Creative CLE training at the Quebec Bar Association: 3 business development tips for Lawyers.

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

In what ways creativity apply to the practice of the law? Can lawyers benefit from creative thinking too? Research indicates creativity along with empathy are the next mandatory skills for lawyers. You may ask, what do creativity and empathy have to do with the practice of the law? If you'd like to know, I invite you to read this article. And if you think this article is useful, please share it with your colleagues and peers. That way you can implement your learnings for this piece and brainstorm together new strategies I am about to share with you.

Last week I trained lawyers at the Quebec Bar Association about the power of creativity in a fast-paced workshop focusing on both creative and empathic skills. Along with my colleague Dima Haffar we offered a half-day training aimed to help lawyers get more specific and more efficient in their business development.

In this blog post, I am going to share 3 major highlights from this training so you may approach your business development from a more creative perspective. It would be unrealistic to summarize everything that was presented at the training, and even if I wanted to, needless to say it would be hard for you to practice by just reading a summary. Yet, I trust that by reading this piece you will get something valuable that will help you clarify the opportunities creativity can bring you in your practice. 

1. Creativity helps lawyers stand out on a crowded market.

Lawyers who think creatively can develop a more sustainable and a more successful practice,  and not only that, but also a more fulfilling career from a personal point of view. Knowledge remains very limited with respect to the application of the creativity in the context of law practice. Yet, creative skills are essential, not just for helping clients, but also for developing a more successful practice. Especially those times in which clients’ needs are changing rapidly.

Lawyers thinking creatively are not afraid to challenge assumptions in the industry to offer a new experience to their clients, one more adequate to their clients' needs and desires. The research I have done in creativity applied to the practice of the law indicates that with creativity lawyers can develop almost unbeatable competitive advantages and grow a successful practice doing what more what they love. It can help them stand out on a crowded market with differentiation.

For this reason, participants at the training were invited to initiate a personal reflection on their ideal legal career first. And then they experimented creative thinking in order to develop new business development strategies to align on their ideal careers, to develop strategic advantages.  As well, with empathic listening they practiced how to understand and identify clients’ needs and answer them in a more relevant manner.

2. Creativity helps clients see the value of legal services.

Today’s clients expect legal services to be provided like all other services. In forms they know well, which are user-friendly and ideally are fast.  In fact, the research I have been doing indicate that they have 3 types of expectations when it comes to legal services (1) Costs: the real value and the perceived value. (2) Process: The need for clarity and transparency and the willingness to participate actively in their file. (3) Result: Assessing the cost / benefit of legal services, the skill / experience of the lawyers, as well as the speed ​​/ convenience of reaching the desired outcome.

At the center of the lawyer's ability to develop his or her practice, the main challenge is its ability to better target, identify and understand the needs of its clientele according to this matrix in 3 dimensions. Both creativity and empathy enable lawyers to think from the client perspectives, so they can move form traditional legal offers to a offering that is more geared to their client's needs. Hence a offering that can be more valued from their clients’ point of view, making business development much easier. 

3. Creativity helps reimagine the legal experience.

Talking about new solutions, I do not necessarily mean new legal answers but rather new ways of providing those legal answers.In other words, new ways for providing legal services. Yes, lawyers can use empathy and creativity to design a more attractive offer. Yes, facing new clients expectations, creativity helps find new ways to practice the law. Yes, creativity can be learnt and developed. Business development is now less about about being more competitive and more about being different. The key is to find a unique way to differentiate legal services in the way they are delivered, packaged and priced. That's when creativity comes handy. Therein lies the real opportunity for business development, one that is sustainable, one that is more satisfactory for both clients and lawyers. 

Hence, how do you position yourself in this crowded market? Do clients understand in a fraction of a second the value they will get from you, instead of another legal services providers? Will they understand the costs, process and results they will get by hiring you?  If you can reassure them that your serviced are specifically made for them, they will certainly appreciate that. Once you can better address clients pain points and deliver a service that best answer their needs, you will have made a great step to make your business development easier.

Once you have identified your strategic advantages through creativity, then all you have to do is communicate about it as much as possible. Not just in networking events, but through a strong unique branding, an attractive website, and social media. In case you didn't know, more than 7 people out of 10 visit lawyers' websites before taking action, and they do that from their smart phones. Plus they also check their social media accounts. Yes they do for real. In other words, once you have your differentiation factors, communicate massively on those by being active in the digital world!

Remember, if you found this content valuable, I invite you to share it with your colleagues, so you can best support each other in implementing the learnings you've gained from reading this piece. If you'd like to discuss opportunities to work together, I invited you to send me an email at [email protected]You can always  book a time to chat for a free 15 minutes call.

Best creative success to all of you,

 -- Tessa Manuello 


"Thank you for a presentation that was full of life and enthusiasm, which is often missing in our field."

- Laila, workshop participant.


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