Do your marketing efforts also provide thought leadership for your team, your clients, referral sources and allied professionals? Thought leadership distinguishes you from attorneys who are engaged solely with the daily business of a law firm. No judgment here, but to build a profitable practice, you’ll need higher visibility—that means a higher level of leadership.
Thought leadership includes:
Taking leadership positions in professional organizations. Anyone can be a member. Not everyone takes it to the next level. Is there a niche in your office that you are passionate about? That’s your best choice. Don’t jump into an area that you don’t care about, because it will become apparent to you and those around you. Better is to follow your interests.
Speak up! If speaking in public is new to you, start with small groups, then work your way up to regional and national conferences. If you aren’t a natural speaker, if you’re not comfortable or want to get better, invest in a training course. There are any number of national companies that are designed just for speaking skills.
Get published in legal and business journals. Here again, if this is new to you, start small and work your way up. Your local bar association has a printed or digital newsletter. Give yourself the task of being published once a year. Next step: your state or city’s law paper. Select a topic where your knowledge is better than others in the field, and present it to your peers through this medium.
Identify other thought leaders and develop relationships with them. Who knows your practice areas better than you? The trusts and estate planning and elder law bar is known for its collegiality. If you don’t already know who these individuals are, look to see who is publishing and speaking, introduce yourself, using social media if that’s in your comfort zone, and make a point of meeting up with them at bar meetings or national conferences. You’ll grow more professionally by joining up with these leaders.
How do these elements tie into your marketing efforts? Thought leadership activities establish you as a source that is respected by your peers. Otherwise why would they permit you to publish, speak or lead? And the bigger the group–national versus local, and the more prestigious the publication, the more elevated your leadership becomes.
Striking a balance between practicing law, running a law practice and taking thought leadership positions requires you to manage your time wisely and well. It also takes a great team, systems that work smoothly, and strong time management skills. But we are sure you’ll agree that the end results are well worth the effort.