happens, it is easy to get caught in the overwhelming urge to complete the work and meet the deadline. However, that often also means that we end up spending our days doing more work than is expected of us. The act of creating a not to do list helps to highlight a lot of the work that is meant to be delegated or outsourced to colleagues.
Things that pop up on our desktop or makes noise pulls us away from what we’re focusing on. Consider turning off auto-notifications on your computer as well as your phone.
One attorney shared that she was constantly getting distracted by staff needing her attention. In order to reduce interruption to her work flow, she put a timer on her office door. When she needed a block of time to work, she would set the timer. This let whoever visited her office to see that this was her “no distraction” time and also knew exactly what time they should come back.
Becoming a great networker is essential for any career path, including those pursuing law. Even senior-level lawyers use their networking skills as often as possible so they can maintain and continue to develop long-term relationships with clients and other lawyers. If you’re just starting a career in law, networking is vital for you to succeed. Here are a few steps you can take towards becoming a great networker:
First, recognize the overall, larger benefits associated with networking – building relationships. Networking is not just about finding somebody that can give you a job or that can represent your business. Business happens through establishing strong relationships over time, and these relationships are the most important part of networking.
Next, stop checking your phone every five seconds. You’ll never know who you can meet on any given day; and if you’re on your phone, chances are that you will not talk to anyone behind you on line to get a coffee (and they’ll probably think you’re too busy to approach). According to an article published on Findlaw.com, staying away from your “crackberry” is essential when it comes to networking:
“Your next big client engagement in not going to come in the form of an email while you are waiting for your coffee. The barista’s mother could be the President of a bank. Talk to her and others around you. Networking is about an attitude of engagement not going to a networking event. You network everyday, not once a week,” (Networking Tips for Lawyers).
Though the digital age we are living in can have many positive effects on our careers and the way we conduct business, many people are losing the ability to communicate face-to-face with others. Do not be one of them.
Speaking of the digital age, utilize the tools that are readily available to enhance and grow your network. Take LinkedIn for example, one of the most prominent social media platforms for professionals. LinkedIn will help improve your SEO and the way you present yourself online – so make sure your profile is completed in detail and that you have an appropriate photo of yourself so that others can recognize you. We should use technology to our advantage when it comes to networking, not so that it destroys our abilities to interact with others.
Lastly, understand that networking takes time and dedication. If you sign up for a networking event, make sure you do your homework and research companies and leaders who will be there that can help make a difference in your career. Don’t expect to just show up and suddenly be connected with fifteen new people in your field. Get to the event early, look the role, and be friendly to everyone you talk to so that you can grow your network. Remember, networking is not about socializing, so don’t show up to a networking event with your friends. Be bold. And always bring your business cards.
Being a successful lawyer does not come easy. You have to know how to be independent and carry-out strong business practices throughout your career in law, regardless of what stage you are currently in. In order to keep both your fellow colleagues motivated, clients satisfied, and practice powerful, follow these essential tips:
First, you should consider running your law practice like any other successful business. According to an article published by CBA.org, a website dedicated to best practices for lawyers:
“You are a service-provider and clients should always get great service from anyone who answers the phone, sends a package, emails an opinion, or duplicates documents. Every member of your firm should be trained to service the client and it’s imperative the firm’s leaders and partners embody this attitude as an example to all,” (Van Dyke, 50 Essential Business Tips for Every Lawyer).
Everyone who is affiliated with your firm should be well-educated in law, and the should have strong client-communication skills. Even if the legal situation is rough, clients who speak with employees that are helpful, smart, and have clear communication throughout their interactions with clients are the most beneficial for any firm.
That being said, another great piece of advice for all lawyers is to surround yourself with the lawyers who keep you on your feet in a positive way. If you are in a position to hire employees to work at a firm, make sure they are highly motivated and bright so that they can shine throughout their career with you. Your law firm should have ongoing training programs for all employees, no matter how long they’ve been working with you. In addition, you should always make sure that the firm recognizes great work and rewards those who show they can do their job exceptionally well. Always reward great employees – you don’t want to lose them!
Furthermore, you should always strive to motivate and empower your team. According to CBA.org, “Every member of your firm can make an important contribution to the firm and its clients. Ensure each person understands his or her role and has the authority to fulfill that responsibility, plus a little bit more,” (Van Dyke, 50 Essential Business Tips for Every Lawyer).
Last, be kind and keep moving forward. People who you work with will always remember how you made them feel, even if the outcome of your case didn’t go as planned. Be a good listener and be understanding to what both clients and fellow employees may need from you. In addition, always keep the practice moving, especially if people seem to be stuck in a rut. Always ask questions like, “What should we do next?” and make affirmative statements like, “Let’s get going!” this way, everyone who surrounds you will feed off of your positive, enforcing energy so that daily tasks can be kept up with and even made in advanced.
Nobody ever said being a lawyer was easy, but there are ways that you can make a difference in your law firm and act as a supporting figure that everyone can look up to. Having passion and showing people you care are what make a lawyer great.
If you are a student who is thinking about going to law school to become a lawyer, you should be aware of the many options that law degrees open up for employment. A law degree will not only prepare you for a future in law, but it will prepare you for a variety of other job opportunities that you may also want to consider, especially since the job market for lawyers is extremely competitive. Here are five jobs you can obtain with a degree in law other than becoming a lawyer:
First, as you may have noticed, many politicians (including Bill Clinton and Barack Obama) who have a degree in law but pursued a career in government and politics. So, if you’ve ever had a yearn to dive into the world of politics, this is a great option for you.
Next, there are many ways for you to get involved with finance and banking. According to an article published by Forbes Magazine:
“There are certain fields where a law degree certainly couldn’t hurt such as estates, tax and small business. Even if you don’t want to practice law in the finance sector and prefer to deal with the money, having one can help since finance does require legal knowledge,” (Nine Jobs You Can Do With a Law Degree).
Especially if you have a knack for numbers, using your legal knowledge can be extremely beneficial when it comes to obtaining a career in finance.
Third, journalism or writing is another great career option for those who have law degrees. Not only can you publish books and articles pertaining to law, but if you went to law school, you probably have better writing skills than most people, since writing effectively and clearly is one of the most important aspects of being a lawyer.
Though you do not need a degree to become an entrepreneur, the work ethic and habits that you formed in law school have set you up to do anything you want as a business leader. According to Forbes Magazine:
“Of course you don’t need a degree to be an entrepreneur but Jacqueline Dinsmore went from working as a corporate lawyer for one of the largest firms in Canada and then as the Assistant General Counsel for the Toronto Star to founding Luvali Convertibles. Dinsmore credits her degree for helping her understand and negotiate contracts related to her business,” (Nine Jobs You Can Do With a Law Degree).
So put your education to the test and try starting a company stemming from one of your passions – you’ll be surprised how articulate and organized you really are after law school.
Finally, you should think about getting involved with as an advocate for public interest. With this career choice, you can use the overwhelming amount of knowledge you gained throughout law school in order to influence policy decisions.
At the end of the day, you should do what appeals to you most with your law degree. There are many options for you to pursue a career in something you feel passionate for, but always take the time to think about what it really is that you want to do.
Writing a legal article that will actually get read takes a lot of skill and commitment. But, with the right mindset and advice, it can be done in a way that will be appreciated by your audience and shared amongst your peers. Most lawyers write articles that summarize a specific case, propose a point, and explain various concepts or other useful information that will be placed in a firm’s resources for its clients. Here are some key tips for producing a legal article that is informative, engaging, and read:
First, and perhaps the most important rule of thumb, is know your audience. Before you even finalise what topic you will be writing about, considering your audience should be at the top of your list. It is vital to know both who they are and what they know. Many writers create a person in their head (also called an avatar) based on someone who would be part of the audience they are writing for. A notable Lawyer blog entitled, Tips for Lawyers, gives an example of creating an audience member in your head for when you are writing a legal article:
“Jane is a 34 year old mother of two, she works full time and her kids stay with her parents during the day. Her husband is away often working for a mining company. Jane doesn’t have a lot of spare time, but needs to stay up to date to ensure she manages her business well,” (8 Requirements for Writing a Legal Article That Will Get Read).
Notice how detailed the writer is about the person that represents its audience so he or she can know exactly who their audience is – the more detailed, the better.
Another important factor to consider when writing a legal article is the headline, which should inform your audience why they care about the topic you are writing on. Your headline should be interesting and detailed, not boring and uninformative like “Court Update,” or “Law News.” Keep in mind, you should avoid headlines that are too fancy and clever, because then you’ll just be causing a lot of unwanted confusion for your audience members. If your audience cannot understand the headline of your article, chances are they will have no interest in actually reading it.
Investing time in your opening sentence is vital for writing an article that will actually be read and recognized. According to Tips for Lawyers:
“Your opening sentence MUST align with your headline and your extract – they need to tell the same story, but not in the same way. The opening sentence should offer enough about the article that the person wants to read the rest. It should not contain the answer to the question, the benefit you offered, or anything else that means there is no need to read the rest of the article,” (8 Requirements for Writing a Legal Article That Will Get Read).
Another tip for writing a great opening sentence is to avoid mentioning case names, legislation, or other topics that will bore your audience out of their mind.
Lastly, images. Make sure their are images in your article and make sure they are relevant. It’s as simple as that. For more tips on how to write an intriguing legal article, check out Tips for Lawyers’ article here.