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Blog: Lawyer or Catfish?

In my long journey back from lawyer towards human being, I’ve needed to reassess many aspects of what it is to be a lawyer. And that has included lawyer jokes.

You’re locked in a small room with a tiger, a python and a lawyer. You have a shotgun and two cartridges. What do you do?

You shoot the lawyer. Twice.

One thing they all tend to have as their theme is that lawyers are decidedly unsavoury, untrustworthy individuals who we are probably better off without. I have some cracking lawyer jokes and I used to love trotting them out after a glass or two, comfortable in the knowledge that at least we are third in the list behind politicians and estate agents.

However, more recently I’ve come to find it rather tragic that we are held in such low esteem in the popular consciousness and have pondered on what it would take to rehabilitate our reputation a little. It has struck me that lawyers, with so much of their training being in disputes, arguing for one side and dealing in nit-picking detail, are perhaps not naturally blessed with the skills and approaches it takes to manage really successful teams or develop brilliant client relationships.

And so, as all of you who know me will have probably noticed, I tend to delight in talking about how I’m chipping off bits of lawyer here and there, as I develop personally as a business owner, trainer, people manager, sales person, and so on.

I believe that lawyers who are keen to do well commercially have a good deal to learn from other business people and professionals. Some training and exposure to management skills, HR, marketing and good business practices seems to reap real dividends when it comes to doing well in an increasingly challenging legal advice market. It’s a theme that I have been developing in the management training we provide for law firms.

The maverick part of me delights in the fact that our own firm has not been set up like a traditional law firm and that we don’t operate like one. My approach, developed with a business mentor, is that we should be seeking to emulate the most successful businesses (of any type), not the standard law firm model.

So, lawyers everywhere, let’s up our game and strive to be great business people as well as great advisers. In my next few blogs I aim to share a few thoughts on how I think that can be achieved, especially in terms of creating rewarding, long-lasting client relationships.

cat-fish-250Oh, and the catfish? Well, what’s the difference between a lawyer and a catfish?

One’s a bottom-dwelling scum-sucker.

And (yes, you’re ahead of me) the other’s a catfish.

Luke Menzies
Director, Menzies Law

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