On Monday I will be in one of my most favorite cities in North America: Montreal. As the website link puts it:
Few cities can compete with Montréal’s mouthwatering mix of food, festivals and fun-centric living.
I will be able to enjoy my favorite Montreal Bagels (check the article for the difference between New York Bagels and Montreal Bagels) and I will likely eat Cassoulet Toulousain (recipe) at Alexandre et fils.
As wonderful as that will be, my greatest joy will be making two presentations to a law firm’s Montreal associates.
The first will be for the junior level associates and I will focus on what they can be doing now to build momentum that will start showing results when they are eligible for partner. The second will be for the firm’s senior associates and will cover both building their profile and their relationships.
As I prepared this week, I had a coaching call with a senior associate. He sent me his agenda for a coaching call. Here is what he said:
For today’s coaching call, I would like to discuss how to develop a particular client base. The problem is I am a younger lawyer and need to find a way to gain an audience / get my foot in the door.
This is a question many of you likely have asked.
Many years ago I heard networking guru, Ivan Misner, talk about the VCP Process™ of networking. VCP stands for Visibility, which leads to Credibility and eventually Profitability. Take a look at this 2003 article: Build Relationships That Last to get the idea.
I looked back at my career and found I had created visibility and credibility at the same time by writing and speaking on subjects the construction industry greatly valued. That did not lead right away to profitability. Instead it led to the opportunity to become trustworthy and likable in the eyes of my potential clients.
I had friends in the construction industry long before they were clients. In fact, their fathers ran the companies and already had their own favorite lawyers. How in the world, could I possibly unseat the lawyers who had long standing relationships with contractors who were my father’s age?
As a young lawyer, my best chance to “get my foot in the door” was to become an expert on a subject that was important to the contractors, and on which the generalist lawyers were not experts.
I wrote a law review article on highway construction contract claims. When I wrote it, I did not expect potential construction clients to actually read it. I just wanted them to know I had written it.
A few months later, I made a presentation on highway construction contract claims at an annual contractor meeting. That led to articles and a presentation to a national highway and transportation construction association. That led to many more presentations.
All of a sudden, I was able to convert these friends to clients, because I had become credible in their fathers’ eyes. Think about a subject you can write on or speak on that will demonstrate your knowledge and expertise.
I did it and I know you can also. On April 29 at 12 Noon EDT, I will be offering a Webinar titled: Writing and Speaking to Get Hired. If you are interested in participating, the cost is only $95 and if your firm wants a conference room of lawyers to participate the cost is $195 Contract firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and register.