The Mentorist


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Read the Smoke Signals: Understanding Your Company’s Culture

Companies are tribes. Firms are too.

Yet, many of us walk into work each day oblivious to the subtle tribal customs and communications going on around us. We assume we know who’s in power, who’s in favor and what it takes to reach either status.

Of course, every group – including your current workplace — has some basic similarities to other groups. But every group also has nuances specific to it alone.

The people who pick up on those workplace nuances are the ones who get included in the “lively banter” before meetings, get adopted as protégés and get more kudos than their actual work might merit.

So, what if that last sentence doesn’t describe you? You can change that – but, first, you need to do some field research.

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From the Client’s Chair: Why Your Firm’s Marketing Pitch Didn’t Work – Reason #2

“From the Client’s Chair” is a series of blog posts that identifies some of the mistakes law firms make when trying to win business. Believe me, there are many.  So, let’s move to…

Reason #2 for Not Winning My Business: You’re Just like All the Other Guys

When you become a general counsel, your popularity soars – at least, among the law firm crowd. (Your company’s own employees sometimes hold you in different regard: “What do you mean we can’t bungee jump off the roof at our summer outing?”)

As a new GC, you’re courted by droves of firm partners, all hoping to win a piece of your company’s legal work. Many business lunches later, most of these marketing pitches blur.

So, what’s a law firm to do? Many things (hence, this “From the Client’s Chair” series). But, among them, be prepared to respond to a comment like this:

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Take a Walk on the Wild Side: Finding a Career You Love

The longer you stay in a career, the harder it becomes to switch to another.

Some of the causes of career inertia are practical ones:  You’re earning too much money to consider leaving; or you have your kids’ orthodontist bills to pay; or you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars getting the degrees required to practice your profession; or….

But another reason some people stay in careers that no longer make them happy is lack of imagination:  They’d like to “run from” what they’re doing now, but have no idea what to “run to.”

Figuring out what alternative careers are likely to increase your happiness level requires some creative thinking.  Oh, sure, you can always go to an industrial psychologist to take Myers-Briggs and a battery of other aptitude tests.  And those tests can add value.

But, first, try this simple exercise: Continue reading