He mentioned that he decided to specialise in a relatively narrow field of employment law when he started his own law firm, doing “golden handshake” work. In those days there were very few exclusively Employment Lawyers. But when the Employment Lawyers Association was formed, the carta of Employment Lawyers grew and grew.
At the same time, he was getting some partnership law work and found that partnership work was very different. It wasn’t really recognized as a speciality on its own at the time. People came to him and said, “well, you went from one partnership to another, you were in a partnership that merged, so you must have learned something about partnership”. And when the number of Employment Lawyers belonging to the Employment Lawyers Association went into the thousands, Ronnie thought he would focus on partnership work and build recognition for partnership as a separate area of expertise.
So, by focusing on an emerging field of work alongside employment law he distinguished himself and attracted a steady stream of work.
Combination of Skills
Tim Ferris in a video discusses combining skills. He suggests we should aim to become specialised generalists and cites Dilbert’s advice of trying to combine a handful of skills that are rarely combined. For example, a computer science degree and a law degree is a great combination.
Of course, you don’t want to dabble in a million things. You should still end up going a mile deep. However, if you spread yourself out across multiple skills that are rarely combined and can be effectively combined you should end up with a unique combination of skills that are sought after.
Tim also covers in that video 3 skills that are highly effective to add to your existing specialism – namely, writing, public speaking and negotiation.
The problems that led me to combine my skills
As an intellectual property lawyer, I identified numerous problems around IP and branding. I’ve written extensively about these in various articles and in my YouTube channel. Briefly, they were as follows
- In today’s digital society, the assets of a business are largely comprised of intangibles.
- Intangibles like websites, logos, content, trade secrets, names and the like, are governed by intellectual property laws.
- Few people understand what intellectual property means, and when it’s appropriate to protect it, even though some people may be aware that it’s important to the value of a business.
- Taking the right actions when you create or develop each type of intangible asset is how you ensure you have a valuable business.
- Different actions are needed to protect the different IP rights of copyright, trademarks, patents, designs, and know how. In practice, you need to make the right choices, use the right legal agreements and register your rights, such as in names.
- Failing to protect IP can render a brand generic, and very expensive to enforce.
So there is widespread lack of understanding of IP laws, and I also noted that people want designs created for their business even before they’re ready with their business plan or business strategy, and some tend to spend a lot of money on branding which will often completely overlook IP.