As a Principal at Welden & Coluccio Lawyers, this article explores my belief in the importance of expertise and how this motivated my decision to direct my energies towards the field of Estate Planning and Litigation.
There is a tendency in the legal profession, particularly for small firms and sole practitioners, to accept any work which flows through the door. This activity, which is often rooted in the traditional ideals of what Law is, is often motivated by fear and a very real anxiety about what tomorrow may hold. A fear that tomorrow there may be no work to do and no money to pay the bills. While this is understandable it is also a counterproductive practice with the potential to cause extensive damage to your business in the long term.
In a nutshell, success in law is all about reputation. You are both your brand and your product. Anything which you do as a legal practitioner has the potential to grow your reputation or taint it. When you take on whatever matter flows through the door you are effectively diversifying your skillset to such a point that you risk incompetence.
Law is such a vast and nuanced field that demands nothing less than expertise. It is not humanly possible to develop the necessary expertise in every facet of the Law to guarantee competence, let alone expertise. In fact, the general practitioner or ‘Jack of all trades’ is, as the old adage suggests, at risk of becoming ‘a master of none’. Too often, this leads to unsatisfactory outcomes for clients which over time can damage the reputation of your business, leading to more fear, more taking of work you are not requisitely skilled to perform, and so the cycle continues.
The decision to specialise was one Greg Welden and I adopted from the very inception of Welden & Coluccio Lawyers. The development of our expertise in estate planning is one which we view as a long term goal, and it is one that takes into consideration our context. That is, that with the passing of wealth from the War Generation to the Baby Boomers, we are amidst the single greatest transference of wealth the world and Australia has ever seen. It follows then, that the law of Estate Planning is not an area for the fainthearted, and as such, expertise is a must.
At some point, any lawyer who is really serious about being successful will need to ask the question; what am I good at? What is it about the Law which incites my curiosity? What fuels my passion for the Law?
However, merely identifying a passion is not enough to turn you into an expert. Passion must be fostered by action and a willingness to engage in your chosen area of law above and beyond the norm. It may require that you present papers at conferences, volunteer as a member on a committee and read and write extensively about your passion. Even so, it takes time to build a reputation in your chosen specialisation, and often it is about luck. By this I mean taking opportunities as they are presented and running with them.
As with all things in life, while there is no guarantee of success, concentrating your energies on what you are good at is the best strategy for ensuring that you shine brightest. When this happens something magical happens – your clients are satisfied knowing that their needs have been dealt with by an expert.
Welden & Coluccio Lawyers – The Estate Specialists
Call (08) 7225 8703.