Solo & Starting Démarrer et durer
PROFILE Brad Popovich went from law school graduate to inter-
national criminal justice reformer in less than a year.
that eventually landed him in Calgary when he was 23. So when he
was approached by the U.N. International Crime Prevention Pro-
“box with a few
I was given gram, which was looking for someone to go to Bosnia to help resus-
citate its criminal justice system, it wasn’t a difficult decision.
Within days, Popovich was opening an office in the Bosnian
U.S. statutes, town of Banja Luka. “I was given a box with a few U.S. statutes,
some notepads and a telephone. That was it,” he says. “I was 28. It
some notepads was my first real job.”
and a telephone. And what a job. Within days of opening his office, he was meet-
That was it.
” ing with Bosnia’s top judges to plan major, system-wide reform.
Bosnia’s prosecutors, prison officials and court administrators were
immediately receptive, eagerly attending seminars on juvenile jus-
tice, domestic violence and prison reform. “The forums led to
changes in their legislation which were ratified by their Parlia-
ment,” Popovich says.
His agency was also the first
to address corruption within the
system, and he helped lead the
Quelques conseils pour
computerization of much of the
Serb Republic’s court system. mieux « vendre » vos
ost new law graduates find a nice quiet articling position Popovich’s tenure in Bosnia
somewhere. Not Brad Popovich. A mere six months after ended in November 1999. He ctivité incontournable pour
getting his LL.B., the Calgary lawyer was the point man
for a United Nations project to reform the criminal justice system
of the Serb Republic of Bosnia.
“I was looking for articles, but I was also looking for opportuni-
returned to Canada, articled,
and now practises criminal law
in Calgary. But his interest in
world affairs remains: he has
A tout nouveau juriste en pra-
tique privée, la prospection
efficace de clientèle exige doigté,
empathie et efforts. Heureusement,
ties abroad,” he recalls. So he applied for and received a six-month started a consulting business on cela s’apprend. Les experts s’en-
internship at the United Nations International Trade Law Branch in the side, “to help corporations tendent notamment sur ce qui suit.
Vienna. But at the same time, farther south in Europe, Yugoslavia and governments provide ser- • N’essayez même pas d’en savoir
was dissolving in the horror of ethnic warfare. vices to developing nations, plus au téléphone; provoquez plutôt
Yugoslavia’s plight was of more than academic interest to Popo- particularly through partner- une rencontre.
vich — he was born there, though his Serbian parents moved to ship projects with the U.N.” • Établissez une relation de
Germany when he was six months old, the first of a series of moves Not bad for an encore. N confiance en questionnant votre
prospect pour cerner ses besoins.
Écoutez, écoutez, écoutez, puis résu-
mez et paraphrasez ses dires pour
Small-Firm Seminars 4. Send out formal letters of
invitation with an RSVP request,
and follow up with a phone call to
bien montrer votre compréhension.
• Évitez l’approche généraliste du
genre « Ce qui fait notre force… »
How to host a client gathering on a budget et adoptez une approche personna-
ensure the letter arrived and see if
lisée : « Si j’étais à votre place, je
arge firms often host client seminars, inviting cor- the client is interested.
L porate clients’ CEOs or general counsel over for a
series of presentations on an evolving area of law
that matters to their industry. It’s usually a pretty swishy
5. Stock your meeting room with
refreshments and comfortable
chairs. If the crowd is too large,
considérerais sérieusement de… »
• Adoptez une attitude de conseil
« holistique » et voyez au-delà de
ce qu’on veut bien vous dire.
deal, Perrier water and gourmet cookies and whatnot served consider breaking them into small- • Ce qui compte aux yeux du client
in a state-of-the-art boardroom. er groups, or borrowing or renting a potentiel, c’est comment vos solu-
So how can sole practitioners and small-firm lawyers pull off local facility. tions, vos idées, votre plan d’action
6. Provide written materials clients s’adaptent à lui, à ses besoins, à
these kinds of marketing events? Here are seven suggestions.
can take home with them. Con- ses aspirations.
• Abordez de front la question de
sider offering your presentation
votre rémunération. Soyez prêt à
1. Choose a topic that matters to Avoid weekends, and try not to and materials on disk or CD-ROM,
en discuter franchement et à met-
your clients — buying and selling a conflict with a local event like a and post them on your Website. tre votre entente par écrit.
home, making out a will, doing school concert or hockey game. 7. Make sure your clients know • Terminez toujours l’entretien
smart tax planning, starting a 3. Consider a lunchtime seminar, or this is absolutely free. No charge, avec une question ouverte :
business, planning affairs preven- maybe one right after work or after no strings attached, nothing but « Y a-t-il autre chose dont nous
tively, etc. dinner, so as not to conflict with their lawyer offering a service to devrions parler pendant que nous
2. Choose a convenient date. work, day-care or family obligations. loyal clients. N sommes ensemble? » N
14 NATIONAL MARCH / APRIL 2003
Solo & Starting Démarrer et durer
Turning the “networking” buzzword into actual clients
etworking” probably conjures up images of gladhanding your
way through a cocktail party, or leading with your business
card wherever you go. While that might be some people’s pre-
ferred route, it doesn’t have to be yours. Networking is most effective
when it’s done in a manner that makes you comfortable.
There are three basic categories of networking for lawyers.
Social networks involve friends and family, leisure pursuits or commu-
nity or religious affiliations. Here, your own personality plays a greater
role than your professional status: most people in this area know who
you are and what you do. All you have to do is tell them you’re available
and able to assist them with legal matters. the
Hint: Take an interest in what they do, because people appreciate a
lawyer who cares about what matters to them.
Legal networks involve your colleagues in the profession. There’s no
Profs A rating Website allows law
students to tell the world
about their instructors.
better or easier place to start than with CBA Branch and National
ver walk out of a law UNB Law Prof Karl Dore also
Sections, which allow you to meet and interact with peers in your prac- school course and decide scores a happy face, described as
tice areas who can become sources of future referrals. it was your new goal in a “great guy, loves the subject
Hint: Don’t forget about the CBA’s General Practice, Solo & Small-Firm life to make sure nobody sits matter and the students — take
Lawyers’ Conference, and, if applicable, the Young Lawyers’ Conference. through that professor’s lec- him if you can!” And future stu-
tures again? More likely, did dents of highly rated University
Professional networks include clubs, organizations and interest groups
you have a fantastic prof and of Western Ontario law prof
directed towards a specific area related to your practice. It could be a
wanted to tell the whole world James Hildebrand will know
Chamber of Commerce, an industry or trade association, or a social pol-
to take his or her course? that he “brought a guitar and
icy group. These organizations can help you meet people who need legal
Well, now you can do both, sang to illustrate copyright law.”
thanks to RateMyProfessors.ca, Of course, not all the feed-
Hint: Consider industry conventions, which also provide updates on
the latest developments in the area. the Canadian chapter of a back is positive, and more than
California-based Website that one professor received a string
Remember, don’t approach a marketing opportunity as if it were a offers university students the of 1’s and some harsh com-
sales pitch or a client hunt. Think of it as a chance to introduce your- chance to tell everyone what ments. One prof is described as
self to people who have much to offer you, and to show them that they think of their professors — “one of the all-time best argu-
you’re interested in their needs. N good, indifferent or bad. ments against tenure,” while
Site users award their profs another’s ex-student advises:
between 1 and 5 points in three “Take the class and catch up on
Quote Unquote categories (easiness, clarity and
helpfulness). It’s all anony-
Nobody pretends the ratings
mous, and it’s spreading like are either scientific or reliable
Where to practise? wildfire — the site rated its
100,000th prof in January.
— the cloak of anonymity
allows users to be as arbitrary or
I know one lawyer who opened his office on a corner by a
bus stop that was a major bus transfer point, across the
street from a large phone company office. In a few months,
Most of the ratings are for
undergrad professors, but a
mean-spirited as they like,
although the site removes eval-
growing number of law stu- uations that are profane or
he had a very successful practice of phone company opera- dents are logging on to provide potentially libellous, or if a pro-
tors and administrative people who had the usual number of their teacher evaluations. And fessor complains. But the num-
divorces and accident cases. By opening his office at 7:00 for the most part, the reviews ber of unsolicited positive re-
a.m., he was also able to accommodate other people on their are glowing. At the University views reflects very well on
way to work between bus transfers. of Saskatchewan, one of the Canada’s law faculties.
The moral of the above story should be obvious: “Go most active Canadian law facul- If you want to rate a former
Where the Clients Are.” N ties, College of Law Professor prof, or if you’re a professor
Marj Benson receives high rat- curious about your cyber-
Adapted from How to Start & Build a Law Practice, 4th ed. ings and comments like “a total rating, check out www.RateMy
(1999), Jay G. Foonberg, ABA Law Student Division, Section of Law
sweetheart, and great prof.” Professors.ca. N
MARS / AVRIL 2003 www.cba.org 15