Browse Archives | Subscribe | Home

Ed Poll
  Week of October 2, 2007

Now Don't Get Defensive...

In a recent article, I read a new reason given for why lawyers hate marketing and can't "sell." Larry Richard, Ph.D., a psychologist, J.D., and consultant, suggests that it's because lawyers have little or no "resiliency." Dr. Richard reached his conclusion by giving the Caliper Profile, a widely used personality test, to a large cross-section of lawyers and comparing the results to those of the general population. He defines resiliency as "the ability to bounce back from criticism or rejection," and says of lawyers:

In the hundreds of cases we've gathered, nearly all of the lawyers we've profiled (90% of them) score in the lower half of this trait [resiliency], with the average being 30%. The range is quite wide, with quite a number of lawyers scoring in the bottom tenth percentile. What does this tell us? Despite the outward confidence and even boldness that characterizes most lawyers, we may be a bit more sensitive under the surface. These lower scores may explain why so many partners' meetings get sidetracked into defensive exchanges and why a simple request to turn in timesheets is often met with a defensive tirade.

As I write this, I am reminded of something that happened to me very recently. Someone criticized an action I took. My knee-jerk reaction was to be defensive, to justify, and to feel hurt because I felt the criticism was not justified and uttered merely to make the other person feel more powerful! That's not the point. The point is that I fell right into the category that Larry Richard outlines ... without realizing how close to his "line" I was/am.
Even successful sales people will frequently meet criticism and rejection, but their focus is consistently on achieving the next "yes" rather than dwelling on the last "no." They view "no" merely as one more step on the journey to "yes."
While lawyers may believe they are not marketing oriented or skilled, I believe everyone can market, and should market, more than they do. But, people have to stay within their "comfort zone" and do the things that come naturally, within their zone of comfort. Many times, in my coaching lawyers, the focus becomes learning what the comfort zone is for the attorney and demonstrating to the attorney that he or she can work within that zone of comfort—in other words, learn that "no" is just a word and not an assault on competence or personality. Once attorneys understand this and how to deal with it, they are off and running, contributing to the firm in ways they had not previously contemplated.

Ed Poll

Secrets of The Business of Law®: Successful Practices for Increasing Your Profits! Provides attorneys and law firms specific and practical suggestions for being more effective and making more money in the process. This book is organized in five parts (Planning for success, Client Relations, Financial Management, Law Office Technology, and Office & Management Issues) to help lawyers learn how to:
• Improve client relations
• Keep clients
• Raise revenue and lower overhead
• Prepare for success by using a business plan
• and much, much more!
Click here to purchase for
only $49.95


Ed Poll
Ed Poll

Personal Commentary
I will be a busy man this month. The following are a few of the events I have scheduled for the next two weeks. I hope you can make it to one of them!
When: October 4, 2007 (9:00 a.m. ET - 4:00 p.m. ET)
Title: The Profitable Law Practice—Strategies to Enhance Your Success
Where: Cleveland Bar Offices, Cleveland, OH
Organization: Association of Legal Administrators & Cleveland Bar Association
When: October 5, 2007 (10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon ET)
Title: Running a Law Practice: The Coach's Summit
Where: Shoreby Club, Bratenahl, OH
Organization: Andy Birol's Entrepreneur's Circle
When: October 9, 2007 (4:00 - 7:00 p.m. ET)
Title: Profitability Boot Camp for Small Firms
Where: Social Law Library, Boston, MA
Organization: Lawyers Weekly USA & Social Law Library
When: October 10, 2007 (10:00 - 11:00 a.m. ET)
Title: Cash Flow: Sound Strategies & Best Practices
Where: Teleseminar Series
Organization: West LegalEdcenter
Best wishes,
Ed Poll

Ed Poll
Ed Poll

What Readers Are Saying...
Secrets of The Business of Law® is the most insightful book I've read on this topic. It is written in an engaging, easy-to-digest style, and there was never a dull moment. I recommend it to anyone who runs a law firm and needs to turn a profit.
-CM, Massachusetts

Ed Poll
Ed Poll

© 2007 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

This LawBiz Tips E-Zine is listed under the following categories: