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Tip 3: Don’t Be a Pain in the Niche

When I used to practice, I viewed rainmakers as magicians — voila, they had clients. But how? Then we launched ClaimKit and I started talking to rainmakers on a regular basis. But even more important, I got to talk to the rainmakers’ clients. The clients would explain to me how they perceived the lawyers out there. And it was a true eyeopener. I got to observe them up close. I will be publishing 30 tips to Build a Practice in December. Please email me if you have any questions: chris@claimkit.com. Picking a legal niche is a great idea. But how you approach that niche so that you become the de facto hire when problems arise is also important. The following story is a cautionary tale about how not to approach a niche. When I was a young attorney, I actively started looking for a niche within the construction law world. I ended up deciding between two: green buildings and public private partnerships. I chose green building law because my girlfriend at the time (now wife) worked at an environmental non profit firm. I then started writing a blog about the litigation, lawsuits and claims that were certainly going to arise out of the trendy green building movement. I published a blog that became somewhat lawyer-internet famous: Green Building Law Update. And after about a year of writing, I came up with the phrase LEEDigation. LEED is an extremely popular certification for green buildings; so I cynically combined LEED and litigation. Lawyers started using it all over the country to talk about the impending green building litigation and claims. Boy, did I feel important! There was just one problem: no one ever called me to work on a green building case. After three years, countless law review articles, chapters in books, and over twenty-five speaking engagements, I had nothing to show for my efforts. There are two reasons why I believe my niche didn’t lead to new work. First, there was little to no LEEDigation. Green buildings simply didn’t lead to an influx of new claims and litigation.  Make sure there is a big enough market for the niche you choose. But I also believe my approach to the niche turned people off. When I spoke on green buildings, I talked about the handful of lawsuits that were out there. I talked about reasons why green buildings would lead to future problems and […]

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Tip 2: Rainmakers Pick a Niche, Then Get Rich

When I used to practice, I viewed rainmakers as magicians — voila, they had clients. But how? Then we launched ClaimKit and I started talking to rainmakers on a regular basis. But even more important, I got to talk to the rainmakers’ clients. The clients would explain to me how they perceived the lawyers out there. And it was a true eyeopener. I got to observe them up close. I will be publishing 30 tips to Build a Practice in December. Please email me if you have any questions: chris@claimkit.com. I remember the day when I decided I needed a legal niche. I was sitting in my office, and I started thinking about the 100 other lawyers in my law firm. We all did construction and surety law. And then it struck me: how the heck was I going to distinguish myself from the other 100 lawyers?  I decided I needed a niche (more on this in the next post). You may work in a small law firm, a medium sized law firm, or a large law firm. No matter your firm, if you are a construction or surety attorney, you have competition. Nearly every state I can think of has multiple construction and surety attorneys. More populous states have hundreds of construction and surety attorneys. A niche is how you distinguish yourself from the pack.  If you don’t believe me, go read this article about being “niche slapped.” Cordell Parvin became a successful construction law rainmaker by picking a niche. He explained to me how he chose his niche in transportation law: First, our country was in the midst of building the interstate system. So, I knew there would be work over the next 20 plus years. Second, at Virginia Tech I met and became friends with guys whose families owned the largest highway contractor in Virginia and the largest highway contractor in West Virginia. Third, and the clincher was when I was asked to speak at the 1981 ABA Annual Meeting. I remember being on a conference call and the moderator asked each of us for our topic. When I said highway construction, he said: “Cordell, no one (lawyers) cares about highway construction.” That sealed it for me. I knew I could become the best known in that niche. So how do you pick a niche? If you are a construction or surety attorney, I would recommend subscribing to […]

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Tip 1: Rainmakers Get Through the Dip

When I used to practice, I viewed rainmakers as magicians — voila, they had clients. But how? Then we launched ClaimKit and I started talking to rainmakers on a regular basis. But even more important, I got to talk to the rainmakers’ clients. The clients would explain to me how they perceived the lawyers out there. And it was a true eyeopener. I got to observe them up close. I will be publishing 30 tips to Build a Practice in December. Please email me if you have any questions: chris@claimkit.com. Right out of the gate, I am going to present my penultimate belief about rainmakers: the key is persistence. Rainmakers show up every day to help clients. Most people fail at something because they are not persistent. I have a guitar that I received for Christmas almost ten years ago. I can’t play a single chord, let alone a song. Once a year, I decide “this is it, this is when I learn to play this darn guitar.” Then I open the guitar case, blow off the dust, and start practicing. A few days in, a hard chord arrive, my tiny fingers start hurting (yes, I have small hands) and I quit. Quitting new things is a natural phenomenon that Seth Godin labeled The Dip: The Dip occurs when results diminish over a period of time. When I am learning the guitar, the first few chords are easy, but then more complicated chords take longer to learn — and I quit. Everything we learn to do has a Dip. If a person can push through the Dip, that person can recognize even greater results. But most people quit when results diminish. I know first hand how the Dip applies in client development. Before I started ClaimKit, I started my own law firm (the name still makes me cringe — The Law Office of Christopher W. Cheatham). Looking back, I can clearly see the Dip: That was my Dip. When I launched my firm, I had some immediate wins. I got two new clients in the door, and I won a big argument that helped one of my clients vacate a default judgment. Then those two clients received my bills and they balked at paying. I could not imagine doing my best work and then fighting over bills for the rest of my life. So I hit eject. I quit to […]

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The Best Benefit Of Every Nhl Months Are The New 3Rd Jerseys

Right the Browns are sorely lacking talent at the receiver opportunity. cheap jerseys For one child, any natural solutions that are used like a constipation remedy really wholesale jerseys China ought to used at 1/3 the quantity detailed for an adult. There are many varieties of ATV helmets and tougher protection the cheap hockey jerseys from China helmet provides, the better it will. The jersey leak confirms a Feb. 11 report from Brotherly Game stating how the jersey would honor Bethlehem Steel FC and have the Philadelphia Union’s sponsor on it. Charles Brown the large offensive tackle from USC, may have heard Charlie Brown football jokes growing up if wasn’t so oversized. When in season stick to a large bowl of watermelon and cantaloupe pieces. Furthermore made Roethlisberger jerseys prevalent everywhere also; he discharged great plays when the group needed which. Perhaps this for you is superb but elusive dream, but here All things considered if, generally if the world is so wonderful, an individual might be so houses! As head coach Gary Patterson noted in the press conference there is plenty staying fired up about on Saturday. I guess we can see why it’s the Cy Young Award. Residence did (and I’m NOT) say that wearing a suit meant you were as wicked as Hitler, wouldn’t you be hurt? Analysis: PFDN evaluated Sapp to become one-dimensional pass rusher who we didn’t like being a 4-3 defensive end previously nfl. This brings up an often overlooked issue: the Redskins have had some belonging to the worst kickers in the nfl the particular Dan Snyder era, a period when nfl teams have been so near the cheap nfl jerseys coast talent that special teams create a huge dissimilarity. May likely surprise yourself when the ease in starts bouncing off ideas. The Yankees and the Rays both have more than 20 wins; yet only two players from associated with these teams (Robinson Cano and Evan Longoria) are the particular American League’s top-5 any kind of one next offensive categories: Batting Average (Cano), Home Runs, and RBIs (Longoria). For anyone who is an online football betting junkie, it’s important to get as many details on a future season maybe can. Now that we’ve been redeemed, excellent artwork i just show it in the way we costume. Without a spread to contend with, you will need be that may choose six wholesale nfl jerseys […]

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If You Build It: Chris Hill

This is the third post in our construction law business development series.  Chris Hill is a wild man — he has published thousands of construction law blog posts over at his site, Construction Law Musings.  As a result, if you search “construction law Virginia,” his blog is at the top of the list.  So I recently reached out to Chris H and ask him about his relentless business development efforts. Chris C:  Chris, thanks for joining me for this interview. The focus is on business development. You are the most persistent construction law blogger out there. Why do you do it? Chris H:  First and foremost, I enjoy it. I always tell people that if it ain’t fun, there’s no point in keeping it up. I haven’t been able to get a time to dollars metric of any quality to see how blogging leads to money, though I do know folks have found me through Construction Law Musings. I first began because I heard it was a good idea. Then I met folks like you, found out it was a good way to get my name out there and frankly that I learned something each time I thought about a new post. Blogging keeps me up to date on construction law trends, helps with “real world” introduction as and connections, and gives me some way to get my thoughts on various construction related topics out there.   Oh. . . and it seems to have some business development benefit. Chris C:  The phrase “sharing economy” has been at the front of my mind recently. Why do you share free information via your blog? Chris H:  I know it sounds corny and canned but I hope that my thoughts at Musings help folks.  I would much rather spend my time helping out than being in court, though I enjoy the courtroom also. Like I said before, I actually enjoy the process of writing something that, hopefully, people will want to read.  Blogging is a good platform because the posts don’t have to be long and that is good for a solo like me. I’d also rather have a potential client read the blog and then call because I think that the blog, as opposed to the more static firm website, gives a more in depth view of me and my practice.  Hopefully if a potential client takes some time at Construction Law […]

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If You Build It: Matt Handal

This is the second post on business development for construction and surety lawyers.  Matt Handal does business development for Trauner Consulting.  He’s also very fun to talk to and he tries all sorts of interesting things, like blogging and podcasting.  Make sure you don’t miss his story below about a brilliant piece of proposal writing that won a Corps of Engineers project.   Chris: Matt, thanks for joining me for this interview. I’m excited to talk to you because you have an interesting perspective: you work for a consulting firm that does a lot of work for construction attorneys and law firms.  From an outsider’s perspective, what’s your opinion of law firm business development? Matt: I don’t really have one. I don’t see law firm business development as different from engineering business development or accounting business development. Sure, every business is a unique and special snowflake. But what works in business development is surprisingly universal. Chris: If you were working at a law firm on the business development side, what are three things you would implement on day one? What’s missing from the world of law firm business development? Matt: I can’t speak to what’s missing in law firm business development. But on day one, I would: 1. Identify our best client. 2. Put together a list of other potential clients just like that one. 3. Learn everything I can about what motivates those people, what their problems are, their frustrations, etc. Ultimately, all you really need is: A. The right message. B. An audience that can say, “yes.” Chris: I’m going to push you a bit here. Do you really do this stuff? When have you actually asked your customers what motivates them? Matt: Yes. But how I get there is not as direct as that. I have a list of customer development questions. For example, I might ask: What’s the hardest part of your day? Or I might ask: If you had one complaint about ____ what would it be? I have a list of probably 40+ questions. But its not like I drill them. But that’s about all I’m willing to say about that! 😛 Chris: You are a creative dude. What’s the most creative thing you have ever done to land a client? You better not hold back on me! Matt: Hmmm, that’s a good question. I’m going to disappoint. People have this idea that I’m […]

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