Rainmaking Recommendation #199: Three Types of Lawyers In a Crisis

During this anomalous time in our history, one in which the entire world has been asked to self-quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19, fear seems to be the dominant emotion for many.  

How can it not be?  When all you read is news designed to cause panic, when all you watch is television coverage designed to cause you as much fear as possible, when you are not able to decompress by doing the things you may have done in the past, like visiting friends or going to the gym to work out, you will allow your mind to take you to places you don’t want it to go. 

During this time, there will be three types of lawyers out there:

  1. Those who will try to maintain the status quo:

This will be impossible to do because courts are closed or closing, you’ve moved your practice from an office to your home, and layoffs in the industry are beginning to happen. As my friend and colleague, Lindsay Griffiths, Executive Director of the International Lawyers Network wrote in her most recent blog on leadership during this crisis:

“Some firms were figuring out how to work from home from the first time, some were figuring out which employees were essential and which weren’t, and what equipment everyone needed, and where. Parents were jugging homeschooling for the first time, while trying to navigate working full time AND parenting AND homeschooling.”

This is anything but the status quo.

2.Those who will become paralyzed with fear, anxiety, and depression:

It is no secret that our profession has a very high incidence of depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse in “normal” times. It is a very stressful industry. However, this particular moment in time may exacerbate many lawyers’ anxiety levels from that which they can handle on a day-to-day basis to an intensity that may become unbearable. While I am not qualified to help with these specific issues (other than to listen), I have been in the situation when something happened (specifically my dad’s passing) that caused me to become paralyzed with depression and the only thing I could do was to stay in bed with the blackout curtains drawn doing absolutely nothing. Please seek professional help or at least someone you can talk to, even if it is virtually (and if you need some referrals, let me know). This is not helpful.

I know from first-hand experience that allowing yourself to wallow in these fears, anxieties, and depression only works to keep you further paralyzed from doing what you need to do.


3. Those who will take responsibility and (more importantly) action in their careers:

One of the best ways I know to combat the first two types above is to help others. The only way I got out of my depression was to pour myself into my work with lawyers to help them.

Your clients are begging to be helped. And not necessarily in the manner you would think. As I mentioned in my last Rainmaking Recommendation, you must become a resource for them. Help them navigate their issues and fears, legal or not, and you will become a trusted advisor to them.

Additionally, you must look at this an opportunity to set yourself up for the future. While you may not be as busy with legal work as you would like, you can now take the time to revise (or write) your Rainmaking Plan for the year and then begin to implement it. But, you must also understand that it is not business development as usual either. You may have to pivot your message to take into account what I happening in the world and your niches’ industries. Please do not be tone-deaf or fear-mongering about your marketing message.

Legal marketing and business development, i.e. Rainmaking, are long term propositions. Now that you may have some time, begin to set yourself up for when this finally blows over.

And it will – as the old adage says, “This too shall pass”.

If you are the third type of lawyer and would like some help and guidance, or just a copy of The-Rain-Maker’s Individual Business Development Plan Template email or call me. If I can help you in any way, just ask!

  • If you are a mid-level associate who would like to become a partner or a partner looking to become a Rainmaker and are interested in individual coaching but would like to take it for a test drive, schedule your FREE Rainmaking Coaching Session
  • If you are a law firm leader and would like to discuss bringing a virtual training program or a Rainmaking Webinar (with Ethics CLEs)  email me. 

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