Thursday, August 18, 2011

Inside Look At One Prosecutor's Life

For those of you interested in becoming a prosecutor, here is an interesting profile of a very experienced female prosecutor in Washtenaw County, MI.

Dianna Collins, Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor

Written by Frank Weir of the Washtenaw County Legal News and published August 18, 2011.

For law students and new grads, remember you have to be ready to answer: Why did you decide to go to law school? Why do you want to be a [trial lawyer][prosecutor][employment lawyer]...?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tips 2 & 3 on Doing Things Differently

2. Take responsibility for your practice and career.

Many lawyers in firms see themselves as “service partners” working on other partners’ clients without any control over or time for the development of their own practice. It is a self-perpetuating reality until they take big steps to change it.

One partner finally realized it was up to her to assert herself and act more like an owner than an associate. She knew if she wanted to take her practice in a particular direction, she had to put a plan together and get started. She did. Result: her senior partners noticed and initiated the discussion about supporting a workable plan.

A partner at another firm wanted to develop his own book of business but needed time for it. He set parameters for the scope of his involvement on other partners’ matters, managed his time better and let his partners know he was developing a niche. Result: he is steadily building a book of business through referrals and presentations and doing more of the sophisticated work he likes.

3. Timing is rarely right.

“The economy is bad right now." "My kids are little." "My parents need me." "Work is crazy lately." "Maybe when things slow down a bit." "We want to have another child.”

Face it, timing is rarely right. When was the last time you thought “this is a good time to ….?”

Stop waiting for the perfect time. Marketing/business development, time management and career management are never ending processes. Name your fear(s) and make a list of what you will give up if you don’t take action now. People have done it and you can too.

Please contact me if you are ready to start.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Doing Things Differently

Most lawyers are creatures of habit, especially when it comes to time management, business development and career planning. They repeatedly do and say the same old things while hoping for a different result.

“I wish I had time to do marketing." "I apply online for in house jobs but I never hear back." "I don’t like talking about myself." "I don’t have any control over my work day.”

Lawyers rarely look objectively at what they are doing, how they are doing it and what they can do differently to improve their results. When they do take a look and start doing things differently, results are often immediate and noticeable.

1. Be intentional. For a different result, stop doing the same old thing.

A lawyer heeded some advice. She responded to a LinkedIn invitation by sending back a message with a coffee invitation to get to know the other person’s practice better. She received a resounding yes and “you’re the first person to ever send back a note in response to a LinkedIn invitation.” Instead of mindlessly accepting the invitation to link in, the lawyer had acted intentionally. Result: within a week coffee was consumed and the door for mutual referrals was opened.

A lawyer wanting a better fit decided to stop hiding in the woodwork. In her firm she always shined the light on her colleagues. She shrank from talking about herself and minimized everything she did. Yet she realized hiding her interests and experience wouldn’t get her closer to her dream job.

So she changed her perspective on talking about herself. Now she shares more about herself with her close contacts and has found appropriate ways to ask for help. Result: after two months of this change, she received a call from a contact about a position that was being held for her. Her ideal contacts list is growing and a firm client requested she take over as its lead lawyer.

What can you be more intentional about?

Next Post: Tips 2 and 3.

If you are ready for coaching to make changes, please contact me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Job Search Tip #4 for Lawyers: Develop a Web Presence

You are searching for your first or next job as a lawyer. Google your own name. What comes up? If little information comes up, at a minimum you should build a LinkedIn and Google profile. They are free and no spam is involved.

Build these profiles so that when people want to know something about you professionally, they can search online and find you. Even if you are looking for your first lawyer job, having a presence on the web gives you more credibility and visibility.

In addition, eventually when your profile is strong enough, people will find you when they search for someone with your qualifications, experience or other characteristics. Recruiters definitely use LinkedIn, even in the legal profession.

A LinkedIn profile is an easily updated online resume that allows you to share more information and recommendations. In your profile, you can easily ask for and display recommendations for any and all positions and activities. For that reason if for no other, build a profile and put a hot link to it on your resume. Potential employers will have immediate access to your recommendations.

LinkedIn helps you quickly expand your network of contacts during your job search without the common fear of being annoying or a “stalker”. It is perfectly acceptable to send someone a LinkedIn invitation with a few personal sentences a day after you meet them. After all, this is a professional online networking tool. Many people find sending a personalized LinkedIn invitation much easier and more natural than drafting a “nice to meet you, please keep me in mind….” email from scratch that they hope will lead to something further.

LinkedIn helps you stay visible to your contacts. By using the update/status bar you can stay on your contacts’ radar screens without anxiety about being intrusive or a bother.

Last but certainly not least, in addition to using LinkedIn to showcase yourself as part of your job search, you can also use LinkedIn in your job search to look for information on and contacts with firms, companies and people. Do not underestimate this resource.

Although there are more than 100 million people on LinkedIn, I am constantly surprised by the number of lawyers I know who are not on it or have only a bare bones profile.

Being on LinkedIn no longer means you must be looking for a job. In fact, I recently read that a BTI survey showed that 70% of corporate counsel use LinkedIn as a tool and that 50% of corporate counsel stop and think a minute before hiring a lawyer who lacks a credible online presence in addition to their official law firm bio.

Reality: You should develop an individual web presence regardless of whether you are looking for a job now or might be later, and regardless of whether you already have a website or are part of a law firm’s website.

Job Search Tips # 1-4 Bottom Line: distinguish yourself by working, selling and continuing to learn, and by showcasing yourself online.

If you are ready for coaching to improve your job search, please contact me.