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The Coach: Emergence of the ‘lawyerpreneur’ | Gary Mitchell

Friday, June 11, 2021 @ 1:34 PM | By Gary Mitchell


Gary Mitchell %>
Gary Mitchell
There is a new breed of lawyer that has emerged over the past couple of years. I call this new breed the “lawyerpreneur.” This lawyer thinks differently. They do not automatically go towards what is wrong or why something cannot work. They figure out how to make it work. They follow their instincts. They tap into their creativity. They have a drive and ambition to succeed — almost like a hunger to make their idea work.  

This new breed of lawyer can be found across various practice areas and geographical locations. You might be surprised to learn they can also hail from larger firms, and not just solo practice or small firm owners. The reason is this: It is a mindset. This lawyer is adopting an entrepreneurial mindset which automatically means they are not afraid to take risks. To think outside the box. To try new things and in new ways.

And the timing could not be better for this new breed of lawyer to emerge. As a result of COVID-19, the entire world has been turned upside down. People have been forced to do things they would never have done on their own. Complete behaviours have changed. Habits have changed. Mindsets have changed. Priorities have changed. Everything has changed.

So, what does all this upheaval mean? It means that more people are more open to new things. And that includes the way you practise law and serve your clients.

Now, let’s face it, normally lawyers are highly risk averse. About as high on the chart as humanly possible. But this new breed of lawyer can see beyond the risk and into the potential. The opportunity. That is how an entrepreneur views things. I know. I have been a serial entrepreneur since I was a teenager. I can spot one a mile away.

During COVID-19, there has been so much innovation already. If you look throughout history, innovation always follows a major disruption. It is the way we as humans have survived all these years. We adapt. We innovate. We evolve. Or we die!

Certainly COVID-19 is without a doubt one of the largest disruptions in modern history. And history shows us that as humans, while we do not like disruption or change, we are usually quick to the drawing board in coming up with new and innovative ways to cope with our new reality.

Look at the distilleries who pivoted their manufacturing to make hand sanitizer. Look at the companies who produced customized plexiglass for restaurants, taxis and courtrooms. And the restaurants working with the cities to create more outdoor dining space where cars used to be parked. Not to mention the fact that vaccines were created in less than a year. That is something we have never seen before. That level of innovation on that scale, and so fast. Incredible!

So, what does this mean for the legal industry? Well, in my small world I see some clients coming up with entirely new offerings. New platforms of offering legal services in new ways. That is at the core of what it is to be entrepreneurial. Coming up with new ways to serve the human condition, ways to cope and make things easier or more convenient.

These lawyers are not as much concerned about why someone else has not done it yet, as they are about getting it out there and serving their clients in more effective and efficient ways.

I have one client in real estate law. He has come up with an entirely new system. It is brilliant if you ask me. I have even suggested that he trademark it because of how innovative it is. It may in fact take over his entire law practice in the future it’s so innovative.

Now, being innovative does not come without challenges. Often being the first to market with something poses all sorts of hurdles as you can be the first and only advocate for what you are peddling. I know. As one of the earliest lawyer coaches in Canada, I experienced that.

But you cannot let the fear of being first overpower your idea. You cannot let it dictate your next steps. You came up with the idea, now you need to see it through to fruition. Do not stop now, lawyerpreneur. You are on a roll. Trust your instincts. Trust your ability to reach out and get help when and where you need it. You do not have to have all the answers right now. Trust me on this.

Build an amazing team around you who will find the answers to the questions you have. They will complement your skills and round out your team. No one does it all on their own. Take your idea and put the plan together. What you do not know now, you will learn. And what you do not learn, you can hire other people to take care of. Go for it lawyerpreneur!

As a Canadian lawyer coach pioneer, Gary Mitchell has tailored his business coaching practice for the legal industry since 2005. His third book, Growing a Law Practice During Covid-19, is due to be released this summer by LexisNexis Canada. He can be reached at gary@ontraccoach.com; 604-669-5235; www.ontraccoach.com.

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