Fictional Saul Goodman and real-life Bill Marler always knew one thing. That was that you can't wait for The Gatekeepers to let you in. You have to create your own force field of influence. That's what selling is all about.
To conjure that up, you figure out how to get the right kinds of attention without needing The Gatekeepers. Of course, your bylined opinion-editorial in The Wall Street Journal might land some new business or a job.
But, smart sellers in legal services get it that you can bypass all that. Through his own blogging and persistent outreach, Marler got to own the foodborne disease territory.
And, no, you don't have to be invited to deliver a talk at your local bar association or the American Bar Association. You can put together a panel to discuss a hot topic such as sentencing (SCOTUS is looking at it this term), from a provocative angle.
Rent a meeting room in local hotel. Have your network live-tweet and live-blog the entire event. Manually or through a low-cost distribution service, send out press releases before and after. You should already have a newsletter and the next issue will cover highlights from the panel discussion. This can put you on the radar of those whose business you want or who can hire you. Law school is not too soon to start this.
Also, stop hanging out so much with other lawyers and law students. Way back in the 1970s, sociology graduate student, Mark Granovetter, proved that myriad professional opportunities come through casual relationships not directly related to our work. The formal term for that phenomenon is the "strength of weak ties."
The security guard in the MetLife building over Grand Central in New York City knows two lawyers were escorted out. That means two job openings in Law Firm X. If you have connected with that guard, you will get the scoop, including how to apply to that particular organizational culture.
And make your website a sales tool, not a platform for old-line journalism. You have to think copywriting, a la Don Draper on "Mad Men." Your editorial eloquence a la David Brooks at The New York Times ain't how to sell. Your landing page has to be a Call To Action (CTA) which is clicked on. That CTA is to contact you for a complimentary consultation or a job interview.
The other parts of your website have to be total clickbait. Okay, you give it a genteel tone. But the rules you follow are all about the appropriate keywords, catchy subject heads, and angles that reach out from the page and grab attention. Graphics? You bet. Those range from mapping to infographics.
Any clever lawyer or law student can become an influence machine. You need to be that to sell. Even brandname law firms are learning that. Supposed "white shoe" can mean the next step is the unemployment line.