Five years ago I gave a presentation to the Middle Tennessee Association of Legal Administrators at the annual Law Firm Leaders Breakfast. Here are slides from my presentation: Developing the Next Generation of Law Firm Rainmakers and Leaders.
Near the end of the presentation I was asked:
What is the one most important thing young lawyers need to have to become law firm leaders and rainmakers?
My simple answer:
Self-confidence: They have to believe they can lead or they can make rain.
All lawyers have some self-confidence. They could not have made it through law school without it. But, many lawyers don’t believe they can become a law firm leader or rainmaker. They might have bought into the misconception that they have to approach it the same way a senior lawyer did.
I love the opportunity to persuade those young lawyers to see themselves differently. You might recall a blog: Client Development: Change What You Think it Takes to Succeed. If you have a minute, go back and read it again.
Early in my career, I arrived at work every day at 6AM so I could spend time listening to the lawyer for whom I did the most work. I made the coffee, grabbed my first cup, went to his office and sat across his desk drinking my first cup of coffee. During our 10-15 minute sessions each day, he shared ideas, really gems, the kind you and I never learned in law school.
I wish I had recorded all of them, because I remember only a few today. I have shared many times one gem he passed on to me. He said:
Clients want to hire lawyers who have confidence inspiring personalities.
He was right. But, he did not share how to develop a confidence inspiring personality. I have some ideas.
How do you develop your self-confidence skills? Dr. Joseph’s answer is very consistent with my blog posts and coaching I have done:
- Repetition, repetition, repetition, or practice, practice practice. (See my recent blog: Are You “Practicing” to Become a Better Lawyer?)
- Self-talk- eliminate the negative, reaffirm the positive. (See my recent blog: Client Development Success: Begin With This Attitude Check)
Now you have it. Can you eliminate any negative self-talk and reaffirm the positive? What can you practice this week, this month, this year? What are you really doing well?
Many of you who know me, know that I loved practicing law and helping construction contractors. I can’t think of anything I would change about that experience.
But, I left an exciting law practice because I enjoy the opportunity to work with young lawyers even more. When I see the light in their eyes signaling they believe they can accomplish great goals, I know magic is about to happen. Would I see that light in your eyes?