When I started on my own entrepreneurial journey, it’s been the biggest learning curve of my life. Doing a law degree, and then getting practical experience, was a steep curve. But being a business owner is another level again – particularly when it comes to personal development.
Many lawyers are life-long learners, and thrive on new information and challenges. This is what often leads them into going into business for themselves.
However, a law degree does not mean you know how to run a business.
So these are 5 key books that have had a big impact on me, and I believe any entrepreneurial lawyer should read:
Tomorrow’s Lawyer by Richard Susskind.
For lawyers going into business for themselves, you must be forward-thinking, and creative. You should not fall into the trap that Big Law is telling us – that robots will replace lawyers.
This short book by Richard Susskind is an accessible guide for the next generation of lawyers. The lawyers with 20 to 30 years of work still in front of them. The lawyers who want to be ahead of the curve in terms of change coming to the legal profession.
This book will set you up well to be thinking about what you can do differently in your business, and what services and technology you should be introducing.
The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success by Dr Greg Chapman
This is a very practical business book, by a local Australian business PhD. Lawyers love practical! I’m not going to give away what the five pillars are, but needless to say, they are not learnt at law school.
This book explains why most businesses stay small, and what you can do to change that. Most legal practices stay small because the principal lawyer drives mot of the business, the operations, and has to direct almost everything that is happening.
This is Marketing by Seth Godin
While I have read many marketing books over the last seven years, I didn’t want to give you a ‘how to’ style marketing book. Marketing is so broad now, and there are so many experts and online courses that you can do.
But this book is a philosophical examination of marketing today, and what is important.
The message in this book goes against who most lawyers learn – to stay aloof, to keep your personality private, and to keep your knowledge to yourself. None of these tactics are going to work for you anymore – they are not going to bring in work.
Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
This is another philosophical book, but more along the stoic and personal development track. As I said above, being a business owner is the fastest personal development course you can take. And this book undoes a lot of the brainwashing that occurred in law school.
It explores how the ego can wreck the careers of young people, and how ego in a business owner can wreck a business.
Humility and confidence are in fact the traits that lawyers should develop – true confidence, not bravado. While being an advocate, and also advocating your personal brand, can both fan the flames of your ego, this is a reminder why it should be done strategically and keep the ego in check.
Influence by Robert Cialdini
It was hard to choose the fifth book, because there are so many good books. But this one is a foundational book which can be used in the psychological training of an advocate, as well as putting together great marketing.
When the 6 principals of influence are applied to a marketing campaign, or even if just a couple of the 6 are applied to an individual, these are psychological tools to get someone to agree with you, or buy from you.
A skill that any lawyer should develop, but particularly an entrepreneurial lawyer doing their own marketing.