I had a “troika” the other day with Frank Rudewicz of the accounting firm Blum Shapiro and Steven Konowitz of the Law Firm Konowitz and Greenberg. Troikas, for the uninitiated, are a gathering of three Provisors members. They are set up in order to help members get to know each other and they serve as a nice complement to the monthly meetings you have with your Provisors home group (or affinity group– or group where you have served as a guest).
At this troika, Frank made an insightful comment that I thought was worth repeating:
If you are a professional service provider and you want to generate business, “You have to like people”.
As the Jewish New Year approaches, it made me think of an old story from Jewish history. As the story goes, there were two first-century-BCE rabbinic sages, Hillel and Shammai, who were considered opposites in their interpretation of Jewish law: Hillel the tolerant and liberal “loose constructionist” of the Law, Shammai the exacting and inflexible “strict constructionist.”
In one story about them, a gentile comes to both and asks, with the obvious intention of provoking them, to be taught the whole Torah while standing on one leg. Shammai is indeed provoked and gives the man an angry whack with a measuring rod. Hillel replies, “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.
And so, if you want to build your law practice, go out in the world and be nice to people. And as Frank Rudewicz said the key is you have to like people. Doing great work is not enough. Writing compelling articles, giving presentations, having a great website and social media presence can help. But fundamentally, your work will come from your business relationships.
For many more resources on the subject see the resources page of this website.