September 3, 2012

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to publish a large amount of educational material for all attorneys who are regularly engaged in providing advice to clients. The advice is regarding the impact of laws and regulations on business transactions and compliance with laws and regulations during the course of day-to-day business operations.  Veteran attorneys will have inevitably developed their own methods for managing and growing their practices; however, it is my experience that everyone, regardless of the stage of their career, welcomes new and effective ideas about how to deal with specific issues, provide value to their clients and increase their enjoyment of their chosen vocation.

Newer attorneys, particularly those of you who have recently graduated law school and are just entering the “real world” of law practice, face challenges and uncertainties that often seem overwhelming and thus I am very excited to have a chance to work with them to help sort out their initial career development plans.  We’ll be covering a wide range of topics in the months and years to come; however, as we launch this initiative I’m going to try and focus on the following key questions:

  • What is a business attorney, what does he or she do, and why does it matter?
  • What are the attributes of a “good” business attorney?
  • What are the attributes of a “great” business attorney?
  • What is a business counselor, how does an attorney become one, and why does it matter?
  • What are the personal and professional traits and practices that attorneys should develop to successfully navigate the path from “good to great” and from business attorney to trusted business counselor?

In suggesting answers to each of these questions I will draw on the lessons that I have learned after a number of years in practice as a law firm associate and partner and as a general counsel of a venture capital-backed emerging company and a large multi-national business.  I will also tap into the advice offered by other seasoned practitioners and observers, feedback from clients—after all, it is the client’s opinion about “greatness” or “value” that really matters—and the sometimes provocative suggestions from commentators who provide roadmaps on how to achieve professional and personal “success” and “happiness”.  In fact, if you want to get started right away I’d suggest taking a look at The Essential Little Book of Great Lawyering, written and self-published by James A. Durham and available at his website (www.greatlawyeringbook.com), and John Maxwell’s best-selling business book Today Matters: 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow’s Success.  I’ll be referring to each of these books as we proceed further on the journey to becoming a business counselor.

I also want you to know that a comprehensive library of articles and sample forms relating to a wide array of topics of interest to business attorneys and their clients is readily available at my two blogs: The Business Counselor Blog (www.businesscounselorblog.com) and The Emerging Companies Blog (www.emergingcompaniesblog.com).  Finally, please visit my website at www.alangutterman.com (Gutterman Law & Business) for information on my other publications including samples.

In my next post we’ll begin talking the first question—what is a business attorney and what does he or she do.