Tom's advice to law school students and prospective lawyers


Law school students not only need to learn about the law, but also how to market a law practice to make the phones ring and turn leads into clients.


Attorney Tom Olsen: Let me give you some really good advice, okay? This is premature but let me talk about what happens when you graduate from Law school, Bill, and how I'm going to help you get a job, okay? Because bill, here's the dealio these days, bring a brilliant student, being a brilliant lawyer, not good enough these days, you need to learn how to bring in new business.

That's what law firms are looking for. Whether you're a brand new student out of law school or whether you're a lawyer who's got experience and you're looking for a job at a law firm, when you go do that interview, hey, spend some time talking about how brilliant you are but spend the most of your time telling that law firm how you're going to make them all kinds of money by getting out there and hustling new leads and turning new leads into clients.

From that perspective, Bill, if you want to intern, hey, you might intern in some marketing company over the summers because marketing yourself, learning how to generate leads, how to make the phones ring and turning those leads into clients is as much or more valuable that being a good lawyer these days.Chrissy, you and I have talked to some Elderly lawyers that are very experienced.

Chrissy: Yes.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Very good lawyers.

Chrissy: Oh my gosh.

Attorney Tom Olsen: They're looking for jobs and they're meeting with people and in the old days, the law first say, "Man, you're a brilliant lawyer. You're a brilliant trial lawyer. Come one board.'' What are they asking these days, Chrissy?

Chrissy: What clients you're going to bring and how are you going to get them or what book of business are you going to bring with you? It's been interesting, Tom, because especially in the last couple of years, we've had the opportunity to have lunch or talk with some very brilliant attorneys. They were number one in their class and they're now using these words, "If I don't reinvent myself, I'm not going to be able to get another job.'' They worked for a firm for maybe 20 years and now again, the business isn't quite there. They're trying to figure out how do I do this.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, reinvent themselves because they've worked historically for a law firm that they didn't have to worry about to make the phones ring. They just had to sit behind their desk and be a technician and get the work done. Now, you've got to learn how To make those phones ring, turn leads into clients, and that is very, very valuable. They should be teaching that in Law school. They should hire me to come teach that in Law school and you.

Chrissy: You're absolutely right. You're right. Well, that's why it's interesting because I've worked in Corporate America my whole career and just, again, recently went back to law school, that piece of it I have done [chuckles] and that is, again like you said, it's about how do you make the phone rings and bring business in. Very important, you've been doing it your whole career.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, I became a lawyer in 1981 and I had the privilege of practising law with my father, Robert Olson. He was a wonderful mentor to me. Many lessons learned from him but I remember him saying many times, ''Tom, do a good job for your clients. Charge a fair fee and you're going to be a success.'' Well, that was a good old days when there were less than a thousand lawyers in Central Florida.

Chrissy: Exactly.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Now, we got multiple thousands of lawyers and they're chunning them out every day. Now, you got to go further, folks. You got to learn how to market yourself, how to make them phones ring, how to turn leads into clients. We're working hard for people's business out there. We're not only doing a great job for them but we're working for their business. I see that Bill is still listening to us and Bill, my advice to you is, "Okay. Go intern for a law firm if you can, but if you can't, go intern for a marketing company. Go intern for a web development company. Learn some skills about how to make those phones ring and that will serve you better when it comes down to getting your job. Best luck to you, bill."