— PART 1 OF 2 —
I have worked in personal injury law firms ever since I was a teenager. Each law firm provided exposure to a variety of things, but my fascination was never on the legal side, which hints at why I never went to law school. I loved learning the intricacies of running a business and managing people. The operations, processes, pipelines, and data get me so excited…I am not sure anyone who knows me is shocked I ended up with Vista. More importantly, I love getting to know and understand who firms are and why they do what they do. During a Vista Needs Assessment, we get to meet with people from each department of the law firm. From the owner(s) to the intake specialists, these encounters give us a bird’s eye view into the day-to-day challenges a team faces, in turn aiding us in drawing our road map to navigating the needs of the firm once we transition to ongoing consulting work.
Many firms grow so quickly they implement systems and processes that are band-aids rather than long-term solutions. This requires us to peel back the layers of the firm to inspect the current foundation. I have seen, over the years, how easy it is to let the chaos of running the business consume you, making you forget your original drive and passion. As we meet with firms across the country and start peeling back their layers, one of my favorite questions to ask the owner(s) and/or partner(s) during an assessment is, “Why personal injury? Why did you want to go into this area of law?” These two questions often bring a thoughtful pause, but the general consensus we’ve heard from our amazing clients tends to be focused on helping people.
You couldn’t script this any better
I have recently gotten into the series Suits on Netflix. Despite the parallels between the show and my career path, it took me 12 years to succumb to the pressure of watching, and now I am hooked. The other night my husband and I were watching an older episode in which Harvey is explaining the importance of first impressions to Michael, a lawyer who is not really a lawyer… or maybe he is? I digress – Like I said, 12 years behind on this series. Harvey tells Michael, “First impressions last; if you start behind the eight ball, you will never get in front.” I loved this quote, enough to write a blog series around it, because I have seen how first impressions go so far beyond the initial encounter. In this industry, your first impression may be made in your marketing or advertising efforts and strategies, but how do you ensure your first impression is a lasting one? An authentic one?
To get you thinking about the first impression you/your firm gives to team members, potential/current clients, and your community, let’s highlight some best practices for each. In the first of this two-part series, I’ll focus on the impressions made internally at your law firm, specifically between leaders and their team members. In next week’s blog, we’ll peek outside your team and see how well you’re doing at first impressions with clients and with the community at large.
You‘re not just setting an example; you’re setting the standard
As a leader of your law firm, you have the power to shape the first impression you make on your team. In the realm of leadership, first impressions are not just about personal charm or charisma. They form the foundation of your credibility and influence as a leader. The initial interaction you have with your team can set the tone for your entire working relationship. It’s your opportunity to establish trust, communicate your vision, and demonstrate your commitment to the team’s success. A positive first impression can ignite enthusiasm, encourage open communication, and foster a culture of respect and collaboration. Simply put: The way you show up and interact with your colleagues sets the tone for their engagement and commitment to your firm. So, strive to make your first impression a powerful beacon that guides your team toward shared goals and achievements. Let’s explore four key elements that contribute to a lasting first impression and how you can sustain them with best practices.
Making a strong first impression as a leader is about establishing credibility, communicating your vision, and fostering a collaborative work culture. It sets the stage for your leadership journey and can significantly impact your team’s dynamics and productivity. Starting relationships off on the right foot with your team members is vital for the ongoing success of your law firm.
However, the sphere of influence extends beyond your immediate team. So, how do you fare when it comes to creating first impressions with clients and the community? Stay tuned for next week’s blog, where we’ll expand our perspective and delve into the art of making impactful first impressions outside the confines of your team. You won’t want to miss it. Remember, every interaction is an opportunity to leave a lasting impression, so make each one count.