Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

3 Tips for Staying Hungry in Private Practice

jay reevesIt’s hard to attain success in the law, but sometimes it’s even harder to stay hungry enough to keep it going.

Call it hunger, spark, fire-in-the-belly. All who achieve true excellence share a certain intangible, indomitable drive. Sometimes they are motivated by actual hunger or poverty. Other times they are propelled by the desire for greater prestige, power and influence – or, more altruistically, to help others.

But you’ve got to keep the inner fire burning in order to keep the outer success coming.

That’s why Steve Jobs exhorted Stanford graduates in his famous 2005 commencement address to, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

“As we become successful, clients no longer become needed,” writes lawyer and practice consultant Gary Falkowitz. “They only become wanted. That change in mentality breeds content. And that contentment reveals itself in the way we handle our leads. Simply put, there is a huge difference in the way we treat our intake process when we only want to sign clients.”

“Don’t believe me? Start opening up some Intakes that you wanted to sign and failed to do so. Look at the attempts that you made. Look at the follow-up frequency. Listen to what was said to the caller. Look at your response time. Would a hungry attorney have done the same thing? We both know the answer.”

3 Ways to Stoke the Fire

  1. Choose work you enjoy. The single biggest factor that boosts job motivation is not money, or status, or a corner office. It is the sense that you are doing something meaningful. What practice areas do you most enjoy? Do you like interacting with clients or prefer desk work? The sooner you can identify your ideal law job, the quicker you can set about creating it.
  2. Personalize your work space. Decorate your office with items that make you feel positive and inspired. A family photograph. A special coffee mug. Favorite music playing in the background. Don’t discount the power of your physical surroundings to energize your spirit.
  3. Play to win. Studies show that most entrepreneurs love the game aspects of what they do: creativity, team-building, strategizing. Focus on these in your practice. Tap your inner competitor. Go for the gold.

“As we become more successful, we move away from what brought us success in the first place,” Falkowitz writes.

Sometimes this happens because our bellies are full. Other times, we get bored or distracted.

The good news is that you don’t have to starve to get the spark back. You just have to look inside yourself – and then life will become a banquet.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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