Are you an associate in a law firm? If not, do you know an associate in a law firm? I love coaching and teaching associates how to be successful developing business. On THURSDAY, March 1,  at Noon CST I will be presenting a FREE Webinar on client development just for associates. Their are only 25 telephone lines, so let know right away that you want to participate.


I did a presentation recently for all the associates in a firm. At the end, one of the associates asked: What are the attributes of really successful lawyers who attract clients? I was really impressed with the question.How would you answer that question? I have been around those lawyers. I hope I was one of those lawyers. The easy and obvious answer is to simply say:

Successful lawyers are really good at what they do.

I believe the more accurate and complete answer is to say:

Successful lawyers are driven to be really good at what they do. They are never content with where they are. Instead they are always striving to improve.

Even that answer is not totally accurate. Some successful lawyers are “best in the world” at what they do. They are on the top of every list for a “bet the company” case or transaction. Other lawyers are really good at building trust based relationships with their clients. To use an over used term, they are their clients “trusted advisors.”

Interestingly, there have been studies of what makes the most successful lawyers who attract clients different than the general population of lawyers. Generally the lawyers who attract clients have a high degree of emotional intelligence. There are plenty of books on emotional intelligence. If you are interested in my favorites send me an email. You might also read this HBR article: What Makes a Good Salesman

While you may be born with some of the emotional intelligence characteristics, most can be and should be developed and better understood. I believe successful lawyers who attract clients have developed some of these attributes.

  • High ego drive, meaning they get great satisfaction from convincing the client to hire him or her. Many lawyers view attracting new clients as too difficult.
  • Empathy, meaning they are able to see the world from the clients’ point of view. Many lawyers are logical thinkers and less able to see from the clients’ point of view.
  • Optimism, meaning they see possibilities. Many lawyers are pessimists and say: “yes, but” rather than “sure how.”
  • Handle defeat or criticism well. Many lawyers do not and fear failure to such a degree that they are unwilling to take risks.
  • Exude a passion for their work and their clients. No client wants a lawyer who hates practicing law.
  • Enjoy connecting with people and developing relationships. Many lawyers never build a relationship with their clients.
  • Ability to see potential problems, opportunities and changes that will impact their clients. Many lawyers are just focused on the work they are doing.