We’re winding down for the holidays here, but at the same time gearing up for a big, exciting 2017. I want to thank you, as one of Simply Stated’s loyal readers, for investing a bit of your time and attention to my blog this year. I hope you enjoyed reading the content as much I enjoyed producing it.
I’m really excited for what’s on tap next year. I will be sending out much more information about our upcoming initiatives at Harrington Communications in the months to come, but here’s a quick preview:
- I will be launching an online course addressing the topic of personal branding for lawyers in February.
- My new book, geared to first and second year lawyers and featuring insights from some of the country’s top lawyers and consultants, will be coming out next summer.
- I’m now booking engagements to speak at law firm retreats and training workshops about topics like personal branding, building a niche practice, productivity, and social media/content marketing. If you’d like to discuss, please email me at email@example.com.
I will be publishing one more post next week, then will take a two-week hiatus to engage in some festive holiday fun with friends and family. In the meantime, I wanted to share a few light, random musings about topics that I think may be of interest to you or others in your firm.
USE BETTER STOCK PHOTOS
Photography is an integral part of brand design, particularly for most sophisticated professional services firms. And while it would be great to hire a professional photographer every time you need some new creative, that’s rarely feasible from a cost or logistical standpoint. Most times you need to grab a quick stock photo.
But that doesn’t mean that stock photos need to be tacky, formulaic, tripe or boring. Can we move on from the two-suited-men-shaking-hands photo to demonstrate the idea that “our firm works hand in hand with our clients”? We can actually.
An increasing number of stock photo sites are coming online that offer stunning and creative photos and offer great alternatives to the big stock photo sites. Some of my favorites include Unsplash and PicJumbo.
Here’s the best part: while many of the traditional stock photo sites (iStock, Getty, etc.) charge anywhere from $20 to several hundred dollars for a single photo license, sites like Unsplash and PicJumbo are free. Many of the photographs they offer are also free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, and distribute the photography, even for commercial purposes, without asking permission.
THE 10,000 RULE IN THE PRACTICE OF LAW
The first couple of years of practicing law is a time of (at best) uncertainty, and (at worst) despair, for many young lawyers. The road to mastery is a long one in the legal profession. Young lawyers can take heart in the fact that, if you put the work in, it will get better and more comfortable, and you will become more confident. This often happens in a lawyer’s fourth or fifth year of practice (I know, that sounds like a long time). Just do the math.
In his 2008 book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” 2,000 hours per year x 5 years=10,000 hours. It’s not a perfect analogy. And, no, “greatness” is likely too high a bar to shoot for as a fifth year lawyer. But the mid-point in an associate’s career is the time that he or she typically assumes much greater ownership over matters, begins managing teams, starts developing (or at least nurturing business), and casts an eye toward partnership.
Young professionals: Keep plugging away. It will get better. And you will get better.
I listen to a bunch of different podcasts during “margin” time – in the car, on a run, while grocery shopping. A couple of my favorite podcasts that I think are worth checking out, include:
- “StartUp” is a podcast about what it’s really like to start a business. The first two seasons of StartUp (which are the best seasons in my opinion) are hosted by Alex Blumberg, a former producer of the “This American Life” podcast and public radio show. StartUp provides an inside look at what it really takes to start a business.
- Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” podcast is as entertaining as it is interesting and informative. In typical Gladwell fashion, it leverages storytelling to “examine the way the passage of time changes and enlightens our understanding of the world around us.” What I like most about Revisionist History is that it inspires me to look at issues from multiple angles.
The “Hallelujah” episode about the creative processes of Elvis Costello and Leonard Cohen is a great jumping off point for a new listener.
- I also really enjoy “Scriptnotes”, which is hosted by John August and Craig Mazin. They are both accomplished screenwriters and discuss screenwriting and related topics in the film and television industry. It’s a great podcast if you’re interested in movies, writing, and storytelling in general.
Looking for a last-minute gift idea for a colleague, family member or friend? Consider purchasing my book, One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Legal Practice. You can purchase it here. Thanks!