To all of our friends and supporters who celebrate the Lunar New Year: Happy Year of the Dog!
The 2018 Lunar New Year is celebrated on February 16th. This year marks the year of the Earth Dog. Those born under this sign are supposed to have distinctly independent, sincere, and loyal characteristics. The year of the dog is expected to bring opportunities for increased business flow and elevated social reputations.
Whether you believe in the Chinese Zodiac or not, there are a few insightful takeaways that we can learn from the year of the dog that we can apply to advancing our legal careers:
1. Look for the best in people.
Attorneys perform best when they are set up to succeed. Attorneys are set up to succeed when they know their strengths will be maximized and their weaknesses protected. Whether working solo or on a team, it is important to look for the best in people, help them identify their best and watch them thrive. If you have the ability to engage with others and make them happy, they will run through walls for you. Look for the best, engage with others, and show appreciation.
2. If you can not see the issue, sniff it out.
Issues are not always obvious. Attorneys are expected to look beyond the surface, past the obvious, and sniff out the underlying issues that need to be resolved. Do not give up and do not be afraid to get your paws dirty. Stay on target, and really go for it.
3. Loyalty is always valued.
Success is not easy. All businesses and individuals face rough patches and go through peaks and valleys. No one likes an attorney who only reaches out to them during their successes and never during their struggles. Successful attorneys need to really adopt a servant’s heart to deliver excellent client service. The ability to consistently deliver advice is what forms the foundation of a trusting relationship, leading to long term business. Be loyal to your clients, your colleagues, and supervisors. Learn to thrive when times are slow and to accelerate when times are good, and you will always be able to outperform your competition.
4. You are as strong as your pack.
Dogs are social animals. A lone dog may not be much of a threat—but an entire pack of dogs changes the game. Similarly, lawyers are as strong as their networks. Some practice settings come with a “network” (at a large firm, for example)—but building a network does not stop or end there. Whether it is to advance your career, develop new relationships, or grow professionally, it is important for any attorney to continue to network and build new connections.
5. Always be willing to learn new tricks.
They say you can not teach an old dog new tricks—but that has been proven to be untrue. Dogs will always learn new things as long as they are motivated by some individual fun factor or a doggie treat. As attorneys, evaluate how much you have learned over the past few months. How many articles have you read, CLEs have you attended, or conferences have you gone to? You can always take time to dive deeper into an area of the law—but remember that there are other important skills you can learn too: marketing, technology, public speaking, and business development for example. You can explore industry areas of your clients to better understand their needs—or leave the workplace entirely to just learn something because you want to.