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Value: What Your Have and What You're Offering

Value can be defined in two distinct but equally important ways. As this is the case, it is necessary that you are familiar with both of these definitions and what they mean for your legal practice.

Definition 1: Values as beliefs

Defined this way, values can be considered characteristics which you personally deem as being important from a personal standpoint. For example, proponents of family values are essentially advocating their belief in the importance of family units. To consider your own personal values, you need to think of the things which you view as being integral to you. Now consider if this is reflected in your practice.

For example, if you value the autonomy of women and their right to make their own choices in regards to reproduction but then accept a sponsorship opportunity from a pro-life group then your personal values are at odds with your professional actions.

Definition 2: Value as worth

Defined this way, a value is how much something is worth. It's important to know that there are two types of value when looking at it this way. The first is the real value and the second is the perceived value.

Consider that as a lawyer you bill your services at $50/ hour, that's the real value because it's what your charging. However, if a client comes in and feels that you haven't done anything to help them or their cause they may not feel as if you were worth that amount, that's the perceived value because it's based on an assessment of you.

Your real value will change as you begin to gain more knowledge and do more work in the field, that's something you control. Your perceived value however is in the hands of the public, even those who aren't your direct clients and as a result it's important that you provide quality services and market your services as a means of ensuring that your perceived value is as high or higher than your real value.