NWS Author Next Door: Jay Harrington
Meet One-of-a-Kind Lawyer/Author/Branding Creative Guy.
While toiling away in Chicago at one of the world’s largest law firms as a twenty-something attorney, Jay Harrington never could have imagined where his career would take him 15 years later. Today, along with his wife Heather, he runs a brand strategy and creative services firm called Harrington(www.hcommunications.biz). Jay is a relatively new resident of Traverse City. Jay, Heather and their three young girls moved here last summer, and they run their business “virtually” along with a team of employees who work remotely from wherever they happen to be at the moment.
Jay is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and is the author of a newly released book – his first – titled One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Law Practice (for more information visit www.oneofakindlawyer.com) which was published by Attorney at Work. Jay explores how lawyers can harness creativity to develop profitable niche practices, build personal brands, improve the brand experience of clients, and become prolific, effective content marketers.
Jay is hosting a free webinar on May 19 that touches on the principles of his new book. He draws upon his own experience, as well as the experiences of successful attorneys who have employed the strategies and tactics he recommends in the book. Part marketing theory, part “how to” guide, this book contains practical advice for lawyers at any age and any stage of their careers
Jay and Heather also recently launched a new Traverse City-oriented lifestyle blog and brand called Life and Whim (www.lifeandwhim.com). It focuses on the best northern Michigan has to offer, from stories about the region’s most creative entrepreneurs to essays about both the challenges and wonderful opportunities this area offers when it comes to raising kids.
How did you come up with the idea for the book?
The truth is, I didn’t. I have a blog for my marketing business and write quite a bit of professional improvement advice for lawyers. I write regular advice columns for a couple of different web-based industry publications, including one maintained by my publisher, Attorney at Work (AAW). After writing my first article for AAW – the subject matter was exploring how to establish and market niche expertise – they gave me a call and said, “We think this topic would make a great book. Want to write one?”
It’s probably a good thing that I’d never written a book before, because if I knew how much work it was going to be I may have said no. Being relatively clueless about what I was taking on, I said yes. I managed to do the research, interviews and writing in the midst of moving my family (twin girls who just turned two and a five year old) from metro Detroit to Traverse City and running our marketing agency. It was a whirlwind – but it got done. I guess it’s further evidence of the truth of Parkinson’s Law. In other words, the amount of time you have to complete a task is the amount of time it will take you.
Do you anticipate that the book will impact your consulting business?
I certainly hope to sell a lot of books, but even if I don’t it should help me in my business. In the consulting world, particularly in the legal marketing world, a book is a great calling card. A book opens new doors and helps form new relationships that may not have materialized otherwise.
The nice thing about writing a book for a narrow niche is that it’s easier to market in many ways relative to a book written for a mass market (although, admittedly, I’ve never written for a mass market so I’m speculating a bit here). You can pretty easily identify the places lawyers hang out, so to speak, in the digital and print worlds and then target those places with your marketing. For example, each state has a bar association. There are probably 10-15 websites that lawyers visit regularly for professional improvement advice. By tapping into these markets you can get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to getting your message out to your target audience.
Is the book just for lawyers?
I communicate directly to lawyers in the book, but I think the principles that are discussed have pretty universal application to anyone in the professional services world. Lawyers, accountants, architects, consultants – really anyone who has clients and desires more – can learn something from the strategies and tactics espoused in the book.
Plans for the future?
I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I’m about a quarter of the way through a first draft of my next book. This one is always geared toward the legal industry, but focused on first year lawyers. If all goes well I’m hoping to finish it by the fall and have it published by next spring.