Written by : Regina Thomas
The legal profession is critical to an organized society. It protects our property, our money, and our freedom. Working as a lawyer is a noble pursuit, but you can only achieve its most respected goals if you have credibility in the judicial system, among your peers, and with the clients and potential clients who interact with you. Here are five ways you can build your credibility.
Display the Right Motivations
Somewhere along the way, most attorneys get a high-profile case. It could be settling the estate of a wealthy local citizen or representing the defendant in a headling-making crime. Whatever type of practice you have and whatever clients you represent, it’s not as important what you do as how you do it.
When you are perceived as doing something strictly for the money and publicity, it can hurt your reputation. It is much better to make statements that indicate a desire for justice, fairness, and openness–even if you still get money and publicity.
Keep A Qualified Staff
No attorney works alone, even when he or she has no other lawyers in the practice. The only way to keep up with the caseload in a busy office is to have other people on staff with you. This may include receptionists, paralegals, transcriptionists, and maybe even investigators. You will rely on their skill and competence to set you up for success, so choose wisely.
A good example is a role a legal transcriptionist plays in your practice. If his or her summations to you are inaccurate, your strategy will be flawed. Seek out and hire the best people you can, then do what it takes to keep them.
Establish a Specialty
Gone are the days of small-town barristers who will take on any case the community needs. To establish credibility, you need to focus your practice on the things you do best. Whether it’s real estate law, criminal defense, corporate law, or something else, narrow your focus in such a way that when people think of that field of law, they think of you.
Nobody wants a jack of all trades when it comes to legal assistance. Clients want to see that you have been there and done that many times.
Know Your Limits
Almost nobody wants to admit there’s something they can’t do, especially when they feel like others expect them to know how to do it. Calling in a specialist is a big step, but when it leads to a positive outcome for your client, it will benefit you in the long run.
Clients like to see that you will swallow your pride and do what it takes to help them with their case, and that includes adding another mind to the team.
Do a Good Job
When all the dust settles, the best way to build your credibility as a lawyer is to do a good job. Be honest with people about their cases, build a good strategy for them, and do what it takes to get them the best possible outcome.
Nothing makes you more credible than sending a satisfied client out the door prepared to talk about how hard you worked for them and how pleased they are with the results. Keep your skills sharp. Read up on case law, attend seminars, and network with fellow attorneys to stay in tune with what’s happening in the judiciary.
Serving as someone’s attorney is an important undertaking. The case may sound routine to you, but it may be the only time your client is ever involved in the legal system. Your credibility is key to attracting them to your practice and getting them the outcome that they want.