Start Planning for 2021 Today So You Don’t Lose Valuable Time in the First Quarter of the New Year

We recently interviewed Scott Love for The Thought Leadership Project podcast, where Scott offered what he believes to be the five key attributes of successful law firm partners. The upshot was this: If you’re looking to become partner in the near future, or if you are a partner at a firm and want to further your career, either at the firm you’re with now or at some future endeavor, there are common behaviors you can learn, emulate and leverage to “follow the leaders” and ultimately become one yourself.

Scott is a legal recruiter who focuses on national partner placement for Amlaw100 and Amlaw200 law firms. When it comes to seeing and forecasting partner growth, he has made it his career to recognize success factors. He is also an expert on the topic of business development strategy, and uses this skill to help partners reach their full potential in joining a new firm.

As Scott tells it, what he’s observed to be common among those who achieve the highest level of success are these five attributes or behaviors:

  • They have a business plan.

  • They have a niche.

  • They have good leadership skills and people skills.

  • They take initiative, such as creating their own events.

  • They have regular habits.

It seems straightforward enough. So why do so many attorneys report having such difficulty taking their careers to the next level? It’s probably a number of factors, perhaps in confluence, that serve as headwinds for many lawyers. 

What Holds Attorneys Back from Achieving Their Ambitions?

For one, it could be limiting beliefs that many attorneys harbor, foremost among them “imposter’s syndrome,” a topic we covered at some length in another episode of the podcast. 

A related limiting belief is that “it won’t work,” or the fallacy that there is no audience for one’s commentary or thought leadership.

There is also this common “Catch-22” for service professionals who bill their time for a living, which I call the business development conundrum: Attorneys bill hours to earn a salary. But they develop business to build a book, which takes time and cuts into the hours. 

Finally, there is the issue of accountability. Firm leadership is no doubt holding attorneys and partners to certain standards in terms of fee generation, but too often they are not providing the pathway or resources to achieve the stated ends. In other words, attorneys and partners are held accountable to the end result, but not to the daily behaviors and action plans that actually achieve the results.

There’s a Map for That

This problem rarely resolves itself on its own. In fact, it more commonly gets repeatedly kicked down the road, as it’s tempting to focus on the urgent and important matters at hand for most attorneys: serving clients and billing hours. But what about the things in life that are, in some ways, more important…but less urgent? This is where career advancement and personal fulfillment live. It’s what would be described as “Quadrant Two” activity in The Eisenhower Matrix.

The second quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix, Dwight Eisenhower’s prioritization framework, is for important but not urgent tasks. For lawyers, second quadrant tasks, such as business development, building systems, and developing delegation strategies, are what allow a legal practice to grow and scale. Yet, despite their critical importance, they are often relegated to the bottom of to-do-lists in favor of more billable hours.

Understanding that these efforts are so frequently deferred by busy attorneys, we have set out to create a 12-month program that solves this business development conundrum once and for all. 

As designed, it accounts for all of the headwinds mentioned above, so that an attorney can start to feel the tailwinds of programmatic activities and systems that will scale a legal practice and achieve both personal and professional fulfillment for those who embark on the path. 

The appropriately named “Quadrant Two Academy” delivers:

  • Accountability, as you join a group of peers all on the same path and career trajectory, who will serve as your accountability partners and advisors throughout the program.

  • Coaching and mentorship, with personalized guidance based on your individual aspirations and industry niche.

  • Training and curriculum, specifically engineered for attorneys wanting to take their practices to the next level.

  • All five of Scott Love’s “key attributes of successful law firm partners.”

There are peer groups, or “mastermind” roundtables, in virtually every industry niche. The business of law should be no different. Attorneys, like everyone else, should be committed, lifelong learners. We should rely on peer cohorts to share best practices, serve as sounding boards, and act as support networks to like-minded professionals.

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

I urge every attorney who is planning to make 2021 the year to focus on scaling one’s practice to not wait until January to start planning. Resolve today to take the first step in carving out your own plan for success. The rule books changed so much in 2020 that it’s imperative lawyers re-examine the way they network, learn and grow. 

The technology is there. The pathway is there. All it takes now is resolve.


Complimentary Webinar

If you are ready to start planning today for what tomorrow will bring, we invite you to attend a complimentary webinar on Wednesday, December 9th at 1:00 p.m. EST:
The Power of Positioning

Are you struggling to gain traction with your legal practice? Are high-quality clients hard to come by? Do you feel scattered? Does your practice lack a strategic focus? This webinar presented by Jay Harrington and me will address the key issues lawyers should consider to position themselves for success with their ideal clients in 2010 and beyond!





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