Archive for April, 2006

Market with Your Strengths

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

How do you market yourself effectively as an international lawyer?  How do you distinguish yourself from the pack? When I work with clients on their personal branding strategies, one effective approach is to figure out and play to that client’s unique strengths.

In Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton posit that, as a society, we spend far too much time trying to improve our weaknesses. For truly excellent performance, they say, we should focus on and develop our natural strengths.

Now, Discover Your Strengths is one of the easiest, most interesting and least expensive ($30) feedback sources around–and executive coaches use it with clients all the time. Each book comes with a unique user code. Users take an online test facilitated by the Gallup Poll, and get confidential feedback about their top five strengths.

Once you get your feedback, tailor the results accordingly. One international lawyer that I know has a strength called “Winning Over Others”.  So, she learned that she should spend a lot of time networking, giving public speeches and the like. She began to see her innate “people skills” as a strength and consciously use this strength to her advantage. 

Other lawyers may not have natural people skills, but have a strength called “Communication”.  These lawyers attract others by their clear and effective communication.  They should showcase their talent by writing articles for publication and the like.

Now, go and discover your talents! (If you would like some marketing tips based on your unique strengths, email me yours and I’ll respond.)

Careful Drafting Can Avoid Unnecessary Arbitrations

Thursday, April 20th, 2006


When drafting an arbitration clause in a contract, consider requiring that the loser of the arbitration bear the winner’s costs and expenses.  When a dispute arises, this clause can make clients think twice about whether they really want to pursue arbitration – and risk having to pay the winner’s costs and expenses.  Faced with that possibility, clients often work harder to resolve problems rather than quickly resorting to arbitration.

Some arbitration clauses require that one or two tiers of upper level management try to resolve disputes before arbitration begins.  Again, trying to resolve the problem amicably in advance can save lots of expense in the long run. 

Negotiate Anything–Anywhere

Monday, April 10th, 2006

We all know what it’s like to jet off on short notice to an unfamiliar jurisdiction, and before take-off scrambling for some tips about local negotiation customs.

Recently I was chatting about this with Kathleen Hamann, a Washington-based Powell Goldstein lawyer who advises clients on anti-corruption legislation.  We compared our experiences negotiating with counterparts from South America, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and the like. 

For culturally sensitive negotiating strategies, Kathleen (who honed her international negotiating skills as a Senior Policy Advisor with the State Department) usually consults Frank Acuff’s How to Negotiate Anything with Anyone, Anywhere in the World ($21.95).  Grab a copy before your next negotiation in a far-flung destination.