Several years ago,  a lawyer I had coached came to advise other lawyers in her firm how to get the most out of our coaching program.

She told them to focus on the three Ps.

  • Persistence,
  • Perseverance and
  • Patience

I know from experience that lawyers who focus on the three Ps are more concerned with learning how to become better at client development than they are with getting early results.

I know many lawyers who are focused on results rather than focused on striving to get better. They fear failure to such a degree that they are unwilling to get outside their comfort zone.

They are not learning about how to become better at client development. Instead they are focused on techniques that may help them get business from the low hanging fruit. When their efforts do not produce results, they give up.

What should you do instead? Work on getting better at things that are outside your comfort zone.

If you want to learn how to network, go to events where you can practice. In fact, go to a networking event and approach strangers and introduce yourself.

If you want to become a better public speaker, speak in public. Consider joining a Toastmasters International club, or starting your own speaking club.

If you want to become a better writer, write articles or blog posts and have someone review them and offer a critique. There are plenty of retired editors and senior lawyers, who would gladly critique your writing.

Finally, remember the three P’s: Persistence, Perseverance and Patience.

Some young lawyers I meet are very impatient. One associate I coached a couple of years ago sent me an email after one month of coaching. Here is what she said:

Cordell, I have been doing everything we talked about when we had our first coaching session and everything you talked about to our coaching group and I haven’t gotten a new client yet. Am I being too hard on myself?

I let her know that if she had actually gotten a new client in a month, she needed to take my place. I should also tell you that she stuck with it and is now a partner in her firm.

I experienced frustration when I was a young lawyer. I had put my heart and soul into my business development and had not gotten results. Many times I wondered whether it was worth all the time I was putting in. A couple of senior lawyers in my firm routinely put my efforts down. I think they just wanted me to work on their clients. I also realized that some of my efforts were not fruitful.

I kept on because I wanted to control my own destiny and not be dependent on senior lawyers. Whenever I got discouraged I pictured myself five years later with $500,000 in business. I also made client development a habit and tried to do something no matter how small each and every day. There came a time about two years after I started to see results. Then I discovered that each of my client development efforts built on previous efforts I had made.

Here is something to consider. I believe that less than 3% of young lawyers are making focused efforts at client development. If you are one of the 3% and you are frustrated that you are not seeing results yet, that is ok.  Think about why you are frustrated. It is because you are not content being average. The fact you are frustrated, just as I was many years ago, is the reason you will be successful.

When I experienced the impatience you are experiencing, I did two things:

  • I evaluated each of my efforts and decided which ones were not effective.
  • I just tried harder.