In today’s competitive legal world, it is more important than ever to be a GREAT lawyer. That has less to do with your law school credentials than you may think.  Of course clients want great results when it comes to their legal matter. Yes, your capabilities matter in that regard. And in the good old days that may have been enough. Not anymore.

In the new normal (and actually in the old normal for that matter) a great lawyer possesses certain characteristics that set her or him apart. And they actually play a bigger role in how “great” you are perceived by clients.

In a truly little (4” x 6″, 53 pages), but dynamite book published in 2006, those characteristics were spelled out by Jim Durham in what he titled “The Essential Little Book of Great Lawyering.” Coming across this book again, I thought it worth a revisit and recommend it to your reading.  The following is a brief summary of some of those GREAT characteristics:

  • Always be available to clients;
  • Know and understand each (at least key) client’s business;
  • Give practical advice (in a business context), don’t just do good legal work;
  • Add greater value to client’s business/situation;
  • Personalize relationships;
  • Deliver on promises (every time); and
  • Be loyal and seek meaningful feedback.

Good lawyers may have some of these traits.  Great lawyers exude them all. Oh yeah, they also do great legal work.