It is the opposite of boasting, of swagger, of bluster, and of grandstanding. Do we all not get tired, just plain old tired, of trumpeters and those brazen windbags. Those swelled head lawyers that convince themselves and yell at others as to how they are better than everyone else? I know I do.
What is with these so called "Super Lawyer" contests that really say to others that the lawyer with the biggest ego can buy the biggest ad.
And, the thing is, whether in terms of law or anything else, those that promote themselves as better or the best are generally just to opposite. After all, law firms require management and not just ego. Leadership builds the better practice and not merely showmanship.
The truth of the matter is that whether you are a good lawyer or not, success rates are as much a matter of the cases that walk in your door, and the fact with which you are presented, as much as skill.
There is not generally a new theory, marketing wise or legal wise, in the practice of law that allows one lawyer to be necessarily better than any other, or the best for that matter.
I get this a lot from new lawyers trying to start out. Most recognize their limitations, but there are always a few that think they are infallible. Moxie is good, but hang around it too long and it gets really old really quick.
The problem is that lawyers starting out try to sit down and figure out how they can be better than their colleagues. Too often this boils down to promoting a better price because they do not know enough yet to figure out how to be better in other ways. First, this cheapens the lawyer's image and lowers their earnings. Second, it presents a false choice.
Just because a lawyer is proud enough to get up and beat their chest -- toot their own horn -- does not make their services better. The opposite is probably true.
And, the truth of the matter is that with the false choice we all really have to psyche ourselves into to this mode. We do it because we worry about overall success. We are then unhappy with ourselves for doing it, and we find ourselves unhappy with the practice of law.
So, if this is a false choice, what is the right choice?
It is figuring out how not to be better than the competition, but to figure out how to be different from your fellow lawyers.
Different is not necessarily better, but it presents a much better marketing perspective. It presents generally a truthful marketing perspective. More importantly, different is where the money is, and not in being merely better. There is little money in being better because we have all learned it is an impossible goal. This horn blowing has taught all of us over the years that good generally means crappy because the the person or firm is interested in themselves more than their clients.
Distinguish yourself from your colleagues. You can be both different and humble.
How are you, as a new lawyer, unique? Do you have a special way to treat clients? Maybe something like cooperative divorce. Maybe a real estate attorney that concentrates on hotels and motels sales. A lawyer that represents only the deaf. Someone that listens. A mediator that concentrate on commercial mortgage defaults. A lawyer that works from his or her home, or does not maintain a traditional office. A lawyer whose practice is based on social networking.
The possibilities are endless really. It is the basis of niche legal practice and marketing. But, the point is not to say how good your are or that you can beat any other lawyer, or that you know the judge. Even if all of that is true, what will bring people in the door is demonstrating that you are different -- not necessarily better. So, of course be the best you can be, but mainly figure out how to be different.