How to Create Core Values for Your Law Firm That Matter

Here at Spotlight Branding, we use the phrase “right person, right seat” when we’re talking about hiring. That means getting the perfect person in the correct role at the company, whether it’s sales, billing, or HR. Whenever we hire, we ask ourselves, “Does this person have the right skill set? Are they a good fit for our company? Do they mesh well with our culture?”

That last question is the toughest to answer for most law firms, but it’s arguably the most important. The issue is that many entrepreneurs don’t take the time to define their company culture. Maybe you’re one of them. You have a vague idea of what you want your culture to look like, and you know what’s important to you, but nothing is set in stone or written down. This makes hiring harder because you’re going into the process without a measuring stick. Once you know your culture inside and out, you can check potential hires against it and avoid costly hiring mistakes — which is where core values come in.

Core values are phrases that capture what your company is all about and usually describe traits you’d like every employee to have or actions you’d like them to take. Our company philosophy is that core values shouldn’t be obvious. As a law firm, if you claim that one of your core values is “Honesty” — well, it had better be! You’re not going to impress anyone or weed out any candidates with such a basic claim. Instead, drill deeper to find a phrase that’s more specific and unique to your firm. Ask yourself, “How exactly do we embody honesty well?” With this method, one of our clients turned the word “compassion” into the value “Walk a Day in Their Shoes.”

Most great core values combine a verb and an adjective, describing both a behavior and an attitude. For example, one of our company’s core values is “Win Together,” and another is “Communicate With Intention.” To put your core values to the test, use these two questions.

Q: What do we do? A: [core value verb]

Q: How do we do it? A: [core value adjective]

Then, combine your verb and your adjective to create your core values! Aim for four or five. Wordsmith your phrases, have fun with them, and make them sound powerful. When you’re finished, these phrases will guide you through the hiring process.

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Spotlight Branding

Spotlight Branding is an internet marketing and branding firm for lawyers. Our goal is to help our clients create an online presence that positions them as a credible expert in their field, keeps them connected with their network in order to stay top of mind and increase referrals, and to become more visible online so prospects can find them!

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