Qualities of Successful Collaborative Law Professionals

The most frequent question I am asked is how do I get more collaborative cases?

Why are some Collaborative Law professionals attracting more collaborative cases than others? What are the qualities of a successful collaborative professional?

I recently read an article by Jeff Haden on the Qualities of Productive People, while reading the article, I noticed there were strong similarities between the qualities of productive people and the qualities of successful Collaborative Law professionals.

These qualities include:

Confidence in vision- Successful Collaborative professionals know where they are going, what they want and why it is important to them.  Clarity of vision and purpose is at the core of their authenticity. It is the fuel that provides them with the creative energy required to build a practice that is fulfilling and in alignment with their most important values.

Comfort outside their "comfort zone"- Professionals who have a successful collaborative practice are aware of their  internal constraints and move beyond familiar ways of thinking and acting. They are constantly learning new skills, maintaining visibility with referral sources, updating their web site and blogs and have cultivated a different mind-set about working in an interdisciplinary team.

Discipline to move forward on "off" days
- Professionals with a consistent case load of collaborative clients know that results come from the small day to day activities that result in big change.  They attend the training's, write the articles, give the talks and meet with referral sources even when they don’t think they have the time or energy.

Creativity and inspiration to do great work- Collaborative professionals who have achieved a reputation for excellence don't wait for the perfect case or client. They learn by doing. As Jeff Haden stated in his article, they understand that , "creativity is the result of effort: toiling, striving, refining, testing, experimenting... The work itself results in inspiration."

Getting Started- Every successful collaborative professional understands the wisdom in the quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”  They don't wait until the "time is right" to execute their plan, they begin it now.

Finishing
-Successful professionals not only clarify their vision, they create their plan and execute the strategies and activities that will move their practice in the direction of their most important goals.

The Value of a Law Firm Retreat- Don't let the "urgent" take over the "important"

 Last week, I received an email from a managing partner of a successful firm. He had just received an invitation from a legal education organization encouraging him to enroll in a CLE. Included in the invitation was the following list of what lawyers should worry about:

Things to worry about:

  • Worry about courage.
  • Worry about integrity.
  • Worry about efficiency.
  • Worry about whether you're a good enough listener.
  • Worry about whether you're honing your skills.

Things not to worry about:

  • Don't worry about popular opinion.
  • Don't worry about the past.
  • Don't worry about the future.
  • Don't worry about triumph.
  • Don't worry about failure unless it's your fault.
  • Don't worry about satisfactions.

 Things to think about:

  • How thorough is my legal knowledge?
  • How good am I as an analytical thinker?
  • Do I really understand people, and do I get along with them?
  • Are my skills better this year than they were last year?

His question to me was:

"How can you not worry about the future – that is what we are trying to improve!"

I believe the answer to his question can be found in the following quote from management guru Peter Drucker:

" The best way to predict your future is to create it."

I think every great lawyer wants to deliver exceptional value to clients, be part of a successful and innovative law firm and have security about the future.

The key to achieving these goals is to have the discipline to not let the urgent get in the way of the important.

You can accomplish this by taking a strategic pause from the "urgent" day- to- day activities and focus on the "important" long-term strategic activities.

Give consideration to an annual law firm retreat. In the retreat, focus on thinking critically, anticipating, deciding, aligning, learning and following up on breakthrough strategies that will move your firm in the direction you want it to go.

We are experiencing change faster today than at any other time in our history. Instead of worrying about the future, create the future you want.

The following are a few questions to ask the leaders in your firm :

Where is your firm today? ( Who are your clients? What is the culture of your firm? What are the firms critical issues and success factors? Assess and synthesize multiple sources of information)

Where does your firm want to be in the next 3-5 years? ( Look beyond the periphery of your current business)

What is your plan for achieving your goals? ( What needs to change? How are you prioritizing key strategies? What will you start doing more of/less of? )

What do you worry about? How do you take a "pause" from the urgent and focus on the "important"? What challenges do you face when trying to align your partners around a long-term vision?