Law school is not your average pursuit and there’s nothing elitist about saying so. The average median GPA required to gain admission to a Top 10 School is 3.865. Schools ranked outside the Top 10 still require a 3.4. Not a lot of people cruise through school picking up these sorts of grades (the national average GPA is 3.0). While good grades say precious little about a person they are nonetheless a wide-spread trading token, and when your token is marked with a fancy number it means that in academic pursuits you’re trading above average.
Most folks reading this have spent their learning years trending above average and so it always shocks me when I onboard a new client and discover that their firm’s performance is decidedly mediocre. Rarely is this due to sloppy work ethic or lukewarm ambition; after all, you don’t pass the bar exam half-a**ing it. Rather, it is because, for all their training, attorneys don’t often gain the business skills needed to compete in a high-octane industry. Luckily, all those years earning stand-out grades means most lawyers are quick-studies.
Three Essential Business Skills for Attorneys:
1. Building a Commercial Mindset
This means developing a concept of commercial awareness and understanding the business environment of both your firm and your clients. Have you done a deep dive investigation into your clients’ commercial interests and engagements? If you can’t back your claim with an annotated bibliography, then your answer is no.
2. Creating a Personal Brand
In high school, your personal brand was your shiny grades. In the world of law, they’re your entry ticket. Credentials are not a brand. A brand is an organic signal you project through the strategic use of social media and professional tools. If your LinkedIn profile is teetering on forgotten, you don’t have a personal brand. If you’ve never drafted a networking plan or strategized ways to make connections at a professional event, you don’t have a personal brand. If you don’t have a personal brand, you’re not performing above average.
3. Developing Leadership Skills
Does Jim Collins ring a bell? How about Brené Brown? If not, you probably haven’t read up on leadership since making your first hire (if ever). Contemporary leadership strategies have a lot more to them than traditional, expectation-driven, top-down approaches. While the latter style continues to govern in academia, it doesn’t work in business and unless you take time to unlearn years of passive assimilation, your firm won’t be able to retain top talent and compete in the highest arenas.
If reading the above sparks your stress response, I get it. It’s a lot and you’ve already got a lot of your plate. All lawyers do. But you got into this field knowing the demands of the profession. I’ll even bet that in some sense you got into this because of those demands. High performers want to perform, after all. Stress won’t get you ahead, though; for that you need strategy.
Hiring & Empowering offers a 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program that covers the above and a lot more. It is a sure avenue to leveling up and an indispensable resource for those lacking the skills needed to be truly competitive in the ever-accelerating world of law. Yes, that’s direct but the fact is, it’s true. Book a qualifier call now.