Wednesday, August 18, 2010
There are two types of law firm associates - those expected to lock themselves in an office and stay there 7 days a week, and those that are expected to bring in business.
I'm speaking to the latter.
Why are you so stupid?
Specifically, if your firm wants you to develop business, but won't help you learn how to develop business, why are you still working there? I know the answer - you're there for the paycheck. You're there because you have little self-worth.
Let me break this down. You are expected to bring in business, or you realize you won't be at the firm forever and want to learn how to bring in business and your firm is indifferent. By learning I mean attending a seminar about business development, or attending a CLE conference. One is coming up. You want to go, but you won't unless your firm will pay for it. You are interested in personal development that will lead to business development, but have other priorities when it comes to money, like going out to dinner and paying the lease on your car that you can't afford. So you won't pay for it, and then learn your firm won't pay for it. You get mad. You don't go. Rinse and repeat.
If you want to be a lawyer that can run their own practice, or pay for themselves at a firm and share in profits, it's important to hone those skills. To some, even though there's always things to learn, it's natural. To others, the concept of "rainmaking" or "business development" is completely foreign.
I am tired of hearing from those associates who want to learn about business development, but won't take a dollar out of their pocket to further their career. If your firm won't give you a day off or write a check for a few hundred dollars, they do not support your efforts to develop business.
If you stay there, you're a moron.
To go to work everyday annoyed that a law firm is holding you back from learning the business side of your profession, is a complete waste of a law degree. To fail to make a personal investment in learning the business side of law, if that's what you want to do, is shameful.
Nothing is free. To expect others to invest in your continuing legal education, and then when they don't, avoiding the concept of sticking your hand in your own pocket, is the best way to never be more than you are today.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.