Image: An Essential Ingredient for Lawyer Success During These Changing Times


by John W. Olmstead, Jr., MBA

Copyright 1996-97 by Olmstead & Associates. All Rights Reserved.

The concept of lawyer image is key to lawyer success and prosperity. Many of you have seen a shift from having a favorable reputation and image to becoming a profession that is fighting to improve its’ image. Lawyers image congers up a variety of meanings in our society today which in many cases leads to negative perceptions. To some it means buying justice for those who have the money to pay for a lawyer. To some it means that some lawyers can be bought for the right price. To others it means that some lawyers are only hired help. While to others it means that many lawyers charge on a minute by minute basis when being their client. Keep in mind these are sterotypic perceptions that are touted and reinforced by public opinion.

These perceptions can be changed if the public see lawyers in a different light. Some helpful images might include lawyers as team players, contributing volunteers services toward community efforts, providing many services for a fixed fee, practicing high ethical standards that exceed the expectations of the community, and being visible as a good community neighbor.

In their professional training lawyers are taught to work as independent professionals. They tend to use confrontational methods and encourage adversarial relationships. They work on a win-lose basis. They are not taught to access or understand other

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