What we can learn from the presidential candidates

Edward Poll, BridgeTower Media Newswires

A piece of advice that spans generations is to learn from any and all people and situations possible.

Currently, we are in the midst of a contentious presidential race between two people who, according to the news media, are two of the most hated candidates in recent memory.

Because the two candidates are so disrespected, they are a good test of the advice that we can learn from everyone. Of course, one can always learn by observing what not to do or say, but we are going to step away from the negativity surrounding this campaign and examine each candidate for what he or she has said that is insightful.

The following are quotes from Hillary Clinton:

"If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle."

Change can get you noticed. If you want to attract new attention, update your practice with new furniture, new billing, new marketing, a new blog or website, a new office or a new practice area.

"When families are strong, America is strong."

Working hard in your law practice is good, but not at the cost of ignoring your family. You need to have a solid work-life balance so that you can be happy in all areas of your life and so that success in one area will bolster the other areas.

"There is no one formula for how women should lead our lives."

That advice holds true for everyone. As a lawyer, you should think outside the box. You don't have to follow the same footsteps as all other lawyers. If you can see a way to improve your practice, even if it is not the way of most attorneys, don't think that it can't be done.

"Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it."

I have always advocated soliciting feedback from clients. Feedback will help you become a lawyer more attuned to your clients' needs and desires. After all, happy clients are loyal clients. So, listen to the feedback and learn from it.

"Love trumps hate."

As a lawyer, you also are a business owner. And as a business owner, you have a legal and moral obligation to treat all employees fairly and not discriminate based on sex, religion, race, etc. And by treating all people fairly, you will gain respect from colleagues and clients.

The following are quotes from Donald Trump:

"Experience taught me a few things. ... [S]ometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make."

You don't want to gamble with your practice, but you should be willing to try some new things when the time is right. An inability to see where trends are heading leads to missed opportunities.

"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."

If you have been in business long enough, you will experience a downturn in the economy. Lawyers should not give up; rather, they should temper their spending and ride out the storm. Adjustments in your practice will help you get through the tough times and be stronger in the end.

"I have made the tough decisions, always with an eye toward the bottom line."

You need to have a financial plan and stick with it. If the new technology does not promise a good return on your investment, then steer clear of it. If finances are tight, look for ways to cut corners, such as using a law library instead of buying books for your office.

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Edward Poll is the principal of LawBiz Management. He coaches lawyers and is the creator of "Life After Law," a program that helps attorneys plan for profitable exits. He can be contacted at edpoll@lawbiz. com.

Published: Mon, Oct 31, 2016

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