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What Is Your Top Competitor Teaching You?

In moments of overconfidence, lawyers like to tell themselves that they are truly unique and that they are on their way to becoming the “go-to” in a given practice area. The truth is that there are hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of other lawyers who do exactly what you do. A few of them do it better. Maybe not in every aspect, but some have a deeper expertise than you, others have more general experience, and some are better at marketing themselves. That’s bad news for you. Unless, of course, you view your competitors as your teachers. Their successes indicate new heights to which you can aspire, and their weaknesses are your opportunities.

Back in the mid-90s, a man named Alan Weiss authored a book called Million Dollar Consulting and came to be known as the “million dollar consultant.” Until he came along, most consultants like myself didn’t think it was possible to generate $1M+ a year from consulting alone. But Weiss introduced a new ceiling into the consciousness of his industry, and for that, I will be forever grateful to him. By the same token, golfers study Woods and tennis pros study Federer—because watching someone who has mastered their game is both inspiring and instructive.

So, make a short list of your top competitors in the legal profession. The ones to whom you’ve lost business. The ones who make you a little nervous because they’re just as good, if not a little better when it comes to writing or public speaking or generating business. Study their websites and Tweets and LinkedIn profiles. Watch their videos on YouTube. Get to know them as well as possible. Glean what you can from both their strengths and shortcomings. The idea is not to copy them, but to emulate their fortes—and then put that knowledge into play and surpass them.

David Ackert

David is the president of The Ackert Advisory, a business development consulting firm that has been helping lawyers and their firms develop clients since 1997. He is also the founder of Practice Boomers, a business development e-learning program that shows lawyers how to grow their book of business. He has written for and contributed to many publications, including the LA Times, The National Review, and the Daily Journal. He has participated on numerous panels and been the keynote speaker at events on business development. He is also a guest lecturer at USC Marshall School of Business.

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Filed Under: Personal Development

About the Author: David is the president of The Ackert Advisory, a business development consulting firm that has been helping lawyers and their firms develop clients since 1997. He is also the founder of Practice Boomers, a business development e-learning program that shows lawyers how to grow their book of business. He has written for and contributed to many publications, including the LA Times, The National Review, and the Daily Journal. He has participated on numerous panels and been the keynote speaker at events on business development. He is also a guest lecturer at USC Marshall School of Business.

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