By Cathy Moran, Certified Consumer Specialist, Mountain View, CA
Why should I help my competitors?
That was the query of a highly experienced bankruptcy lawyer I met at a seminar recently.
I heard the same push back on one of Jay Fleischman’s listserves from a participant who didn’t want to share with others in his professional community an upcoming education opportunity.
“I don’t want my competition to improve”.
Dumbfounded, I was. I thought we belonged to a common profession. A profession that made us as much colleagues as competitors.
Why help raise the bar?
Reasons to raise the standard of bankruptcy practice abound, in my view.
My skills are sharpened watching and opposing good lawyers. The more capable bankruptcy lawyers there are to talk with, the better lawyer I become.
Benefit to the Public
Society is not well served by a sea of indifferent bankruptcy lawyers.
Good lawyers don’t willy-nilly make bad law. How often are the appellate cases that plague our practices the result of a headstrong lawyer with more vigor than skill appealing a case that should have been allowed to die in the trial court?
Better Bankruptcy Environment
The higher the quality of the bankruptcy bar, the less likely we are to bring upon ourselves outside oversight resulting in petty and unnecessary rules and regulations.
When I first wrote about this on Bankruptcy Mastery, readers chimed in adding to the list.
Little Connection Between Skill and Clientele
Like it or not, there is little connection between legal skills and the ability to market your practice well. There is no necessary positive correlation between skill at marketing and skill in the law. Just because your skill set is more fully developed, it does not follow that clients will necessarily flock to you rather than the less skilled.
Capable Practitioners Can Resolve Matters
Disputes in the bankruptcy setting are more easily resolved when both lawyers know the law and the likelihood of success for their position. The worst opponent, in my view, is the lawyer who knows nothing, not the guy who knows what he’s doing.
Good Results Promote The Choice Of Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy horror stories, brought about because of incompetent counsel, discourage the public from electing bankruptcy to turn their financial lives around. The converse is true as well: when bankruptcy is seen in the community as a safe and effective remedy, our pool of potential clients is more open to our services.
I’m confident that I can compete with those less experienced lawyers I’m helping.
Hoarding knowledge will not squeeze out other bankruptcy lawyers in town.
One reader pointed out that the non lawyer competition is the opponent we ought to be focusing on squeezing out.
Cathy Moran has headed her own small firm Moran Law Group in Mountain View, California, for nearly 30 years. Family law and tax issues as they play out in bankruptcy are areas of particular interest to Cathy.