Find a great mentor that will help you build and maintain a successful solo law firm for years to come.
Solo practice is a very different animal than working within a law firm. When you work within someone else’s structure, there is sociability that accompanies your paycheck. But when you’re a solo or small firm lawyer, those casual conversations and helpful tokens advice can be hard to come by.
Therefore, one of the most impactful relationships that you can grow is one with a smart and experienced mentor.
However, finding the right mentor is not always easy, as you have to make sure they have enough relevant experience in your field and that they’re someone you could easily mesh with. To help you find the best mentor for you, read about the 5 characteristics that are common amongst the best solo law firm mentors.
They Tell It Like It Is
One of the most important traits a great mentor can have is brutal honesty. This will come into play especially when you need their advice or opinion and what they say is not what you want to hear. A great mentor won’t tell you something to make you feel better, but will help guide you in the direction that is best for you and your practice.
Don’t misinterpret this as them being mean or that they don’t like you. A good mentor will only want the best for you and will do what it takes to help get you there. In the long run, you will appreciate their honesty and unbiased opinion on things far more than a lie that makes you feel better for a moment, but hurts your practice in the long run.
They Send Referrals
If you’re a solo attorney without a mentor, then you’re missing out on an easy way to expand your network and build beneficial relationships. Having lunch or coffee with someone once a month and exchanging emails or phone calls is a small investment that could result in new business for your firm.
Additionally, when you find an opportunity that isn’t a good fit for your firm you can share it with your mentor or ask them to refer it out for you and facilitate an introduction. Essentially, you can leverage the network of someone who has been at it for a lot longer.
Your #1 Fan (Not Counting your Mom!)
A good mentor is always there to celebrate your victories and help pull you through your failures. They provide a support system that is essential to the success and longevity of every solo or small law firm.
A great mentor will encourage you to be a better business owner and person. Sometimes it is just hearing the phone ring and someone’s voice after they pick up the call that can restore confidence when you are feeling shaky.
A mentor who isn’t excited about their own practice, let alone yours, will not make a good mentor. Enthusiasm is contagious, and solo lawyers want to hold onto that feeling of excitement for what is to come. A good mentor will help to make sure that joy and excitement don’t waver as your firm progresses or goes through difficult times.
So when looking for mentors, look for those people who love what they do and are eager to share advice and talk about their successes (and failures) If they aren’t enthusiastic about you, your firm, or the kind of work you are trying to do, it probably won’t work out.
Are Willing to Share Thier Experience
First, a mentor will be willing to share their wisdom, knowledge, skills and expertise with you. They understand the problems you face. Not only with the practice of law, but with running a profitable practice as well. Plus, they want to see you succeed.
So keep an eye out for this characteristic: More often than not, the best law firm mentors have a strong business background, meaning they know not only how to handle legal matters, but have had success with the marketing and administrative aspects of running a firm too. Essentially they know what it takes to create a healthy and thriving solo/small firm themselves.