Super Lawyers Selectees On Why They Chose The Legal Field
Consumers Overwhelmingly Trust Online Reviews, Says New FindLaw and Super Lawyers Survey
On "Love Your Lawyer" Day, we asked Super Lawyers selectees why they chose to become attorneys. After all, the legal realm can be a challenging field, and it certainly isn't for everyone. Attorneys who have been selected for Super Lawyers have risen not only to meet these high expectations, but have gone above them, too, so their responses promised to be illuminating. In the responses we received, we saw two significant trends emerge.
The first: legal work is a good fit for intellectually curious, zealous personality types.
"My Dad started a debate with me daily," quipped Super Lawyers selectee Amy Wirtz of Wirtz Legal Solutions LLC in Cleveland. "It was a natural path."
Wirtz seems to be one of the many people who realized they could best channel their natural competitiveness, drive and desire to uncover the truth into only one profession. Many lawyers evidently discovered they liked learning and wanted to do something where their command of a particular subject would be rigorously put to the test. In some people, the adversarial nature of legal proceedings stokes the fire and helps bring out their best.
Super Lawyers selectee Janet Nina Esagoff of The Siegel Law Firm in New York City said she became an attorney because she sought "intellectually and emotionally satisfying work." Her comments exemplified the second key theme, many people who eventually became lawyers wanted a job that challenged their minds, and many feel a great sense of emotional satisfaction and fulfillment when they know they have helped a client. There are not many roles outside that of a counselor that allow people to feel like they have successfully served as a strong advocate.
That isn't to say attorneys go into this line of work expecting every day to be sunny. Rather, it means they are fulfilled by the highlights of what everyone acknowledges can be a difficult profession.
"Not every day feels happy in our profession," said Super Lawyers selectee Maya Shulman of Shulman Family Law Group in Calabasas, Calif. "But on the days when it does, it's a great day!"
How Will you Prove You're the "Best of the Best"?
For the past year both Super Lawyers and FindLaw have been advocating about the value of being proactive when it comes to managing your reputation online. Now there's more proof to that claim.
According to a new survey from FindLaw and Super Lawyers, 87 percent of American consumers say they trust online reviews to help them choose which local businesses or services will receive their hard-earned dollars. Online reviews are an increasingly common way for people to both learn from other customers and leave comments about their own experiences. Reviews can be found for everything from restaurants and stores to finding a professional, such as a lawyer or doctor.
Trust of online reviews is especially high among Millennials and Gen X'ers (those between the ages of 18 and 51), since 91 percent of them say they trust online reviews. That compares with 83 percent of baby boomers.
So what's the best way to assert your firm in this growing marketplace? When it comes to generating a pool of reviews, a helpful approach is to ask your past and current clients. You should inform the client that the feedback they provide will help to address any shortcomings in your service and improve your practice. But be sure to avoid influencing or coaching clients you want feedback from. Keep it simple and encourage them to describe what working with you as an attorney was truly like.
To learn the full story on why consumers deem reviews so valuable and how law firms can leverage them, download the latest Super Lawyers playbook Building Real Trust in a Virtual World: An Attorney's Guide .
There's a preconceived notion out there that attorneys fashion a high opinion of themselves. Whether it's the law school they attended or their win/loss record in cases, the stigma exists. Interestingly enough, in a recent Thomson Reuters study, attorneys in small law firms ranked being "the best of the best" third out of 14 priorities when it came to goals that were most important to them.
But how do you go about being thought of as the "best of the best"? What are some of the things you can do to make your firm stand out? We took a look at three ways to position your firm to be recognized.
Charitable and pro bono legal work provides opportunities to meet people with very different backgrounds and interests whom you may not otherwise meet in your daily life. Fundraising for charities, serving as a board member for a nonprofit and the like will connect you with local business leaders and increase your connections. These networking opportunities may also have the added benefit of generating business for you.
Be Visible to Neutral Third Parties
Your legal accomplishments don't just look good on paper, they are powerful third-party validations that build consumer trust and differentiate your firm from the one down the street. When an unbiased, reputable organization gives your firm its stamp of approval, it can quickly benefit your reputation. Third-party validations such as selection to a Super Lawyers list are among the preeminent ways of bolstering your reputation.
Share Your Accomplishments With Others
One of the strongest and least expensive ways to broaden your firm's footprint is to promote legal achievements and accolades. Chances are you have recognitions to tout such as certifications, recommendations, scholarly writings and awards. You've earned them, but are you promoting them? Download our playbook Leveraging Your Legal Accolades to learn more about spreading the word about legal achievements to maximize your visibility.
Being the "best of the best" is one thing-however telling the world is another. Make sure you do both.