Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Aura of Success is Important to Being a Successful Lawyer

People hoping for success hope for help from those that appear to be successful. While this sort of judgment is superficial it remains a universal truth that lawyers and law firms need to heed -- and act upon.

Consider for instance you are a business executive at a hotel one evening attending a private dinner, and for whatever reason your company is also interviewing lawyers to help with new legal challenges. It so happens that, at the hotel of your private dinner, is a conference for corporate litigators. You wander over by their reception activity with your legal challenges in your head and start looking at the many attorneys in the gathering thinking that you might be able to get some guidance on selecting the right lawyer for your action.

As you scan the gathered lawyers where would your hopeful eye fall?

Go ahead, admit it -- you passed right over the rumpled suit, wrinkled shirt bunch. You dismissed everyone hanging sheepishly along the walls, and were repulsed by any that look like slick wannabes. Your eyes came to rest on the one(s) that looked comfortable and confident, well-groomed individuals wearing expensive (looking), tasteful suits.... Here is our universal truth in action.

Here are some things you need to do as an individual or as a firm to support your image:
  • Dress as someone whom is already successful. Whether casual, business or formal your taste in clothing (brand, fit, color, drape, etc.) speaks volumes in first impressions. If you do not trust your taste find someone to do it for you even if you have to pay for the service.
  • Learn something about the tastes of "refined" people -- learn about wine, good cigars, traveling abroad, fly fishing, Italian cuisine, etc. All of these things are second nature to "successful" people.
  • Join a "membership only" club and entertain clients and prospects there. The allure of exclusivity communicates volumes.
  • Learn to appear calm. Need I say more on that?
  • Pay more for the sake of appearances. Pay more for finer furniture, interior design -- more qualified staff, better car(s), technology, neighborhoods, personal note cards, seats at sporting events, etc. Don't argue with me on this one -- just do it. Spending $1,500 on baseball seats to gain a $600,000 payday might just be worth it!).
  • Know about whom you are hanging out with. Being seen or associated with less than "A" players reflects on who you are perceived to be.
This is just the beginning of a long list of how to create the right impression of success. While some, or much of it may feel uncomfortable I draw your attention back to the universal truth -- People hoping for success hope for help from those that appear to be successful.