About 50 years ago, the Beatles released an innovative album called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album contained a hit song titled Getting Better that told John Lennon’s personal experience with self-improvement. Companies like Nestle, Mayo Clinic, and Toyota have used an improvement strategy known as Kaizen to make better products and increase market share. Focus on improvement can similarly help lawyers build their practice. Read on for professional development tips for lawyers and resources for implementing them at your firm.
Assessment. Start with a self-assessment to identify skills in need of improvement. Consider skills like advocacy, management, negotiation, research, social, speaking, writing, and technology.
Coaching. Ask an experienced lawyer to be your mentor or pay a career coach to help you improve. Listen to podcasts by motivational speakers when commuting or exercising.
Networking. Use networking to learn tips and tricks from successful lawyers. Attend alumni and bar association events.
Planning. Set goals and measure progress towards achieving them. Monitor results and make changes as needed to improve your skills.
Teaming. Create a culture of improvement at your firm by rewarding lawyers and staff for their suggestions and successes. Use compliments, gift cards, and bonuses.
Training. Attend workshops sponsored by bar organizations to enhance your lawyering skills and expand your knowledge. Listen to podcasts that focus on improving skills.
Resources. For motivation to improve your skills, read articles and books about successful lawyers. To launch a program of self-improvement, read articles about coaching, self-assessment, and things to do or avoid. For self-improvement strategies, read articles about boosting productivity, developing skills, encouraging teamwork, goal setting, improving efficiency, professional development and professional decline. For in-depth study, listen to podcasts and webinars or read books like the ABA’s Building a Better Law Practice (click here for the table of contents), CAP’s Lawyering Skills, and Cambridge’s Soft Skills for the Effective Lawyer.
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Conclusion. Build your law practice by pursuing strategies to improve yourself and your firm. There is always something to improve and a strategy for achieving it. Use the resources mentioned in this article to make a habit of pursuing professional development.