The legal industry isn’t often renown for pizzazz. Let’s change that.
Breaking molds can make for happier lawyers and better-served clients.
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein
You know the adage that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life? Good luck with that. Doing what you love – and I sincerely hope you are – usually still requires plenty of grind. But, doing what you love, infused with your own authentic flavor of individual pizzazz? Win! Creativity in the legal profession can mean a lot of things. Find a creative solution. Advance a novel argument. Identify a unique perspective. All good. But the best lawyers I’ve met employ those along with another kind of creativity: putting the stamp of your own singular self-expression on your day and on your work.
As “retail” market forces like online consumer reviews and web-based legal service providers press efforts to commoditize legal services, standing out to clients seems increasingly difficult. Clients can now view price menus for discount legal services on the internet and walk into legal storefronts located in shopping centers. The conventional law firm model is fast becoming an anachronism in the eyes of many. Traditional firms are often accustomed to competing only with other traditional firms. But competing in this new landscape may require a sea change in how firms relate to clients. Hundred-year histories and unfamiliar rankings may resonate less than nimble, modern, and accessible. A creative approach that embraces innovation can open new avenues for reaching clients and avoid the risks of stagnating in a structurally changed marketplace.
Striking the right balance of professionalism and personality is likely different for all, and optional for none. Dropping hyper-formal and sometimes cookie-cutter communications in favor of original, engaging, conversational language can keep readers’ attention and lead to more phone calls. Mixing up the gray and navy suits with your favorite bright tie or artsy statement jewelry can catch eyes and start more personal, bonding conversations. Replacing some golf outings with taking clients to a choice local festival, gallery, or vineyard can feel fresh and create more memorable impressions. Whatever your favorite things, taking a contemporary path and weaving in outside-the-box ideas true to your own creativity can make your mark.
The legal profession is steeped in precedent and conservative tradition. While there’s good reason for both, too much convention can cork creativity. The best lawyers I’ve met revel in knowing their colors and showing them. They exude a contagious spark that inspires colleagues and bonds clients. Appreciated for both their technical expertise and genuine signature approach, these are folks who garner strong client loyalty and serve as great examples of intelligence having fun.
Andrea Annechino is a legal writer and business development professional, aiming to advance creative, leading-edge initiatives in the legal community. She graduated in 2010 from New York Law School, where she was a founding member of the school’s Program in Law and Journalism, LASIS blog, and Fashion Law project. After more than a decade in New York City, Andrea is happy to be back in her native Rochester and supporting her hometown’s renewal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 585.512.3539.
This article recently appeard on The Daily Record's Generation J.D. blog.