top of page

It's All About the Lawyer, Not the Law School


I'm a big fan of Michael Connelly, the best-selling author best known for the Bosch series of detective novels and The Lincoln Lawyer series.

In his book The Gods of Guilt, Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) is investigating another attorney, and makes this observation:

Junior did not appear to be much of a self-starter. I was dying to get a look at that diploma so I could see what law school gave him a skin but decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I knew lawyers from top schools who couldn’t find their way out of a courtroom. And I knew night-school lawyers who I’d call in a heartbeat if it was ever my wrists in the cuffs. It was all about the lawyer, not the law school.

Haller's observation is funny because you know its truth, even if you haven't been "in the cuffs." When you hire an attorney, you want a zealous advocate, one who not only knows the law but also has the drive, street smarts, and competitiveness needed to achieve your desired outcome.

Quite often, a service provider's education and certifications have limited, if any, value, in the buying decision their client will make. It's because your expertise is assumed.

We're in an age where it seems like the more education you have, the more you are derided and mocked. It's important to say, therefore, that this post isn't some anti-academic screed, the likes of which you'll regularly on other media. 

Instead, it's an encouragement: your education and certifications, whatever they are, got you to where you are today, but they don't get you hired. The intangibles that have nothing to do with your training are frequently what attract clients and get you referrals.

Further, those intangibles, if highly valued by your best-fit clients, enable you to garner premium pricing for your work.

Here's the way I wrote about it in my book, The Generosity Mindset: "Professionals who illustrate that they have an intimate knowledge of their clients are not only assumed to have the education and certifications necessary to execute transformative work successfully, but they are awarded a much higher perceived value by clients."

It's all about you, the lawyer—or whatever your chosen discipline is. Clients value you.


bottom of page