Building a successful law firm is no small feat, which is why you won’t hear these phrases from the ones that have already done it.
There is a massive drive for most lawyers to always sound intelligent and informed. Lawyers respect competence in others, which means they are most likely insecure about sounding incompetent to their clients and peers.
That’s why it is so important for you to realize the power of your thoughts and the things you say to yourself and others. These phrases define how you think, how you act in and around your practice, and how your peers and clients perceive you. What you might think is incredibly important and will mold not only your day but your entire career and the lifespan of your practice without you even realizing it.
Here are six phrases that will hold you back and that you won’t find any successful lawyers using.
Hopefully It/This Will Happen…
Using the word hopefully will leave a similar impression to maybe, or I’ll try. It goes against the personal brand of expertise you have worked so hard to achieve. Hopefully will make you sound unsure, passive, and unreliable.
Remember, intelligent people are decisive and give straightforward answers. Successful lawyers decide what they are going to do and then they do it. Don’t “beat around the bush” or give your clients any sense of false hope. Your clients will appreciate the quick and honest response, and you will enhance your brand as an expert. Promising to try to do things that you know, deep down, you probably won’t do, isn’t productive or useful to anyone.
Nothing To Do About It…
Believing that everything is going wrong and that the universe is adamant about shutting you down isn’t going to fill others with confidence in you or your practice. Believing that bad things are currently happening and there is nothing you can do about it is only going to make things worse.
Instead, consider these challenges as tests and opportunities to grow and learn as a lawyer and business owner. One way to start this process is to take a step back and observe the challenges from a distance. Look at it objectively and act accordingly. Like we said these challenges will only improve your skills set both as a lawyer and an entrepreneur, so try to embrace them instead of wallowing and weeping.
Not My Fault…
When you’re a solo or small law firm lawyer then guess what… everything is your fault! But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Successful lawyers and law firm owners know that everything that happens in their business is connected to an action they have made or should have made. It could be a bad partner, hiring the wrong client, hiring the wrong contract help, investing in marketing channels without doing the proper research/being prepared, or a problem you didn’t foresee. Either way, owning the problem is essential.
Passing the responsibility for your actions and trying to dodge the fault is a passive, pathetic response and something a successful lawyer will never do. Everything is in your hands, which means success, and owning up to your mistakes and correcting them in your hands, too.
Let’s See What Happens…
Successful lawyers don’t leave the growth and success of their practice’s up to fate, they make succeeding inevitable. Waiting for things to line up in a way and for the almighty to give you a sign instead of taking action will not lead to a positive outcome, at least not quickly! Timing is everything, so sit back and passively watch your practice and success pass you by.
Instead, spend your time predicting and planning for new and exciting opportunities to grow your firm. Essentially make a long list of “if this then that” scenarios and that way you will have a good chance of being more prepared for whatever comes your way. Work out how you can succeed no matter what happens. Successful lawyers don’t build practices without planning and predicting for the roadblock and challenges that will eventually come. Those that sit back and wait to see what happens end up closing their doors and working for someone else instead of being their own boss.
I Don’t Get It…
To be confused is human, but when discussing with clients, peers or even yourself, admitting to confusion can have adverse effects. Confusion is the opposite of confidence. No client wants an unconfident lawyer representing them, and no colleague will want you to provide insight on their case. Which is why you won’t hear this phrase too often from the more established and successful practices.
You can get around this dilemma by simply rewording your responses and way of thinking. Instead of claiming to be confused, you could simply ask “can you explain …?” or state, “I need more details about…” It’s okay to not know something, you’re not a robot after all, but how you acknowledge, respond to and process the fact that you are confused or that you simply don’t understand can make a big difference in how successful you are at overcoming that obstacle.