Take advantage of professional and personal development opportunities

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One positive outcome of the pandemic is that you likely have more free time on your hands. Depositions and hearings have moved to a virtual platform, in-person conferences and trade shows aren’t happening, and you may be working at least part-time from home—reducing your commute.

How are you spending your newfound free time? As an attorney at a solo or small law firm, it’s important to invest in yourself and find ways to develop new skills that help you grow professionally and personally. Need help figuring out things to pursue? Here are some suggestions:

Spruce up your social media presence

Social media provides an excellent way to build awareness and connect with potential, current, and former clients. At the very minimum, you should have personal and business LinkedIn profiles, and it’s important to keep these profiles updated. Even if you think your profiles are current, it’s a good practice to spend an hour or so every couple of months reviewing your profiles and making updates. Additionally, you may decide to branch out and explore other social media channels. While LinkedIn has the highest value for solo attorneys and small law firms, depending on your practice area, it may also be advantageous to create professional accounts on sites like Facebook or Twitter.

Catch up on CLEs

Even the most well-intentioned lawyers fall behind on their CLEs and, given everything else going on in 2020, this may have happened to you. Don’t wait until your reporting deadline is looming to cram in courses. Make a plan now for how to catch up by aiming for a reasonable frequency—for example, taking one CLE course per week. This approach can also help you enjoy and get more out of the CLEs you take. Seek out topics that compliment your practice, areas that have always interested you, or a business topic you don’t know much about. CLEs are mandatory, so you might as well make the most of them.

Try out a new marketing tool

With restrictions still hampering most in-person events, many traditional marketing techniques simply aren’t practical. Now is the perfect time, however, to learn more about how digital marketing can benefit your law firm. If you have the time and interest, explore one or two new marketing tactics. For example, you could put together a webinar on a topic your clients frequently ask about or try your hand at writing a blog post. Maybe you want to learn more about the benefits of pay-per-click advertising or figure out if Google Local Service ads are right for your law firm.

Find out how you can help your community

The pandemic put a great strain on nonprofits and community groups—some of which were already struggling. By now, many of these organizations have figured out how to make good use of remote-work volunteers. Check in with groups you’ve worked with in the past or those that promote causes that interest you and ask how you can help. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to commit a lot of time or that your contributions are too small to be worthwhile. Many organizations and nonprofits rely on volunteers and any and all help is appreciated and needed.

Take up a new hobby or exercise regimen

The healthier and happier you are, the better attorney you will be for your clients. If your well-being fell by the wayside this last year, commit to making your physical and mental health priorities this year. Go for a daily walk or try a remote exercise or yoga class. Even doing a few push-ups and sit-ups on your bedroom floor each morning can make a big difference to your overall health. Mindfulness and meditation exercises are also very beneficial and worth trying.

As the U.S. emerges from the pandemic, life will begin to return to some semblance of normalcy. This could mean you go back into the office full-time, or you may spend part of your time on-site and part working remotely. It might mean you start to attend in-person events again, or maybe you attend a few in person and a few digitally. Whatever the near future looks like, taking the time now to invest in your professional and personal growth will pay off.

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