Your Reputation Bank Account

Posted on Categories Legal Practice

I am linking here to an interesting article from the ABA Journal last week pointing out that a lawyer’s reputation is much like your savings account-add a little to it each year and it can make you rich over time.  I like this framework of reputation for two reasons:  One, it suggests that a good reputation is worth money in the bank.  We know anecdotally and from laboratory studies that this is true.  Second, the idea of savings in a bank account is a great analogy in terms of reminding lawyers that every little thing they do can help or hurt that reputation.  It’s not just the end of year bonuses that add to your savings, it’s the monthly deposits as well.  Similarly, it’s not just the grand gestures in large negotiations that make your reputation, it’s how you act on a daily basis with your counterparts  Although the book referred to in the ABA Journal is for young lawyers, I think this provides good advice all around!

Cross posted on Indisputably.

4 thoughts on “Your Reputation Bank Account”

  1. it’s not really anecdotal if it comes from lab studies, is it? I though anecdotal meant “I know a guy who…” As opposed to “I know a comprehensive study that…” At any rate, good point.

  2. With respect to Mr. Heine, the phrase used was “anecdotally and from laboratory studies” which I interpreted to mean both “anecdotally” and “from lab studies”.

  3. It is interesting to see how the skills we are learning apply to all aspects of our lives. The ABA article points out that it is not only the grand things we do that improve our reputations, but also the little day to day things. Similarly, in negotiation it is helpful to grandly offer the first olive branch, but it is also important to do the little things, which, in reality, are big things. You must listen, empathize, be respectful, be human, and continue to build a relationship that will flourish thanks to the “little things”.

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