It has been difficult the past couple of weeks to write anything on a blog such as this which is really all about commentary on the practice and management of law practice. Maybe it's because I read about 75 different news sources on a given day, but it is all sounding more the same than it even usually does.
Yes, we all hear every day that:
- no one knows whether the lay-offs we are seeing are simply 'normal' adjustment given the economic volatility;
- no one knows whether the recent large law firm collapses of Thelen and Heller are indicative of future failures, or whether they were weak firms that otherwise would have withstood the recent market gyrations.
- no one knows whether the entire business and/or legal community is still falling off a cliff and if so whether we'll bounce or crash./li>
- one one knows if, alternatively, we'll pull a rabbit out of a hat and avert serious repercussions (unemployment in double-digits, major negative growth, serious deflation).
It's definitely time to get beyond mental hand-wringing.
It is tempting to wonder if everything we do in terms of marketing and selling our practices is now obsolete.
I am reminded of a scene out of Tolkien. In the dead center of his sprawling trilogy, Tolkien places a loyal warrior of conservative outlook (small "c") and juxtaposes him with: 1) an imminent war with a large and agressive neighboring state (Saruman); 2) real instability in the home political front (Theoden supplanted by Wormtongue); and 3) the 'chance' meeting of a political upstart (Aragorn), a representative of an enemy race (Gimli the dwar), and a vaguely untrustworthy representative of an exotic and dangerous land (Legolas the elf of Mirkwood). Eomer rights asks Aragorn: "what shall a man judge as right in these strange days?"
Aragorn answers: "as he ever did." Right, in "Middle Earth" did not change. Well, right does not change for us either in our early 21st Century, at least as it applies to growing our practices and our respective networks and our outreach.
We must continue to reach out to known contacts, seek profitable introductions through trusted colleagues, and keep on building, improving and expanding our print and internet 'footprints.'
Let's all get back out there. For those of us who haven't yet faltered but are unsure, be confident. Even if there are set-backs, the basic human needs that drive our economy will continue to make the demand for our services, no matter what our place in the legal market, strong.
For some step-by-step reminders on how to build your network, click here.
Stay on course!