by Chip Gentry
“What if I am not successful?” “What if I am not very good at bringing in clients?” “What if I can’t handle the pressure?” Those and other questions are common. If you could remove fear from all of your decisions, how many more things would you try? In my opinion, when one decides to try the private practice of law, the opportunity for accomplishment is great. Is there fear? Absolutely. However, are there rewards that can add happiness and fulfillment in your life? No doubt about it. I believe there are 10 tips that will improve your ability to succeed in private practice. Here is the second tip:
2. BECOME AN EXPERT. With whatever type of work you are asked to do, or want to do, become the authority. Schedule 1 hour a week, at least, to read the news, articles, commentaries, blogs, case law authority, and other sources on a particular topic. In the beginning of my career, I spent an hour each Saturday reading a single rule of civil procedure including all of the leading cases on the rule. In a short period of time, I was an expert on the rules. I was surprised at how many opposing attorneys did not have a basic understanding of the rules. Same goes for the rules of evidence. Taking it a step further, as an example, if you want to represent a particular type of client, such as nurses, in licensing disciplinary proceedings, reach out to associations and publications catering to that industry. Offer articles on important topics to the industry. Offer to speak at various meetings. Inject yourself into the industry. In a matter of a few months, you will likely be regarded as the leading authority on the subject by many. That type of effort, planning, and execution provides far more client leads than simply advertising. Plus, it will keep you on top of your game with current trends. You will be considered the “go to” problem solver in that particular industry. Success will come.