My Interview With Cordell Parvin

This is an interview in which i talk about how i have been working to become more effective at developing my computer fraud, data breach, and privacy expertise and expanding my practice in these areas, as well as the other areas of my practice. The interview was done by Cordell Parvin, a fabulous “lawyer coach” who has been helping me work on these things.

Before we get to the interview, I would like to say that Cordell has been a tremendous help to me and I would encourage you to check out both his website and his blog. Because I have found the experience to be very valuable and want to share as much about it as I can, I have written two blogs covering a little of what I have learned:

OK, here is the interview that Cordell did and put on a podcast. You can find it HERE

I hope you have a chance to listen to the interview and please, if you have any questions or comments about anything we discussed, from my practice to the coaching, do not hesitate to give me a call. As you can tell, I am very passionate about these things and I love sharing my experiences with others — I’d love to do the same with you!

Finally, as you can probably tell, Cordell really has a spirit for helping others and he is now trying to help a single mother and her son to get ahead in life by committing the proceeds from the sale of his books for helping them. If you have a chance, take a look at his books and consider purchasing a few — it is for a very worthy cause. You can find the books by clicking HERE — thank you!

Are you like Clark Griswold or Ray Lewis?

I have decided to stop being like Clark Griswold with my business development efforts and more like Ray Lewis. If that sounds like the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard just keep reading.

I have been working really hard on my business development efforts. Everyone around me knows it. I have devoted a tremendous amount of time and resources and, thankfully, have had pretty good success. But, when you compare the success I have had vis-a-vis the effort and resources expended, I must admit, I was hoping for more new business at this point.

About the best way I can think of to describe my efforts is Clark Griswold on one of my favorite movies: Christmas Vacation. Watch this clip and you’ll see what I mean.

If you’ve seen that movie as much as I have you can’t forget those memorable lines:

“He worked really hard, Grandma.”

“So do washing machines.”

I have been like Clark — like a washing machine. That is nothing to be proud of. I have been spending maximum effort on all sorts of activities, some of which were productive, some of which were not, and by doing so I have taken valuable time away from my family and my existing clients — and much of it wasn’t even necessary or productive. A great deal of it has been productive but, with a little tweaking, can be much more effective. I have been just like Clark spending the Holidays stapling lights on the roof without even knowing if they were going to work or not. Fortunately, I had someone give me some guidance — someone to turn the light switch on for me.

Yesterday afternoon I had a three hour coaching session with Cordell Parvin. Cordell is my coach. Do you have a coach? If not, why?

Like any good coach would do, the first thing Coach Cordell did was assess where I was in my development by looking at all of the different business development activities I have been doing. It had to be impressive, right? I mean heck, I have been working hard and anyone can see that. Cordell, however, wasn’t quite as impressed as I had expected. In fact, I even got a chuckle out of him when I mentioned (with pride) a few of the “opportunities” I have had develop that I thought were pretty dog-gone impressive. Cordell pointed out a lot of positive things and knows I’m willing to do what it takes to succeed but there was much work to be done.

“Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will all be judged on one thing: the result.” – Vince Lombardi

Cordell’s role is not to pat me on the back and say “you’re working hard, just work a little harder and one day you may get there.” No, his comment to me was something to the effect of “ok, that’s fine, but wouldn’t you rather start making more money?”

Really Cordell? I have a wife and 5 kids at home … kids that want to go to college … of course I would!

“They call it coaching but it is teaching. You do not just tell them…you show them the reasons.” – Vince Lombardi

Lombardi is exactly right — a great coach doesn’t just tell you what to do, he makes it so that you learn the lesson so convincingly that it becomes a part of you. We were only about 15 minutes into the session and Cordell already identified a couple of big reasons my efforts had not yielded the results they should have and like a light bulb flashing in my head, it all made sense. The rest of the session was spent with Cordell showing me precisely what I needed to do to refine my efforts to make them more effective, and things I needed to cut out all together. I’m not talking about broad generalities here. Not even close. I am talking about a specific list of things to do (17 Penultimate pages on my iPad).

I was spending a great deal of time on things that I enjoy doing but things that are not the most effective and efficient use of my time and resources achieve the real objective. It’s not that I haven’t been doing the right things because, in large part, I have. It’s that I haven’t been doing the right things in the best way I could be doing them. With many of my activities this requires only a minor “tweak” or “adjustment” to make a difference.

I was only working hard, not smart.

Funny thing is, I thought I already knew this. I knew I needed to work smart. Just a month or so ago I read this post by Seth Godin who made the same point using different terms. I even made a note of it and put it on my desk to remember — I thought I had it but I guess I didn’t have it like I thought I had it. (sorry – that was fun)

I knew the concept but I did not know the finer points of how to apply it to my business development efforts. Now I do. Well, at least I do more than I did yesterday at this time. I have made progress though I still have lots to learn.

That brings me to the question I asked earlier: Why?

Why don’t you have a coach? 

Now we get to Ray Lewis. Yeah — Ray Ray — you wanna tell him that he needs a coach and you don’t?


Then watch the video below. That’s not washing machine work out there friends! He’s a laser — focused on one thing and one thing only — getting better and better at doing his job in the most effective way possible. Willingly standing on the shoulders of giants in the process. Enough said?


My Experience With Lawyer Coaching

You may be asking yourself why any lawyer would need a coach?

I once asked myself this same question. To get to the answer you have to first understand the simple fact that a law practice–any law practice–cannot succeed without clients. In a private law firm practice your clients usually come from two sources: other lawyers in the firm who have the “client relationship” or your own clients that come to you directly. If you’ve been around a law firm, you know that it is very easy to tell the difference between those lawyers who have the client relationships and those who work for them.

Which would you rather be?

How’s that for an answer? I want to be the “client relationship” lawyer and, therefore, made a decision to put more effort into developing my own clients. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to do it. Like most lawyers, I always believed that if I did good work and put in my time, the clients would come to me. While I have had little difficulty learning that does not work, it was not so easy learning what does. I had the desire but lacked the knowledge.

Fortunately, I found Cordell Parvin’s website and began reading his blog and articles on a regular basis. There are many very good lawyer coaches out there but I was drawn to Cordell’s style of coaching because he not only encourages lawyers to work on client development but actually explains the practical steps for how real live practicing lawyers can do it–in a way that makes sense to me.

“They call it coaching but it is teaching. You do not just tell them…you show them the reasons.” -Vince Lombardi

Spend a little time reading Cordell’s blog posts and you will see what I mean. Then imagine what you can learn from an entire program that ties it all together.

I had a chance to participate in the beta test for Cordell’s new client development series Securing, Retaining and Expanding Relationships with Your Clients and the value of the information exceeded my expectations. Any blog-length comments on the substance simply would not do it justice. I did, however, have a few observations about the individual components of the program that I shared in a guest post on Cordell’s blog and I would encourage you to give it a read: Client Development: Video, Workbook and Group Telephone Coaching Program.

If you have any questions about this program, Cordell’s coaching, or lawyer coaching in general, please feel free to let me know and I will be happy to talk with you about my thoughts and experiences.