Back in the day, I would have an Associate join a client meeting with instructions to speak up if they thought I was getting something wrong. Of course, they would only do so occasionally because I was not wrong all that often. When they did, if their point was not so great, I would respectfully acknowledge it and move on, but if it was valuable, I would say so and say to the client something like, “that’s why I had her sit in.”
I spoke to a young lawyer the other day who hails from another country. I will call her Natalie. Natalie explained to me that where she comes from, the culture is such that self-promotion is frowned upon. In her country, people do not think much of braggarts and blowhards. They respect people who are humble.
Back when I was practicing law, ignoring my health, and always exhausted, there were oh so many things to think about. One of them was referral fees.
Of course the Law Society has rules about referral fees, as they should. (There are a whole bunch of other things that they have rules about which they should not be involved in, but I will save my rant about that for another day.)
In our firm, we kept our rules about referral fees a whole lot simpler than the Law Society rules. We did not pay referral fees and we did not accept referral fees.
The Slow Game
You think that baseball is a slow game? It has nothing on networking.
Here is a story for you.
Many years ago I met a tax accountant named Michael. Capable guy. We built up a trusting relationship and referred business back and forth from that day forward to my retirement.
Know Your Snack Bracket
One of my best clients was a very large privately owned corporation. I had a great relationship with Steve, the majority shareholder/CEO. Our firm was the ‘go-to’ corporate counsel for the company.
The first time that Steve’s company was looking to handle some acquisitions, the CEO asked me, “What is your snack bracket for this type of work?” What he wanted to know was what size of deal we were comfortable handling. The answer at the time was deals of up to about $100,000,000. Beyond that a larger firm would better serve him.
When I entered law school, each year the most powerful law firm in Montreal would obtain from McGill Law School the names of the ten students with the highest grades in their first year of law school and write to them to offer them summer jobs. I received such a letter when I completed my first year of law school in 1976.
Had I gone to law school a few years earlier, I would not have received that letter, because the firm extending it had made it a practice to exclude Jews from the program.
Murray’s Marketing Missives
- Give a damn about your clients. They will refer other clients to you.
2. Take your law school friends to lunch. They will be handing out work in a few years.
3. Hold your glass in your left hand when you are at a cocktail reception so your right hand won’t be clammy when you shake hands.
My father used to ask, “If you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”
There are probably a million things that are wrong with that question, but his basic point is worth considering. He was asking why it is that some people believe that they know better concerning just about everything, but they do not generate any results from their supposed brilliance.
Playing the Long Game
Entrepreneurs should always aim to play the long game. Instant gratification cannot build a legacy. — Andrena Sawyer, business consultant
Matt is a rather humble business owner. He recently told me that, “the thing about bringing more intelligent people into the room is that it is so easy for me.”
Matt is also a very successful business owner. He gets it. His goal is not to prove to the world how smart he is. It is to build a business that provides a great service and makes customers happy.
One of the most shocking things that young lawyers in private practice learn is that they are required to sell themselves. After all, if they wanted to be salespeople, they probably would not have gone to law school in the first place.