Super Bowl Lessons for Lawyers
Atlanta will be hosting the 53rd Super Bowl, where the Pats and the Rams will face off.
We would like to take a quick moment to pay homage to a sporting event that has really become a staple of our culture by sharing some important takeaways that lawyers can draw from the match.
Pay Attention to Burnout and Exit Planning
The average career span of a pro NFL athlete is 3 years. Athletes can go from “millionaire to famine” and not know how to cope once they exit. Close to 20% of NFL coaches and personnel burnout before age 50. The career exposes the individual to a barrage of stress and risk of injury that add up and take a toll.
While practicing law does not necessarily require a lawyer to defend a quarterback from a 200+ pound tackle, the responsibility to advocate for a client, mitigate risks, and put out “fires” can also shorten the lifespan of a lawyer’s practice.
Lawyers need to pay attention to signs of burnout and mend their “injuries” before they become career ending. Those who know that their legal careers will be short should prepare themselves financially for a career change.
The Super Bowl is a master example of branding. Fans of the Super Bowl love their teams, are deeply invested, and are loyal. One does not simply “switch” teams just because a game did not turn out as desired.
If only clients were just as invested in their attorneys. Imagine what you can accomplish as an attorney if your clients and potential clients were your fans. You might not be able to offer season tickets, but there are ways you can ensure your clients feel that they are a part of a real partnership.
An attorney-client relationship that is a real partnership pays for itself. Teams do more than just post occasionally online – they get involved with their communities. Lawyers, take someone out for lunch to share your appreciation. Write a card (not just an email).
Stand Out and Be Efficient
If you become a master at doing exactly what everybody else does, you become everybody else. Teams and athletes that are different become different because they are not afraid to step outside the box and reinvent. They build their fundamentals and core competencies, and invest time into learning to build a better mousetrap.
One of the most dangerous explanations in a law firm is “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Every attorney should spend some time thinking about whether their interests align with their clients, whether performance and overhead can be leaner and more optimized, and how to leverage the expertise of others to provide better and more efficient service.
Sounds impossible? That’s why the next takeaway is….
A team works together to win a championship. A good player does not make a great team — just like a great lawyer does not make a great firm. It is important to know that the objective in both arenas is not to win ONE game — but to win the entire set of games.
To win one game, you can send your stars. If you want to win more, you are going to need your teammates to get off the bench. If you want all of your teammates to be capable of winning, you cannot only send in your stars.
Lawyers and firms should pay attention to the development of each attorney as an individual, and also learn how to leverage each other’s’ strengths and mitigate each others’ weaknesses.