The 5 Action Steps Every Lawyer Must Take to Be an INTRA-preneur

Are you a lawyer at a law firm or a law student intending to be one?

Are you responsible for the professional development of lawyers or law students?

Do you personally mentor or give advice to lawyers or law students?

 Yep. 

Yep. 

If you're nodding your head to any of these questions, you might be inadvertently committing malpractice on the people you're trying to help--including yourself!!

 This fashion advice was definitely some form of malpractice!

This fashion advice was definitely some form of malpractice!

Don't Commit Professional Development Malpractice - The 5 Action Steps Every Lawyer Must Take to Be an INTRA-preneur

The most important factor in the long-term success of all lawyers is their ability to think and operate like entrepreneurs.   This maxim is true for more than just solo practitioners.  The deciding factor in the success of law firm associates, in-house attorneys and non-profit lawyers is their ability to operate like an entrepreneur within their organization

The need to be entrepreneurial doesn’t only apply to solo practitioners. A lawyer can operate like an entrepreneur WITHIN their organization and be an INTRA-preneur.

A lawyer operating like an entrepreneur within their organization is being an INTRA-preneur.  There are 5 key action steps a lawyer can take to be an INTRA-preneur within their organization, and I discuss them below.  But first, let's discuss why law students and lawyers should care about being "intrapreneurial."

Why should law students and law firm associates care about being intrapreneurial? 

Technical legal skills, sheer brainpower, and a tireless work ethic are necessary, but not sufficient, to be a successful lawyer-- at a law firm or in any organization. 

For example, ask any law firm partner or professional development staff member what factors will most determine which young lawyers will be successful.

Do they say that the #1 success factor for law firm associates is how hard they work?

Nope.  Except for a few slackers who won't last, everybody works hard.

Do they say that the #1 success factor is how smart the law firm associate is?

Not really.  Being smart is necessary, but certainly not sufficient, for success.

Legal Skills? 

Nah.  Again, necessary, but certainly not sufficient, for success.

Well if smarts, work ethic & legal skills aren't the sole answers to success Calvin, why do some law schools and law firms act like that's all law students and lawyers need to have?

 I dunno.

I dunno.

Most senior lawyers or professional development staff people - whether they are at a law firm or within a company - will advise that being intrapreneurial is the way to long-term success as a lawyer.  They may not use the term "intrapreneurial" or "INTRA-preneur" specifically, but it's the core principle behind what they'll advise lawyers to do.  So how can a lawyer be "intrapreneurial" within their organization?

Here are 5 ACTION STEPS lawyers can take to be INTRA-preneurs:

  1. Build a strong personal brand and niche;
  2. Gain an understanding of entrepreneurial tools and thinking;
  3. Create a broad network of internal and external relationships;
  4. Think comprehensively (not just legally) about solutions to client problems; and
  5.  Learn how to bring in new business and clients.

These intrapreneurial action steps apply to lawyers in every type of organization, including law firms, companies, government agencies and non-profits.  Did you notice that each of these action steps are the same actions that entrepreneurs take every day to be successful?

All of our lawyers - wherever they work - can be trained to think and act like INTRA-preneurs within their organizations.

The daily actions that entrepreneurs take to be successful can be leveraged by lawyers to be INTRA-preneurs within their organizations.

Want more step-by-step tips on how to teach lawyers and law students to be legal INTRA-preneurs?  Get my e-book! 

Click here to sign up on the Happier Better Lawyer Contact page to get my e-book 10 Action Steps Lawyers Can Take to be INTRA-preneurs & Still Get Their Work Done. 

Write in the Tell me more! box: "Calvin, I want that INTRA-preneur e-book!"

 You signed up? Nice. I don't usually read e-books, but when I do...

You signed up? Nice. I don't usually read e-books, but when I do...

Here's one reason why more of us aren't training our law students and lawyers to think entrepreneurially:  Many law schools and law firms believe that teaching law students or young lawyers entrepreneurial skills is teaching them how to leave the law.  I understand why they might have that perspective, but it's wrong.  As a matter of fact, it's the other way around. 

Teaching law students and lawyers to be entrepreneurial is teaching them how to stay in the legal profession and succeed, not how to leave!

Let's give our law students and young attorneys the tools they need to succeed in our modern-day legal profession.  If we do, they will be happier, they will do better, and they will be more successful.

- Calvin

Want more step-by-step tips on how to teach lawyers and law students to be legal INTRA-preneurs?  Get my e-book! 

Click here to sign up on the Happier Better Lawyer Contact page to get my e-book 10 Action Steps Lawyers Can Take to be INTRA-preneurs & Still Get Their Work Done. 

Write in the Tell me more! box: "Calvin, I want that INTRA-preneur e-book!"