Make Your National Heritage an Asset in International Rainmaking

International lawyers of various nationalities email me for rainmaking tips.  Often they are working in countries other than their homelands, such as Indian attorneys practicing in the United States, German lawyers working in Argentina, or American attorneys practicing in Hong Kong.

Regardless of your national heritage, your background can be a real client development asset in that it gives you a unique perspective–and perhaps an advantage over–equally qualified attorneys with a different heritage. Your background must be a compliment to (but not subsitute for) stellar legal skills, and so showing a prospective client that you have the requisite legal acumen is key.

Last week Donald Prophete of Ogletree Deakins explored this topic with Michael Cummings through  The Law Marketing Portal, As an African-American partner in his law firm, he routinely thinks about this topic.  Prophete notes that after he establishes his value with a potential client, “my heritage may be an asset because it can be an advantage for me over other attorneys they may be considering for the work. So, my diverse background complements the business value I provide.”

Similarly, international lawyers may find that they share the same national heritage as certain prospective clients, or that their heritage gives them particular insights into the project at hand–or even the clients on the other side.

Regardless, use your national heritage to your advantage.  If you are located abroad, be sure and network wit other nationals of your heritage who may become good referral sources. Expats often enjoy connecting with expats from the same country. And as Prophete suggests, look for other professionals of your heritage to  mentor you as you grow your practice, even if they work in different fields.  This holds true for lawyers both in and outside private practice.

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