How to stop other lawyers from stealing your ideas


I got an email from a lawyer who says other lawyers are copying her firm’s marketing. Some are lawyers who left her firm and opened a competing practice. “I know this is supposed to be the highest form of flattery, but it drives me nuts. Why can’t people come up with their own ideas?”

Wow, a lawyer with marketing ideas worth copying. You don’t see that every day.

Anyway, let me address the issue of what to do about people who are stealing your ideas.

You might be expecting me to say something about non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, copyrights and trademarks, but I have to assume she has that covered. She knows what to do to protect herself legally. She wants to know if there’s anything she can do to make it harder to copy her ideas in the first place.

Yes, there is something you can do.

First, whatever it is you are doing, don’t be quiet about it. Don’t try to sneak in under the radar, do it big. Do it loud enough so that everyone knows you are doing it.

True, your competitors will also notice, but they are going to find out anyway. You can’t stop them. And you can’t stop them from using your ideas. But you can make enough noise so that when they do copy you, the market will see what they’re doing and realize that they are copycats and you are the original.

If I were to start a computer company today and tried to copy Apple’s marketing, I would be laughed at (and sued). Everyone would know that I was a wannabe and that Apple was the original. My marketing would remind everyone that Apple was the first and the best and I would wind up selling more Apple products than my own.

If you are the Apple of law firms in your practice area and market, nobody will be able to touch you.

The other thing you should do is infuse into your marketing as much of your personality and style as possible. Don’t make it about “the idea,” make it about YOU. Because you are unique. You can’t be copied.

Use your name and photo in all of your marketing collateral. Tell personal stories that nobody else can tell. Record audios and videos and do webinars and interviews that feature you as the face of your firm.

Your ideas will still be copied but you will always be the original, and the best.

One more thing. The fact that other lawyers stealing your ideas “drives you nuts” will only serve to perpetuate your frustration. It’s the Law of Attraction. What you focus on, you get more of.

You have to let it go.

There have been many times in my life when I was frustrated about something. As long as I continued to think about what I didn’t want, I continued to get more of what I didn’t want. When I was (finally) able to let go of my emotional attachment to what I didn’t want, that’s when I got what I did want.

I know, kind of airy-fairy. But true.

Think about the reality of people stealing your ideas. Not a good feeling, right? Now, think about some aspect of this that feels better. Maybe that even though they are stealing your ideas, your firm is still doing well. Or that you realize that ideas are a dime a dozen and that it’s the implementation that counts. Or maybe that the idea of becoming the Apple of law firms in your market challenges and excites you.

Let go of your frustration and continue to think thoughts that feel good when you think them. Get excited about all of the goodness that lies ahead for you. When you do, you will be at a place that is so far ahead of other lawyers, they won’t ever be able to catch you.

Need marketing ideas? Try this or this.