If you're a lawyer in a competitive market, you can go about advertising and marketing yourself in one of two ways. If you believe that your profession is a zero-sum game, and that every client you gain is a client lost to another firm, your prospects will be limited down the road. But if, like most successful lawyers, you firmly believe that a “rising tide lifts all boats,” you'll have less of a win-lose attitude and more success attracting lucrative clients.
The Legal Profession Is Not a Zero-Sum Game
By nature, lawyers like to win—and you wouldn't be a good lawyer if you didn't have a keen competitive impulse. What you need to remember, though, is that as much of an asset as this zero-sum mentality can be in a courtroom, it can be actively detrimental when it comes to advertising and marketing your legal practice.
The fact is that the most successful lawyers have an abundance mentality: they believe that there's no limit to the opportunities available to them, and that there are more opportunities than any one lawyer—or any one law firm—can ever hope to monopolize. When these lawyers get a bright idea, they don't greedily keep it to themselves; they share it with other members of the legal community, on the premise that success breeds success.
And what about those zero-sum lawyers?
Imagine, say, that an attorney has come up with a new angle on how to file class-action lawsuits. If he keeps this idea to himself, it may not generate the critical mass necessary for it to be accepted by the legal community, and potential clients will not be convinced that he knows what he's talking about.
In any event, it's more often the case that “there is nothing new under the sun,” and this technique has already been tried out by another law firm, with limited success. If Lawyer A had been more willing to share and learn, he might not have spent his time fruitlessly chasing a losing strategy.
A Successful Lawyer Shares His Ideas—and Is Open to New Ideas
There's a flip side to not being willing to share your ideas and insights, on the premise that it gives an unnecessary edge to the competition. Most people who are reluctant to share information are equally reluctant to receive it: after all, if that competing firm down the street tells you about a new class-action category, how do you know they're not actively feeding you misinformation?