Friday, 23 December 2011

Yours sincerely: newly-minted professionals, same old problems

Something for newly-minted junior practitioners to chew on
Here's a slow-burner: some four month ago, members of the Canadian Copyright and Trade-mark Law" LinkedIn group were treated to the following practice Question from Kieran Moore: "What is the best way for a newly minted trade-mark agent to build a practice? What are the best sources of trade-mark clients?" Although responses have not been coming thick and fast, the question is still active and readers of this weblog might wish to reflect upon it.

Leaving aside the two most obvious questions ((i) why would anyone want to build their own practice in a recessionary economic climate, (ii) why would anyone who knows the answers to those two questions want to share them with their competitors in the same economic climate?),  readers of this blog may want to meditate over the words of Bart Cormier as they eat (or, if business is that bad, steal) their Christmas turkey:
"There is no magic source of clients and it's unrealistic to think that anyone can become a rainmaker overnight. In my experience, it's hard for a junior professional to convince a client to trust them with their work.

...[U]se the next few years to become more visible in your local community. Offer to speak to industry groups on trademark issues. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and go to the breakfast events (free coffee and interesting conversation!). Volunteer for causes that you're passionate about. Get to know the industries and businesses around you and meet lots and lots of people. Help the people in your network by connecting them to one another.

Make an effort to meet your opposite numbers at the companies you'd love to have as clients. You currently have much more in common with a junior executive/engineer/marketer/accountant than you do with a Vice President or CEO. Meet these people now while they're on their way up. Learn about their companies and how they work.

Do all these things sincerely, because you're interested in other people; not because you're just looking for referrals ...".
This last point, in my opinion, is crucial. n the same way as many small children instantly detect insincerity in adults, many prospective contacts instantly detect insincerity in people who seek to obtain instructions or referrals from them. The big problem is how to be sincere ...


  1. Great advice, and such an attorney will soon become well known in their local community - sleeping in shop doorways with a begging bowl.

    Why would anyone start a practice in a recession? Ans. Redundancy.

  2. "Why would anyone start a practice in a recession?"

    Because many companies are struggling financially and the option of using a sole practitioner who can provide good service at a decent price might be an attractive proposition?

    I've also read that a recession is a good time to start a business generally, because decent staff are easier to come by. Ever tried hiring when the economy is flying?