Much of early education is spent trying to tackle the skill of writing, specifically the intimidating task of the child’s name.  Parents and teachers may use any number of techniques to tackle this ability, including the most common method of connecting dot-to-dots on a lined paper tablet.  With due diligence and patience, the dots are slowly taken away and a child can begin to both recognize and trace their own name.    It is a big deal.  The significant milestone proves to be a confidence booster, of sorts.  Once a child has mastered the skill of writing, nothing is off limits.  The refrigerator, books, toys and even the wall in the bedroom soon display the acquired proficiency.

Lawyers are not too far removed from the handwriting lessons of yesterday.  After passing the bar exam, they work feverishly to connect the dots of networking and clients in an effort to build a name for themselves.  The process can be painstaking and grueling.  With each new referral and courtroom victory, confidence is gained.   Before long the momentum is building and the lawyer feels he is standing on top of the mountain.  Nothing seems off limits.

Just as quickly as a child’s excitement of writing their own name fades, legal professionals are also vulnerable to lose grasp of the value that is carried within their name.   The case load becomes substantial, and the lawyer gets buried in deadlines.  The intrinsic worth of the name gets lost in the task at hand and trying to stay ahead of the eight ball.

Take a minute to evaluate how your name writing skills measure up.  Have you neglected to connect the dots recently?  A verdict in your favor in the courtroom requires creativity and innovation.  That same effort is required to successfully build a distinct name for yourself.  Your name can be written with more than just a pencil and a tablet.  Learn to use social media, blogs or even conferences with peers.  Take time to practice by using the plethora of tools available.  Don’t neglect to share your story or express your ideas.  They are the foundation of your name and who you are.  Remain teachable and learn from the best.  Gather information from those who have had success in building their name and brand.  Just like a child learning how to use a pencil for the first time, the process can be messy.   Don’t lose sight though that the end product is what ultimately matters.

Horatio Nelson, a British flag officer in the Royal Navy, once said, “My character and good name are in my own keeping.”  In the battlefield of law practice, the ability to write your name often fades into the background of  getting through the day or even getting through just this one phone call.  Remember, your good name isn’t the only thing you are fighting for.  There is something far more important at stake.   The battle to write your name is ultimately a battle for the clients and the causes you have chosen to undertake.  The outcome hinges upon what you choose to do with that fundamental skill learned back in grade school.  Lives depend on it.  People are depending on you.

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