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Becoming “THE” Guru of your legal area

mentor lawyersNow days, competition in legal markets around the globe continues to grow rapidly with every passing day. Small and big firms alike must strive to distinguish themselves from the evolving competition in order to affirm their clientele and profitability. Labeling ones practice as the expert practitioner in the particular legal field is probably one of the best ways to preserve and grow ones reputation and revenue

Guru, a word originating from the ancient language of Sanskrit, holds within it the definition of spiritual teacher, the one whom everyone turns to when seeking advice. In the process of becoming a legal Guru in your area of choice, one must go through two separate processes: 1. acquiring and conceptualizing the theoretical and practical knowledge of the field; 2. becoming a recognized expert within that area

Part 1: Being the legal Guru

Before you can market yourself as a legal guru, you must acquire the profound knowledge and understanding which enables you to be a legal expert. In this part we will cover a few methods which can be used to facilitate the quest

Every legal industry has recognized figures and opinion leaders. The first step is to register to industry magazines and blogs. Sip through all of these knowledge bases and make sure you understand all the paradigms of the field

Once accomplished, establish your own theory, arising from all the accumulated knowledge and changes you feel will best portray the way you wish to practice law

If you’re a criminal defense lawyer and you feel the “temporary insanity” plead is being abused and overused, write about it and make sure your theory has a profound academic base quoting other legal experts and empirical data supporting it. The same principals apply for a civil lawyer challenging a contract or a tort doctrine

Now that you’ve completed your “homework”, start attending professional conferences in order to understand how and where to – the field is being led. Though CLE’s (Continuing Legal Education conferences) will not make you anymore of a Guru than any other participant, it will help you understand how the end goal should look like and what are the current trends and “hot” topics in your legal field of choice

It’s time to apply. After you’ve done your basic research and assessed where the industry needs a new expert and how one is formed, dig in and start expending your knowledge base further. Seek advice from other experts you’ve met in CLE’s or via internet. This way you can broaden and deepen your understanding of the field while gaining exposure

Part 2: Being known as a legal Guru

lawyers leadersWhile you might be the best contract attorney in the field, if you’re the only one who knows this, it doesn’t matter now, does it? In the process of being known as a new Guru we will harness two powerful, yet not vastly familiar, psychological principals

“The mere exposure” effect, one of the most irrational principals in psychology. In essence, people tend to trust people or objects that they’ve been exposed to in the past. What this means is that by simple appearing in front of a person in any type of media you gain valuable trust points over unknown competitors. Now, wait for a few moments and let this new information sink in…Start in an affordable manner, go online

A) Create a blog and make sure you update it with current, informative and interesting posts you derive from your area of expertise. This shouldn’t take too long, try to create brief and practical posts – “If you can’t explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein. By being able to clearly explain complex subjects of you practice, you consolidate a Guru Status

B) Participate. In the quest of acquiring knowledge – ask questions and challenge the experts, by doing so you will later facilitate creating valuable connections. This type of networking can be easily established using the internet, via blogs and e-mails. Remember, these public discussions will later become precious testimony to your expertise

C) Go out. Go to CLE’s and challenge the speakers, or better yet, offer to become one. Presenting in a CLE or in any other event, such as company conventions, where you have a chance to speak with regard to your expertise creates a vast application of the “mere exposure” effect.  People will begin to recognize your name and persona, as a lawyer expert they can trust 

D) Marketing. Once these steps are completed, hire a marketing firm or a legal marketing specialist to help you broaden your exposure. Marketing firms, unknowingly sometimes, offer another psychological advantage known as: “The word frequency effect“. This effect forces the reader to invest more cognitive resources and time in order to grasp words which we are not in our everyday vocabulary

By using this principle, marketing firms offer your written word added cognitive value, as the user sips through your website or blog, he feels drawn and attentive to the content. Harnessing the power of this principle makes your website more appealing and professional, congruent with the legal Guru persona that you are

Combining the two psychological effects discussed earlier can create powerful outcomes regarding your ability to stand out in the growing tide of the legal market and help solidify your desired legal Guru status

Last, but not least – offer help. By offering help to other lawyers and firms, you help bring your expertise to awareness. It is this assistance that enables you to forge a large network of colleagues, who in turn, will forward clients to your services

These few simple steps can potentially, when used correctly, leverage you from everyday lawyer status to ‘Guru’ status. Making you the next leader of trends whom lawyers and clients seek his advice


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