For those of us who admit to having been glued to (all nine seasons of) “Suits” or any of the other series depicting lawyers, you are familiar with the Hollywood version of the profession. Each lawyer convincingly practices in numerous areas of the law, all while of course looking fabulous. Each lawyer litigates, masters M&A, handles trusts and estates matters and excels at both matrimonial and maritime law. But in the real world, lawyers and other professionals need a niche (or two, if I am coaching you and you are really pushing me.)
Developing a niche doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and trial and effort.
During your career, you’ll start noticing those areas in which you have an interest, and those that just feel right when you have the chance to focus in on them.
You’ll also find there are certain types of clients that you enjoy working with, and others that simply drain your energy (and in the worst case, impact your self-worth.)
How do you develop a niche?
To get it started, you may want to ask yourself these questions.
What is it that brings me the most joy in the work that I do?
When have I ever felt that I am excited to go to work in the morning?
Look at your firm
What area of law will fit well with my firm?
Is this an area in which there is potential for me to can cross-sell into and from to the rest of the firm?
What area of law will help me and my practice be profitable?
Will the area be impacted by lots of conflicts from other practice areas?
Look at external factors
Where is there a market for what I do and what industries seem to have that need?
In which area of business might there be a future need?
Are there regulations coming down the pike, or changes in business or the economy that mean more work in one area versus another?
I hope this helps as you think about what it is that you do, and where you want your skills to take you. If not, you may want to think about applying to the (wishful thinking) season ten of “Suits.”
To borrow a quote delivered by the wonderful Gabriel Macht playing to role of “Suits” leading man Harvey Specter, “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.”