Cordell Parvin Blog Developing the Next Generation of Rainmakers

Lawyers: What is the Most Important Word in Law?

Posted in Career Development, Client Development

Greetings from Phoenix, where I will be starting a coaching program with a new group of firm lawyers.

I frequently invite lawyers I coach to write guest posts for my blog. I find I learn something from each guest post.

Carlos Kelly is a Henderson Franklin shareholder in the firm’s Fort Myers office. Just a couple of weeks ago, his coaching group finished a 13 months coaching program.

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During our last one-on-one coaching session, Carlos showed me a book he was reading. I thought the book was interesting and I asked him to share he takeaways with you.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition, “system” is a noun with ten definitions. Definition No. 9 says “[a] method; procedure” and it’s this definition that, in my view, makes “system” the most important word in the law.

Why? For starters, the justice system is the method, the procedure that we, as a society, use to resolve legal disputes, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or otherwise.

The concept of a system came to mind recently when I read a book entitled The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian. If you haven’t read this book, you should, especially if you’re a college football fan, like me (Go Noles)—you’ll definitely learn things about the game as it’s been played over the last few years at the highest levels.

To me, the most fascinating chapters discussed how the most successful athletic directors, coaches, players, and commentators maximized their chances to achieve peak performance: use of a system. What was the system? Identify a goal, come up with a plan to achieve the goal, execute the plan, measure, repeat. Alabama’s head football coach, Nick Saban, is the prime example discussed.

The best of the best try to make the remarkable the routine. The more something is routine, the more likely the outcome will be successful.

And what happens when you make the remarkable the routine, apart from increasing the likelihood of successful outcomes? You build your brand—another lesson from “The System.” In today’s hyper-saturated, hyper-competitive world—no matter your line of work—building your brand is a must.

Beyond achieving peak performance and building brand recognition, a “take-away” for my practice area is that when a young lawyer comes to work with me, after he or she settles in, I ask:  “Do you have a system? What is it?” If the answer is no, I sit down with the young lawyer and we work on creating one.

A number of years ago, I wrote a “how to” article on filing an eminent domain lawsuit, which The Florida Bar Journal published. I still use elements of that system today to make my condemnation lawsuit filings routine.

So, like Carlos, I might ask you: Do you have a system for your client development efforts? What is it?