Dear Readers,

As the year comes to an end, you know I like to give advice about how to handle the new year.  Well, this year is no different. Both you and your clients have had some real difficult times and some very unique challenges this past year.  Between the stock market behavior , job problems and the election debacle, doom and gloom has run rampant.  Many lawyers have suffered significant disruption of their businesses as clients and employers try to keep their heads above water.

Now, some of the experts tell us that the recession has turned around.  Other experts tell us that there is more disruption to come as the government goes crazy.Whatever happens, guess what?  WE STILL ALL HAVE THAT PIECE OF PAPER THAT SAYS WE ARE LAWYERS! Most people in the world don’t have that piece of paper. We have infinite possibilities to use that piece of paper to not only provide us with a living but to give us job satisfaction as well.

In line with that thinking, for many of you it may well be time to review your work situation and make decisions about how you might want to change your practice in the coming year. Take a minute and do a quite survey about your present career situation by answering the following questions:

  1.  Am I making enough money to cover my business and personal expenses?
  2. Am I making enough money to fund my retirement account each month?
  3. Do I like to go to work each day?
  4. Do I like the people I work with?
  5. Do I like most all of my clients?
  6. Can I get my work done in 40-50 hours a week?
  7. Do I have enough time for my family each day?
  8. Do I exercise enough?
  9. Am I eating a healthy diet?
  10. Am I taking enough classes to keep up to date in my practice areas?
  11. Do I often feel lonely?
  12. Do I have mentors?
  13. Do I play and have fun on a regular basis?

OK, OK, you get the idea.  If you answered NO to a lot of these questions, then you need to start on your New Year’s resolutions early.  Think of change ( which is scary) as MORPHING.  Morph yourself into a more fulfilling career.

How do you do this?  Look at the “nos” above. Now decide one thing you could do today to start changing  that answer to a “yes”. Some people call that shifting your outlook. Yes, it takes work and focus but its certainly better than being whiny ( you know I hate that) and depressed. Call me.  I’d love to discuss 2017 with you.

Wishing you all a glorious and prosperous New Year…..


 I came across an interesting topic about the question of “Should I do stuff as a lawyer for free?”.  This is a little beyond  basic pro bono work which is almost a requirement for most attorneys.  This explores more the areas of doing volunteer work as well as free seminars, etc.

Let’s step back from this seemingly innocuous question and ask ourselves what is the motive behind doing  free work?  Is it to obtain more clients?  Is it to make ourselves feel better? Is it because of guilt? Are we looking to impress someone?  Or do we just  want to do something with our friends that isn’t straight legal work?

The reasons behind what we do each day is very important and will guide us into success or failure.  If we coldheartedly go out to try and persuade colleagues and clients that we are doing works because we are true caring individuals, this doesn’t work.  Somewhere along the line, if not done for the right reasons,  the truth will emerge, especially when the going gets tough.

Then, what should our attitude be?

  • First of all, a bit of soul searching needs to take place.  It is true that volunteering in organizations can produce clients and contacts as a by- product, but that must never be the main objective. It is also true that volunteering can relieve some of the day to day stress of being an attorney. This could be our main objective.  Now the question arises, what is the difference? The volunteer organization is getting the same commitment and outcome so why should it matter?
  • The answer is how you feel.  If you don’t get any new clients or leads, you will be disappointed and discouraged. If you get new clients and leads, you may feel guilt if that was the only reason you were doing good works and feel disappointed and discouraged.  There is a greater chance that you will come out feeling badly if you are doing this for monetary reasons as your main objective.  If, on the other hand, you have chosen the volunteer group on the basis that it will produce the most joy in your life, then more than likely good feelings will flow from your efforts, whether or not clients are forthcoming.

Now let’s talk about giving seminars or Blogging or tweeting.  In these types of setting, we need to give value.  The emphasis is not what we are getting but what we are giving. True, again we may be able to increase business this way, but just putting out self- serving tweets won’t do it.  Focus on the audience, not what you have been told you should be saying.  What do they want to hear?  What could make their life easier or give them some new important information.  This is the reason that Personal Injury attorneys need to be blogging about the safest cars and the rules concerning infant seats, not how many cases they have won.  Probate attorneys need to look to informing the public about scams perpetrated on the elderly, not on their low rates for wills.  IT attorneys about how to keep our computers out of the hand of hackers, not about the latest very expensive gadget.  And on and on….

There is also the problem of expectations.  If you go into an activity with the belief that you will get  tangible rewards from doing good work, better take time to re evaluate the situation.  The best way to approach free work is to have a very low expectation of what will be the personal result.  The most effective way to think about this is that you are very likely to get good feelings as a by-product, not a direct known result.

And remember, it is called Free Work.  It is WORK and you are not getting paid for it.  Payment may not be in money but many times, we expect that we will gain respect or camaraderie from it.  That may or may happen.  One thing you can be sure about however, is that you will gain SELF RESPECT if you come with a truly open giving heart.

How about the attorney who is on an extremely limited budget? Is it realistic to expect pro bono work as well as volunteering?  This is a large question and there has been rumors that some Bars are going to require Pro Bono work be reported.  If this comes about all the problems associated with requiring that we work for no monetary or career gains will fail. Bad attitudes will disrupt any kind of good intentions.  Let’s keep it so that when we feel able to give that we can do it with generosity and gratefulness  for our choice.



Last week we talked about target markets and this week we need to see what the next step is to using that identified target market(s). So here we go:

  • Decide what the exact needs of your target market are.
  • If having trouble deciding do some interviews and find out.
  • Prioritize at least 3 Needs.
  • Taking those Needs, first incorporate them in your Website and Linkedin Accounts.
  • Now follow up those posts with how you would solve those needs. For instance if one of the needs to get information about a legal question, indicate that you can do that.
  • Be careful to only indicate how you will go about helping them solve the problem.

Next Steps:

  • Take the first of your identified target markets(if there is more than one) and decide the following:
  1. Where does your TM go to get advice (internet, friends, other attorneys, etc.)
  2. What does your TM read?
  3. What other interests does your TM have?
  4. What causes your TM stress?
  5. Can you identify which age group most of your TMs fall into?
  6. Is your TM within a certain financial baseline? what?
  7. Where does your TM spent most of his/her time?

Continue to do this and add more questions about the details of your TM until you feel like you really know their needs. Then do this with all your identified TMs.





Marketing starts with( in this order):

  • Carefully Defining Your Target Market
  • Mission Statement
  • Elevator Speech to Incorporate into Marketing
  • Three Month Marketing Plan including all the marketing categories.
  • Goal Setting for the First Month
  • Calendaring the Goals Faithfully Each Week.

The only thing I left out was the different marketing categories which you need to take one by one and set out your goals.  They are:

  • Risk Reduction (what clients don’t you want).
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Direct Mail
  • Website and E Promotions
  • Endorsements
  • Branding
  • Networking
  • Budget

Take each of categories and write down how you will market through them.  Do some reading or call me for some help if you get stuck.




So you have taken a week to absorb my last blog and to reflect on EXACTLY who your target market(s) is. Next………

I’m sure you’ve been told the next step is to find out where your target market hangs out, what they read, etc.


  • First, step into their shoes.  Again let’s take the example from last week about the probate, wills, trust attorney. If you were to target market(TM) the young family market, pretend you have just started a family(or remember when you did) and begin a journal about what your concerns are.  I think you will find Mothers have different worries than Fathers.  Also people who are starting their families later in life are in a different situation.   Think about any differences in concerns for that age group? Write this in your journal.
  • Instead of just finding out what the TM is reading, read it yourself.  Buy a parent magazine and see what the subjects are about.  Check out Amazon and find out what books young families s are buying. Read them. Put the information you find out in a separate part of your journal.
  • If you know a new family, interview them. Tell them you are writing an article on what worries new parents the most. To make this sincere and legitimate, you are going to also have to write the article as well, which is a good thing.

These are just a few ideas that I thought of to start thinking outside the box.  I’m sure you will come up with many more once you stop thinking in only the traditional way.

THE NEXT STEP: Believe it or not, is to start formulating your Business Mission Statement. 

You can go to the internet and find instructions about how to formulate a good mission statement.  I suggest you have both a business and a different personal mission statement. They will overlap somewhat but separating them seems to make more sense to attorneys.

Once your business mission statement is completed, you will use it as the basis for all further marketing including your LinkedIn profile, Website, advertising and all written communication.  Even a shortened version on your stationery!

Remember good mission statements are sincere and filled with real promises that you will fulfill.  Not just what you think you should be saying but how you plan on being of value to your clients.

Let me demonstrate using our example above.

BAD “I am a highly experienced and gifted attorney who will fulfill your every wish in the end of life documents I draft for you.” (this doesn’t tell the reader what needs the attorney is satisfying and is much too self serving and overblown. Additionally, the term, end of life, is scary.)

GOOD  “ A firm dedicated to helping you fulfill your wishes to have a secure and accurate distribution of your assets”(the word accurate is not exactly right, but best I can do right now). ( You can see the difference in that this ones speaks directly to the potential client and tell him/her your promise.)

This gives you enough to think about and implement next week.  Remember, I will be writing at least four more blogs on Solo Marketing helpful information. If you actually implement these new approaches you should see results in about three to six months.  Let me know how it is working for you.


Sorry, I couldn’t get to my blog last week.  Next week I’m going to be on vacation but THIS WEEK I want to share something I think is exciting.  I have developed a new coaching program for people in law school and recent graduates.  Here it is:

Since the downturn in the economy in 2008, Law School Students are finding it harder to get legal jobs right after law school.  A much more aggressive and pre planned approach is necessary these days to insure success.

Additionally, the larger debt owed by students has created even more stress in obtaining work as soon as possible.  Consequently new tactics in job preparation as well as job searches and decisions needs to be made by Law Students starting in their first year of law school.

This coaching format will give students at all stages in law school or recent graduates, the insight into the present job market and help them make decisions how to best get rewarding employment.

Some of the topics which will be covered are:


  • What are the present statistics for the legal market place in the student’s community?
  • What is the present general economic condition of the community?
  • Where does there appear to be potential growth in the legal community?
  • Where is there potential decline in the legal community?
  • Tools and hints about how to keep abreast of changes in the legal community.
  • The importance of timing in preparing for the job search


  • Pinpointing the career path.
  • Selecting the area of practice (can’t do this too early anymore!)
  • Selecting the form of practice (Associate, InHouse, Solo, Teaching, Public, )
  • Identifying the necessary steps to take while still in law school to maximize getting the desired job after graduation.
  • Establishing a detailed plan that will support the steps outlined above.
  • Pinpointing resources which can assist in the planning.


  • Resume/ the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Contacts/ how to organize and use them.
  • Unusual resources
  • Keeping positive
  • Acing the interview


  • The Fundamental requirements to open a solo practice.
  • Resources
  • How to get started

It is estimated that if the student needs/wants to examine all these areas the coaching will take approximately 6 to 7, one hour sessions and span 2 to 3 months.  Specific goals will be set and there will be “homework” to facilitate positive forward growth towards a plan which will produce significant career success.

The student may then want to update the plan at various times throughout their law school and first job exploration.

The cost of the initial program package is $900.00 for 7 hours of coaching and follow up email with “homework, etc”.  Payment schedule may be arranged. All coaching is confidential.

If the student wants to return for subsequent coaching or wants to do the program outside the package described above, the fee is $150.00 an hour.

By:    Eleanor Southers


1362 Pacific Ave. #216

Santa Cruz, CA 95060

831 466-9132







I went Solo starting on April 15, 1987 because I thought that if the Federal Government could get rich on that day, so could I.  I spent about 20 years proving that I could make a very nice living having a very large solo practice and I didn’t have to threaten anyone with garnishment or jail to do it!

Give this some thought. A lot of lawyers are facing unhappy years ahead because the job market is still doing flip flops.  The lucrative areas of law for BIG LAW are just not that appealing to many lawyers.  Also the BIG LAW culture doesn’t fit with many attorneys values and need to live a more balanced life.

I have been told that the lawyer who wants to Go Solo needs to be an entrepreneur.  In coaching attorneys for the past 8 years I have found that this is not totally true. It is true, however, that the Solo practice has to be run as a business.  Much of this can be learned by simply following good business and marketing practices.

Where it becomes tricky for a solo is to find the sweet spot between practicing the type of law selected and listening to the market. This becomes paramount to being successful.

The other traits vital to an attorney entering solo practice are:

  • Patience, Patience, Patience
  • Energy to work very hard in the beginning.
  • Ability to use good time management.
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Be open to doing tasks, like selling themselves, which may not be within their innate  temperament ie., they hate it.
  • Gather a good support system around them.
  • Ask for help. This may be solo but its not successful until there are mentors and coaches who can short circuit the time element and cut out errors in judgement.
  • To be focused on developing the business slowly. Starting out small while learning the skills needed and learning how to expand appropriately.  Resisting all kinds of expense and time wasting that goes on when the attorney is confused.
  • Have a solid business plan.
  • Have a solid continually changing market plan
  • Have solid goals to work towards at all stages as the firm develops.

ARE YOU INTRIGUED?  IF YOU SAID “YES, I CAN DO ALL OF THAT”, AND ARE DECIDING ABOUT GOING SOLO, GIVE ME A RING.  I will let you in on all the mistakes I made and help you avoid the mind fields as you grow your business.


You must “work” every day, except Sunday, between 7-8 hours on finding a job. (If you have been unemployed for a year, you should have worked over 2,240 hours so far.) And if you are on unemployment insurance, that’s what the government is paying you to do.

  1. Plan every day what you will do with your time.
  2. Figure out the hard stuff that almost no one else is doing to find work. This is things like listing every adult friend or acquaintance that you or your family have ever known and informing them you need a job. Ask them for referrals to their lawyers where your “target market” exists.(that’s a breathing attorney).
  3. Identify the areas of law that have job openings and become competent in one or two (I think you can do that in 2,240 hours!). This means taking classes and networking with the attorneys while you are in those classes. Careful not to spend too much time with online classes and miss out on this opportunity.
  4. Face the hard truth that you may have to move out of your living area to find a job. Identify the areas of your city or state that have openings. Do you have any contacts in those areas (remember law school).
  5. Identify and attend ANY function that has attorneys at it. This means Bar Associations, Seminars, Political meetings and whatever else you find. Have a new business card made up with your contact information and a brief description on the back of what you are looking for.
  6. Set up a Website. Make it easy for people to find out about you. This is where the clever part comes in….it has to be different and unique with pictures and testimonials of how wonderful you are and put the address on your card.
  7. Establish a LinkedIn Profile. Make it simple and to the point. Put your longer resume in a link.  Be sure to explain your “value” as an employee both now and wherever else you have worked.  Talk about your flexibility and focus on the employer’s needs.  Be sure you get your nice looking picture in there.
  8. Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer. Especially if you are expanding or changing your practice areas. Be a law clerk in a firm where you can learn more ( yes, free). Or volunteer where powerful people in your community do.  You can easily fill in those hours and do some good at the same time. Also volunteer are “helpers” and this is the attitude of the people you need to be around now. Remember, Legal Aid is attorneys.
  9. Consider going Solo. While you are on unemployment insurance, this could be a good time to have some steady income while you do all the things to get started to go Solo before you begin earning. Of course, you are going to have to report any income that comes your way, but the government is very happy to do a little deducting from your checks. Remember, however, that going Solo means you must first figure out if there is enough business in your area of the law and the venue where you will be practicing. For goodness sake, don’t jump into this until you have researched both your financial obligations and the chances of success. Also check out your temperament.  Can you handle the stress?

Don’t get discouraged but know that the world is changing and you have to put a lot more time and energy into a job search today!  Let me know how you are doing and if you need any help.  I have been successful lately in helping attorneys to get hired even in this climate.


Last blog I promised you that I would add the second key this week and next week will give you the third key.  Are you on the edge of your seat?

Second key is to TAKE ACTION.  What are your action choices you ask?

  • Therapy/counseling
  • coaching
  • find mentor
  • talk to your CPA
  • talk to your friends
  • talk to your family
  • google
  • find publications to help

These are a only few of the obviously choices to look for help.  Again, if you have specifically identified the correct challenge, then the action becomes simpler. For instance, if you believe that you are not making your monthly nut, and you have paperwork to show that, your best next step may be to sit down with your CPA and find out what part of your financial picture is suffering.  You may assume that it is lack of income but the real problem may be too much unneeded expense or something you never thought of.   A good CPA who is on your side and aware of your business can be a big help here.

After you have gathered as much information as you can from your CPA, then you  plan the next step.  You may need now to involve your family to see how to cut expenses or talk with your office staff.   If you are lost as how to proceed then it is time to get a coach involved to pinpoint your next action steps.

Do you see how it is so vitally important to properly identify not only the correct challenge but to whittle that challenge down to be able to see what action can be taken to overcome it? Insight is the first step to any challenge.

When you are sure you have gotten the challenge not only properly identified but also narrowed the needed action down, then you need to start developing action tasks to get to your goal of overcoming your challenge.  Again, a coach is very useful for this step because they are aware of how to focus you on the important goals as well as take into account your entire situation.  A good coach will make your goals due able so that you can have the greatest chance of success.

Stay tuned for next blog to find out the Third and Final Key to Overcoming Any Challenge!


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know how to meet any challenge you might have in your career? Will keep tuned and in to two or three more blogs, I’m going to give you a system to approach how you deal with obstacles which come up in your work.  So print out this blog or save it and refer back to it when you are feeling stuck.

First, You will need to identify the KIND of challenge you are facing. Some of the more obvious ones are:

  • Financial/ not enough income
  • Enjoyment
  • Not enough personal time
  • Not happy with area of law practing
  • Don’t know how to market
  • Feeling lonely
  • Anxiety/stress
  • Depression
  • Too much work or too little work
  • Time Management

These are only a few challenges but this is where you start. The better you can define the actual challenge , the more success you will have overcoming it.

Asking yourself: Why is it a challenge for me is the next step to answer. The more information that you can find out about the fears or blocks that you are experiencing around the challenge will help you to really get down to the  nut of the challenge.  Doing this step may even show up as that your challenge is something else.  Say for instance, you are having trouble with your assistant.  He/She is showing up late to work, spends time on personal errands and generally doesn’t support your work.  On the other hand, he/she is very intelligent, a distant relative and his/her salary demand is very low.  So at this point you see the challenge as being stuck trying to make a decision about what to do next.

But what if the real challenge is that you are unwilling to be a real business person and look at your bottom line? The fear of having to face the fact that this person is not supporting your business and that it would take a tremendous amount of mentoring, teaching and supervision to change this is the real problem.

You can see how getting to the correct, specific challenge you are facing is the FIRST STEP.

We’ll get to what to do with this information with next week’s blog…..SO STAY TUNED!