By Lana Manganiello
The legal profession is on the cusp of a transformation as artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like ChatGPT are becoming increasingly sophisticated. These tools promise to make the generation of written content faster and more efficient than ever before. This flood of content will present a challenge for legal professionals who will need to find ways to differentiate their expertise in an era of information abundance.
How can forward-thinking legal professionals preemptively adapt to the imminent changes brought about by AI technologies like ChatGPT, and effectively position themselves to stand out in a market that will be more crowded than ever?
By proactively developing well-informed opinions and perspectives, honing public speaking skills, and having a clear focus in their practice, legal professionals can establish a distinct presence in their respective areas of practice, and stay ahead of the curve.
THE ANTICIPATED IMPACT OF CHATGPT ON LEGAL MARKETING
ChatGPT, with its ability to analyze extensive text data, is poised to revolutionize content generation in the legal profession. As more lawyers and legal marketing departments embrace this technology, there will be an influx of written content that happens nearly instantaneously. Client alerts, articles, blog posts, social media campaigns, and even books can all be produced and disseminated faster and more efficiently than ever before. Legal professionals must anticipate this shift and think creatively about how to make their written marketing materials and lawyer thought leadership stand out. Innovating and demonstrating specialized expertise will be crucial.
DIFFERENTIATING THROUGH OPINION AND PERSPECTIVE
In the wave of information that AI technologies are set to generate, it is essential for lawyers who want to stand out to have a unique perspective. An attorney with well-formed opinions can be a guiding force for clients. Savvy lawyers with focused practices are more likely to have opinions on recurring issues in their specific area of expertise. These opinions are not about being right or wrong but are based on what works for them, cultivated through repeated experience.
Opinions in the legal profession are dynamic in nature and evolve as lawyers gain new experiences and insights. A lawyer with well-formed specific views is often perceived as more credible and decisive. Clients typically prefer representation that is proactive, confident, and based on informed judgment. Such lawyers are not just seen as legal representatives, but as counselors and trusted advisors, providing emotional intelligence, strategic decision-making, and advocacy skills that cannot be replicated by AI.
One of the crucial aspects of differentiating oneself as a lawyer through written communication is the ability to distill complex legislative changes into digestible and actionable insights for clients and their businesses. In a landscape soon to be awash with an abundance of AI-generated content that may lack uniqueness, lawyers need to craft well-structured, concise, and personalized written material to stand out from the crowd. This writing should break down legal jargon, incorporate real-world examples for relatability, and, most importantly, offer clear recommendations that set them apart from the redundant information circulating in the market. This human element—the ability to clearly articulate and guide based on informed opinions—is what will differentiate legal professionals in the fast-approaching deluge of written information.
THE POWER AND BENEFITS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING FOR LAWYERS
“Public speaking is one of the most underdeveloped yet essential skills for lawyers,” says Jordyn Benattar, a lawyer and the founder of public speaking coaching firm Speakwell.
As the amount of information available swells, clients will turn to trusted advisors who can skillfully sift through this information and render it into clear and actionable insights. Public speaking emerges as an invaluable asset and clear differentiator in this context. Through engaging and articulate presentations, lawyers can foster trust, a cornerstone in the lawyer-client relationship. By speaking at conferences and live events, or through webinars and published videos, lawyers can gain visibility, establish their authority in their practice area, and build a reputation as experts in their field.
Additionally, public speaking provides a platform for lawyers to showcase their personality and communication style, something written materials often lack and an essential factor for clients when choosing legal representation. It gives potential clients and collaborators a glimpse into what it’s like to work with lawyers, how they approach problems, and how they communicate solutions.
This enhanced reputation not only aids in business development but also plays a significant role in attracting top talent. When a law firm’s attorneys are recognized for their public speaking prowess, it adds an allure to the firm, increasing the chances skilled and talented professionals will want to work there. On a personal level, public speaking fosters the development of communication skills and bolsters confidence. Lastly, public speaking engagements can present networking opportunities with other speakers and attendees, allowing lawyers to establish meaningful connections among recognized experts in their chosen area of interest.
DEVELOPING PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS
“At any stage of your legal career, developing the learnable and indispensable skill of public speaking can very well become your greatest competitive advantage,” says Benattar. To excel as a public speaker, especially in the legal realm, a multi-faceted approach to skill development is essential.
Understanding the audience is crucial. Legal professionals must recognize that their audience might not possess legal expertise, and it’s imperative to tailor the content to the audience’s knowledge level. This involves avoiding legal jargon when unnecessary and focusing on the key messages that resonate with the audience’s interests and concerns.
Refining body language is another key aspect. A lawyer’s posture, gestures, and facial expressions can significantly impact how the audience perceives the message. Maintaining eye contact, for instance, can create a connection with the audience and convey confidence. Similarly, using gestures effectively can emphasize points and keep the audience engaged.
Voice modulation is equally important. A monotone delivery can make even the most intriguing content seem dull. Varied pitch, appropriate pacing, and strategic pauses can make the content more engaging and help in emphasizing key points.
Speak on enjoyable topics that have been researched thoroughly. Being well-prepared not only boosts confidence but also ensures that the speaker can handle questions and engage effectively with the audience. It’s important to structure the content logically and have a clear understanding of the key takeaways that the audience should leave with.
Regular practice is required. This could take the form of rehearsing in front of a mirror, recording oneself, or practicing in front of a trusted colleague or friend who can provide constructive feedback that can be acted upon.
In addition to practice, attorneys should consider investing in resources such as coaching, courses, and books that focus on public speaking. These resources can offer insights into advanced techniques and provide a structured approach to developing public speaking skills.
Legal professionals that employ human, engaging, and succinct thought leadership will cut through the AI-enabled clutter. As clients and prospects are often too time-strapped to navigate through an abundance of written material, by embracing the role of trusted advisor and utilizing the art of public speaking, attorneys can provide those they serve clarity, relevance, and a personal touch. This combination of attributes is invaluable in getting noticed and being remembered by the people who matter most to the trajectory of your career. A focus on being forward-thinking and proactive, coupled with the ability to communicate insights effectively, will define the successful legal professionals of the future.
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