It would have been extremely funny to open this post, given what will come in a bit, with a video of Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross as a means of emphasizing how bizarrely misguided advice can be. It would have, but I can’t. I can’t because Rachel Rodgers used it herself, starting her terribly sad post with the same quote.
Apparently, she didn’t realize what the quote, and Mamet’s story, was about. Baldwin’s character, Blake, wasn’t motivational, but a monster, a demon brought in to destroy and subjugate the spirit of the real estate salesmen beneath him. He reflects the worst in man. Rachel Rodgers uses him as her exemplar.
My first couple of months as a solo, I spent a lot of time talking to prospective clients. At that time I was offering free consultations. During these consultations I would give away the milk, which meant that very few potential clients were buying the cow. Even worse, I didn’t clearly express to my prospective clients what the cow was and why it was worth my fees to get it. I had no idea what the hell I was doing and was quite perturbed that many of these prospects weren’t becoming paying clients.
Unfortunately, how to sell is among the myriad of things that we lawyers need to know yet didn’t learn in law school. When I was just starting out, I didn’t understand how important the mantra, “always be closing” really was. After months of being disappointed at how few clients I had, I realized that closing clients needed to be my numero uno priority.
Bearing in mind that Rodgers’
decades months of experience color her epiphanies. When she explains how her early days as a lawyer failed to produce income, it’s easier to understand why she shifted her focus during her second week of practice by embracing Alec Baldwin’s ABC, always be closing. Hungry people need to eat. Rodgers is starving.
Despite her tenacious resistance to appreciating the ethical duties of lawyers, and notwithstanding the poverty of her juvenile written and reasoning skills, it’s hard to blame Rogers for her misguided views. Had she not persisted in her efforts to be a life coach who has yet to have a life, to tirelessly promote herself as a guru to the desperate and foolish, I would not mention her. But since she’s chosen to scream about her genius, there isn’t much choice. She doesn’t even realize she’s a pawn, doing the bidding of her elders who enjoy the benefit of making money off her silliness, making her the target as they pull her strings.
Rodgers’ head has been filled with delusions, that lawyers sell, sell, sell, and that’s what brings success. She thinks lawyers sell real estate, sell used cars, sell day old fish. It doesn’t matter what lawyers sell, as long as they sell. And close the deal.
When Jordan Rushie asked me about her post, it wasn’t because he had any particular feelings toward a young lawyer named Rodgers. Rather, he fears for his generation of lawyers.
I mean, who cares what your clients need, right? It’s all about making money.
Sounds like a great idea, except for one problem. As a lawyer, we are a fiduciary for our clients.
In other words, a lawyer has a duty to not to view clients as a “mark” or a “lead”. However, in the comment section, Rachel states:
If you feel like your services aren’t valuable or lack confidence, that can be a barrier to effectively closing leads.
…closing leads? Sometimes a client might not need your services. Sometimes they are better off saving their money. And it’s our duty to tell them that.
This is really a question of mentoring, of guiding new lawyers down the road of ethics, or competence, of integrity. Or empowering young lawyers to make money their God, that anything they have to do get a buck out of their “mark” is the road to success. While some try to reimagine the legal profession in ways that will better fulfill our obligation to serve our clients, others are redecorating the boiler room.
Just as Jordan was mentored to believe that skill and integrity are the tools with which a lawyer serves clients, and he strives to earn the trust that clients place in him, Rachel was mentored in marketing and self-promotion, where clients are leads and closing the deal, any deal, is all that matters. Sure, as a lawyer, Rachel Rogers shouldn’t be such a puppet to the real entrepreneurs who fill her naive head with lies and delusions. But not everyone has the strength, the intelligence, the insight, to know when they’re being played.
So don’t blame Rachel Rogers for being the face of the new generation of lawyers who are so delusional and misguided that they demonstrate the worst of what can happen to the profession. Blame her mentor, Blake, no matter what name he uses.
Oh, what the heck. Here’s the video.