'7 Secrets' to Help Lawyers Thrive in a Recession #ABAChicago

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The year is barely half over and it’s already shaping up to be one of the worst years ever for the legal profession. Through the end of July, nearly 4,300 big-firm lawyers have been laid off. And that number doesn’t include lawyers at small or midsize firms or so-called “stealth” layoffs.

But not all lawyers are suffering. Some are holding their own. And some are thriving.

You might be inclined to think that they’re simply lucky; that they possess a golden touch; or that they just happen to be in the right place or practice area at the right time.

Not so says Julie A. Fleming, an Atlanta-based lawyer turned career development coach and consultant. Successful lawyers work hard to develop their skills and practices. They’re willing to do things other lawyers deem unimportant or too difficult. They have figured out, through trial-and-error or extensive study, what does–and doesn’t–work, says Fleming, who blogs at Life at the Bar.

Fortunately, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. That’s because Fleming, who counsels lawyers on professional and business development, career management and work-life integration issues, has distilled all that accumulated knowledge and experience into “Seven Secrets Every Lawyer Must Know to Thrive, Even in a Recession,” which she detailed Saturday in a complimentary CLE program sponsored by the ABA Section of Science and Technology Law.

Follow these seven simple steps, Fleming promised attendees, and “you’ll be able to build successful, satisfying and sustainable practices.”

  1. Don’t dwell on bad economic news to the extent that you worry about problems that may not occur and miss opportunities right in front of you.

  2. Be ruthless with time, not only with client matters but with career goals and professional development.

  3. Listen carefully, not only to what others are saying, but to their tone of voice, speech patterns, choice of words and body language.

  4. Network in the “right” way with the “right” people, and then follow up.

  5. Be innovative about what you have to offer.

  6. Educate yourself on the basics of business for yourself and for clients.

  7. Build strong connections with other similarly situated lawyers.

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ABA Journal’s Annual Meeting coverage at this link.

Flickr Slideshow: ABA Journal snapshots from Annual Meeting.

ABA Annual Meeting site.

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