MAKING YOURSELF IRREPLACEABLE AT YOUR LAW FIRM
You’ve been at a firm for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. Things seem to be moving along just fine. You’ve got a decent office, a secretary, a paralegal and an associate or two. Think you’re irreplaceable in the firm? Can someone else do your job and cost the firm less? Do you generate business for the firm?
The truth can be scary. With the legal industry implementing hiring freezes and thousands of layoffs, there is certainly some concern about the future of legal careers. Many people in your position have been laid off and are looking for new work. How can you make sure you’re not one of them? Building your resume, generating business and proving your worth are the things every lawyer must do to ensure employment.
Building your resume
We’ve talked about this in previous posts, but it’s very important for all lawyers – regardless of the experience level. And, consider this: Building your resume increases the firm’s resume. What partner wouldn’t want to say they hired the “West Coast’s leading expert on _______”? At the point you become known within the legal community, your talent and expertise becomes a selling point for the firm.
Tooting your own horn
This can be tough for attorneys. Typically, we’re not sales people at heart; and it’s very difficult for most people to brag. However, when you’re in a competitive work environment, bragging can mean survival. Make sure that your clients, your co-workers and the firm’s marketing department know about your successes. If you’re chosen for an award or if you write an article, make sure to include this on your resume and ask the marketing department to write a quick press release.
Don’t forget to share your trial victories and speeches with your LinkedIn connections, as well. Everyone wants to be associated with a “winner.” The more you let people know about your successes, the more success you’ll have.
Obviously, this is one of the most important skills any attorney can learn. An attorney who aggressively works to bring new clients to the firm is someone who simply cannot be replaced. These “rainmakers” are the most vital part of any firm. They are the people who “keep the lights on” and no equity partner wants to disrupt that type of success.
The days of simply showing up at work and putting in your time is no longer the key to longevity. You have to go the extra mile to make sure that you are irreplaceable in the firm.