These lawyer New Year’s resolutions will help you kick off a successful 2018

lawyer new year's resolutionsAs we head into the last weekend of the year, I’d like to leave you with some homework: Write your Entrepreneurial Lawyer New Year’s Resolutions.

Although the holidays and year-end can carry a lot of stress, the new year also brings with it a sense of renewal and new beginnings. If you own a business, such a small law firm, your focus in January can help set the stage for the entire year to come.

I called it homework, but writing your resolutions shouldn’t be as labor-intensive as writing a business plan. Rather, it should help you get clear on your priorities – and that should include your personal life as well as your business.

After years of working with independent lawyers, I have noted some patterns that help lead these entrepreneurs to success. These form my recommendations for New Year’s resolutions for lawyers:

Resolve to Connect – Not Network

You could attend a different professional event each night for a month, but never make a meaningful connection.

The new year is a great time to take a different approach to building your network. Focus on connecting with the person and not his or her business. Ultimately, it’s people who will bring you new clients and new prospects, and you will come to mind more readily if your connection with someone goes beyond the exchange of business cards.

A Harvard Business Review contributor offers this advice for moving past surface level:

Identify what sets you apart. One of the fastest ways to build a connection with someone is to find a commonality you share with them (your alma mater, a love of dogs, a passion for clean tech). That’s table stakes. But the way to genuinely capture their interest is to share something that seems exotic to them. It will often vary by context…”

Consider not only what sets you apart in a crowd, but what type of connections feel the most meaningful to you. Strong professional relationships can not only bring you a potential source of new business, but they can help you feel more satisfied in your career overall.

Resolve to Try Something New

The legal industry continues to evolve, and small law firms have a unique opportunity to meet clients’ needs in new ways. As an independent lawyer, you don’t have to practice law the way big firms have for years. Your firm’s size gives you the flexibility to try new approaches.

Consider a new billing model, or adopt new technology that allows you to better serve clients. Try a new marketing tactic.

One Forbes contributor challenges seasoned business leaders to evolve, saying:

“I know hundreds of senior leaders who have been in their jobs for 25 years or more and think they know everything because it worked for 25 years. But when you have not reinvented yourself as a leader to serve the changing workplace and marketplace, you have not gotten your hands dirty enough to evolve – and see and seize new opportunities even as you manage existing ones.”

If the status quo is not serving you or your business, challenge it.

Resolve to Define Success on Your Own Terms

Many independent lawyers leave big law in search of a better lifestyle. For some, that means more free time to pursue personal interests or spend time with family. For others, it’s more about gaining a sense of autonomy over one’s career.

What defines “success” for you? Not your parents, colleagues, peers or mentors – you. Maybe you want enough money in the bank to live comfortably, but enough free time to summit 14ers. Maybe you want to provide legal counsel to an underserved group of people?

Take time to get clear on what drives you, and that will help drive your business to the next level.

We wish you a happy and prosperous 2018. To learn more about co-working for lawyers in Denver, contact us. We offer office space and co-working space at two central locations.