Sometimes you have to start with the basics – why do lawyers suck?

WhyLawyersSuck_3D-72dpiThis blog was started with the idea of changing the legal profession by changing the way lawyers looked at their profession through thought provoking articles.  I think I may have been taking the wrong approach.  Lawyers need to take a good, hard look at how their clients perceive them, as painful and hard on our egos as that may be, and then either fix things, or help the public see how their perceptions are inaccurate.

So I started collecting input from friends, family, and strangers about what they thought about lawyers.  The research was remarkable.  People had very sound reasons for dislike of lawyers, many things that had never crossed my mind, but were legitimate concerns and critiques.  I had also been doing a lot of reading and hands-on research about life in general over the past few years and started putting the pieces together of why I, after 20 years as a trial lawyers, and my fellow colleagues, were the way we were.  I have been coming to some unexpected conclusions, and have even tried out some very unconventional methods of adapting how I interact with other lawyers with great success.

It is all too much to put in a series of blog articles, though, so instead I started writing and assembling a book – “Why Lawyers Suck and What You Can Do About It.”  It is scheduled for publication in February 2014 and I set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds to make this book a reality.  Contributors to the project can not only get an autographed copy of the book, but can contribute content for the book, in other words, say what they really think of lawyers and get a response.

The deadline to contribute to this project is October 4, 2013.

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The tweet-up virgin has an epiphany

This evening I attended my very first “tweet-up”* after a long day of continuing legal education at the California Bar Association’s Annual Meeting.

*For you those of you as ignorant as I was a day or two ago, a tweet-up is a real world meeting between two or more people who know each other via Twitter, an online networking service.  Although often used for mere social purposes, Twitter has become an important  aspect of business and even international politics.

This particular tweet-up was courtesy of Adrian Dayton, author of the just released “Social Media for Lawyers: Twitter Edition,” and attended by a collection of wonderful people involved with the legal profession in one way or another.

As I left for home I felt strangely energized and wondered why.  What was the appeal of this particular group of people over any other random collection of strangers I might meet at any other bar function?  And then it came to me, like a bolt of lightening  – these people were interested in positive relationships with other people.  It was making those relationships, helping other people, that drove them to their business success.  They revelled in their ability to help other people succeed.

How remarkably unlike lawyers!

Positive people vs. negative people.  Yet another understanding of why people hate lawyers.

Yesterday Stephen Fairley of The Rainmaker Institute (a non-lawyer) gave a 3-hour presentation on “The Top 10 “Secret” Strategies Used by Rainmakers:  How to Build a 7 Figure Law Firm During Difficult Times.”  His core message – building relationships will increase your business success.  It was marvelous and I already have a long list of his suggestions that I will implement in my businesses.  I walked out the door excited to work on my client relationships.

The Bar Association won’t give me any CLE credit for that class, however.  They will give me credit for today’s class on avoiding malpractice claims (by lawyers) which included a passing reference to the well-known fact that a large number of malpractice claims arise out of failure to communicate with one’s client.  I walked out feeling depressed.  A fellow lawyer attended a class that pointed out all the pitfalls of using social media; she walked out feeling angry.

Lawyers know how to suck the life out of everything, though there is no need for it.  As but one example, if lawyers would implement Stephen’s recommendations for building more successful law practices – creating and maintaining strong relationships – they would reduce their malpractice liability.  Two birds – one stone.  They might also be infinitely more appealing to hang out with.

It is time for the legal profession to stop focusing on the negative and return to the role of helping other people.  Novel, isn’t it?  Make a positive contribution to society.  Ironically, it follows sound business development practices.  Stephen, perhaps you should rename your seminar “Why People Hate Lawyers and How You Can Change That (and make more money in the process).”

So, my new tweet friends (including Donna Seyle who graciously transposed Tweet into regular email to invite me), thank you for sharing your remarkable positive energy on a profession that has long been in decay, but is finally making a change for the better, one tweet at a time!