Add this to the list of things they didn’t teach us in law school: the most successful lawyers in the country didn’t get where they are by being the best at practicing law (they’re all competent, but the consumer can’t tell the difference between a good lawyer and a great one). They got where they are by marketing themselves effectively, providing excellent customer service, managing their time wisely, and leading their businesses with a purpose.
By the way, I’m not talking about the volume firm guys who churn out cases and rely on someone else in the organization to bring big cases in. I’m talking about the solo and small firm attorneys who have CHOSEN to run boutique law firms with little overhead. When done right, as I have done, these smaller law firms can be more profitable and support a lifestyle with more freedom.
I meet with 20 of these successful solo and small law firms three times a year, every single year, and here’s what they have in common as they get it all done:
- Militant Time Management. If you don’t schedule out your time with purpose, someone else will. You will become a slave to “putting out fires” around the office every day. You will get caught in the weeds of office drama and everyday stress. By protecting your time instead, and refusing to allow distractions during certain parts of the day, you will be a healthier attorney and a more effective business owner. In fact, your employees will respect you MORE for it.
- Rigorous Case Selection. When things are not going well, it’s tempting to take any case that walks into your office, even if you have a bad gut feeling about the client, or you don’t think the case is a slam dunk. When you take those cases and those clients you THINK you are saving your firm, but in reality you are just extending a cycle of stress and underperformance. Get picky about your case selection before you think you can afford to, it’s the only way your life is going to change.
- Fire Bad Clients. Many attorneys end up spending 80% of their time on the clients that are a major headache, but only a small portion of this year’s income. Burn this unfortunate truth into your mind: if a client is keeping you up at night, treating your staff poorly, and causing everyone involved to lose their sanity, you are losing money on the case. You may say, “But Ben, it’s a million dollar case!” Here’s the reality: you are trading your LIFE and your PEACE OF MIND for this toxic client. Your staff wants to quit and everyone is stressed out. What is the price of the life and health of the entire firm? That’s what you sacrifice by continuing to cater to clients you are not meant to help.
There is much, much more than successful solo and small law firms do to get everything done, but these three things are a massive step in the right direction. If you’d like to learn more about what other successful law firms around the country are doing, look into my introductory Gold Marketer Program. Simply put, it’s the best way to learn and implement successful marketing at your firm, even if you feel you know nothing about it. Go to www.JoinGLM.com to get started.