What does it take to get hired by a business client? First, it depends on the type of work. For most work, it will depend on whether your potential client knows, likes and trusts you.

In group coaching sessions on getting hired, I share with the lawyers that I believe about 10% of legal work is “bet the company.” Clients will hire the best-known “go to” lawyer to handle that work. At the other end, I believe about 30% of legal work is commodity work. Clients will hire the lawyer who is willing to do that work for the lowest price.Finally, I believe at least 60% of legal work is neither bet the company or commodity work. Clients will hire lawyers they like and trust and with whom they feel some connection.



How can you position yourself to have the best opportunity to be hired by clients for that work? First, you have to be a capable lawyer. But, that will not be enough. You need to also be likable. As you may know, Tim Sanders wrote a book: The Likeability Factor. I read it more than once when it was first published. Tim Sanders Identifies four things you can work on to increase your “L” factor:

  • Friendliness
  • Relevance
  • Empathy
  • Realness (Authenticity)

I invite you to read the book to get a more detailed description of each idea. Then decide:

  1. What can you do to be more friendly in the eyes of your clients and referral sources? Here is one clue from the book: 55% of the like/dislike cues people give are visual, mostly facial, 38% are tone of voice.
  2. What can you do to be more relevant? Here is my clue: Understand your client’s industry and business so your legal work is done in the context of your client’s business objectives.
  3. How can you become more empathetic? This one takes some real work. You have to pay attention to more than what is being said.
  4. What does it mean to be real? It begins with knowing who you really are and what you really value.

If you are interested, share with me your ideas on becoming more likable.