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  • A Coaching Session with Cordell: How to Deliver a Remarkable Presentation

    In November, 1981, I gave a presentation to the Virginia Road Builders. I knew this presentation would shape the future of my career, and I prepared and prepared and prepared. I wrote every word I intended to say and then made the presentation with no notes. (We didn’t have PowerPoint presentations then and I didn’t...

  • What is Your Highest Goal?

    My birthday is today. If you are a long time reader you may know I keep track of my age by the most famous football player to ever wear the jersey number reflecting my age. This year that player is John Hannah. You can read about him and see his jersey number with the link...

  • A Coaching Session with Cordell: What Community Service Activity

    A young associate asked: Which extracurricular / community activities would be the most beneficial in my overall client development and how such activities can lead to client development (specific examples and/or stories would be great? Do something that you are passionate about so that you are motivated to participate and stick with it long enough...

  • Lawyer Interviews: Top Tips Part 2

    My Lateral Link colleague Naomi Kaplan is back with her top tips for lawyers interviewing. The day of the interview: 1. Look (and smell) your best. Dress professionally (rarely will a candidate go wrong in a well-tailored black or navy suit), don’t wear any cologne or perfume or smoke something that might make you smell...

  • Lawyer Interviews: Top Tips Part 1

    Naomi Kaplan is one of my Lateral Link colleagues.  Naomi has some great ideas for lawyers interviewing. I asked her to share her ideas in the next two blog posts. Here is part 1.   By the end of a successful job interview, you’ve demonstrated that you have the skills and experience to be a...

  • Lateral Partners and Associates: What Do You Know About Your Potential New Firm?

    Someone asked me recently, why should a lateral partner or associate use a recruiter? It’s a good question. I can answer by sharing a story with you and simply say that I have only placed lawyers in firms I know well from having coached lawyers and interacted with the firm leaders. When I was at...

  • You Have to Have Energy to be Successful: Are You Doing These 10 Things?

    I owe my success as a lawyer in part to my burning desire to keep learning from books that have nothing to do with law. One of my favorite books: The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz ,  I read and recommended to lawyers I coached. The book is about managing...

  • Two Classes That Will Help Your Law Practice

    Want to take a couple of classes that will help you get better at client development? Suppose I told you that the two I would take would be Creative Writing and Drawing. What would your reaction be? My guess is that you would wonder what in the world either of those courses has to do...

  • Lawyers: Learning from Your Rival

    Over the holiday while working out I listened to a wonderful interview Lewis Howes did of Simon Sinek. Click here to listen. Simon Sinek has published a new book: The Infinite Game. I haven’t read it yet, but after listening to the interview, I will read it soon. During the interview, near the end, they...

  • Cross-Selling: A Plan That Just May Work

    When I was a Jenkens and Gilchrist partner, our firm hired a consulting firm and paid them a lot of money to mostly tell us what we already knew. One consultant told me I should “sell” our labor and employment lawyers and our environmental lawyers to my construction contractor clients. I replied that if we...

  • Life and Career Lessons from John Wooden: Focus on Your Strengths

    John Wooden passed away in 2010. Even though his passing was expected, I was still saddened and reflective. When I was in college, I cheered against UCLA basketball teams. I remember being at a party watching UCLA lose to Houston in the Astrodome, in what was labeled the “Game of the Century.” Those of you younger...

  • Career Strategy for Young Lawyers: Big Firm or Small Firm?

    Now that I am recruiting, lawyers have asked whether they should be in a big firm or a small firm. I suppose the typical lawyer-like answer might be, “that depends on…” During my career in the United States Air Force I was most fortunate to have the best job available for preparation to join a...

  • Three Small Steps for a More Successful 2020

    This could be the shortest blog I have posted in the last 15 years. Here are three ideas I shared with lawyers I coached. Try these for 2020 and let me know if you see more successful client development in 2020. Create a plan for your non-billable time for each day and each week. Create...

  • My Thoughts on Making 2020 Your Best Year Ever

    If you are a long time reader, you’ve likely read blogs I posted in December about making the next year your best year ever. We’ve finished 2019 and now you have a new year and decade to take your career to the next level. Here are questions for you to ponder and my suggestions. As...

  • Legal Recruiters: This One is For You

    I am starting my third year with Lateral Link. I’ve learned a lot about what makes some recruiters stand out from the rest of the pack. Several years ago, I read Jack Canfield’s book: “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.” In the book he reports...

  • Who Has Had the Greatest Influence on Your Life?

    Years ago I was asked who had the greatest influence on my life. I first mentioned my dad. He taught me so many great lessons. But, the writer wanted me to speak about a person outside my family. I chose Coach John Wooden. I chose him, not only because he was the greatest coach in...

  • 20 Questions to Answer to Start 2020

    As you know, I posted a collection of my most read posts of the decade on Tuesday. Then I heard the debate whether we started a new decade yesterday or if we’ll start a new decade January 1, 2021. I guess it doesn’t make a lot of difference, but it is an interesting debate. If...

  • Best of Cordell Blog This Decade

    It’s hard for me to process that tomorrow we start a new decade. I look back and 50 years ago, I would finish my first semester of law school and surprise myself with the high grades I earned. On New Years Eve 20 years ago, I was on top of the Magnolia Hotel in Dallas...

  • Have You Ever Spent Christmas Away From Family?

    I hope you enjoy time with your family today. Have you ever spent Christmas away from your family? Nancy and I spent Christmas 1971 all by ourselves in sunny Southern California. It was the first time we had not been with our family in Lombard, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. I want to share that experience...

  • What is your burning desire?

    I grew up in a Chicago suburb. One summer, my parents decided I should take the train to Richmond, Virginia to visit my grandparents who lived about 25 miles away in Chester. I boarded the train in Chicago and changed trains in Cincinnati. In the early morning, I got up and left my seat. In...

  • Lawyers: How to Successfully Sell Yourself

    Many years ago when I was the Construction Law Practice Group Leader at my firm, we had a practice group retreat at a ranch about an hour from Dallas. After dinner, one of my junior partners, who had been drinking a great deal, paid me what he believed would be the ultimate insult. He said:...

  • 6 Reasons Your Associates Need Career and Client Development Training

    As you know, I taught, mentored, and coached law firm associates in my own firm and when I left the firm to coach lawyers. Now that I am recruiting lawyers, I’ve placed only one associate and the firm which hired him only did so because he worked for the partner I placed. Firms do not...

  • Lawyers: What you can learn from the number one solo singer of all time

    If you just want to find the answer to the question in the title, skip down to the end of this post. Did you get a chance to see it?  In early December, A &E presented a four hours biography titled: Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On. If you missed it, you can stream it...

  • Lawyers: Why You Need To Prepare a Business Plan, No Matter What

    My colleague, Abby Gordon is back with another guest post. In this post, Abby shares why you need to prepare a business plan. Begin working on your 2020 business plan after reading Abby’s post. Start early: A persuasive business plan can make or break your next career move. Many lawyers do not think about crafting...

  • Young Lawyers: 8 Important Thoughts on Your Contacts

    In 2019: Its not what you know, it’s not who you know. It’s who knows what you know. I didn’t come up with that idea, but I have used the thought for many years. The idea is to increase the number of people who know what you know and find a way to stay in...

  • Client Development: Where to Start

    I was once asked to speak to newly promoted partners in an entrepreneurial law firm. Those new partners were expected to generate their own business over time. I started by sharing with the group where to start. In their handout, I included this list: Define your target market. Decide what you want your target market...

  • Law Firm Leaders: Want to create a client development “buzz” in your firm?

    Law firms that create a “buzz” about client development find their lawyers are energized to attract, retain and expand relationships with clients. I know because I have witnessed it in my old firm and in several firms where I have coached. How can you create the “buzz?” Have you ever put together a panel of...

  • Client Development: The Power of “Not Yet”

    Over the years I have come up with a strong opinion. It is Client Development is not rocket science. If I am right, why are lawyers not just doing it? Maybe I can explain and convince you. What is the Power of “Not Yet?” If you are a senior lawyer mentoring younger lawyers, a junior...

  • Success: Old Rules No Longer Apply

    Those of you who are young lawyers will not even recognize what it took to become a successful lawyer back in the day. Under the old formula, you: Billed lots of hours Got a Martindale AV rating Worked for loyal institutional clients Did not make waves Were told not to worry about client development  Made...

  • Client Development Coaching: Questions I asked during a coaching session

    I will not have coached most of you reading this blog post. Likely, most of you reading this will never have a coach. If you want to coach yourself and stay motivated, here is a list of questions I typically asked lawyers I coached during our individual coaching sessions. What have you done on your...

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