Guest post by Rjon Robins
Thanks to all the lawyers who have allowed me to help them, I have lived a hundred lives as a lawyer, in every conceivable area of practice and in all different markets around the World.So to give something back I hereby submit for your consideration my “4 Part Formula For Financial Success & Happiness As A Lawyer”.
Step 1: Find an area of the law or a group of clients that you genuinely give a crap about. Forget about going into any practice area(s) you don’t know or care about, just because someone says you can make money at it. You can make a lot of money in any area of the law if you know anything about marketing and how to manage a law firm.
But, if you don’t genuinely care about that area of the law or the clients you serve in it, you’re never going to be able to stay interested in it long enough to keep up with another lawyer, perhaps even a less-skilled lawyer, who does. And if that happens you’ll spend your whole career wondering and making excuses about why and how the other guy manages to get all the clients when you’re actually a better practitioner.
Step 2: Run your law firm like a business, not a hobby or a higher calling. Take an honest inventory of the skills you find yourself lacking in. If you’re struggling to get the work in, you need to learn more about Marketing. If you’re struggling to keep up with the work you already have, you need to learn more about Law Practice Management.
If you’re struggling with A/R, unpaid client bills, or unpredictable cash flow, you need to learn more about Financial Management and put systems in place to protect yourself.
A law firm is a relatively simple business to run profitably. And there are plenty of cost-effective resources to help you, including a bunch created by me. But whatever you do, don’t just sit around waiting for things to happen for you, like a houseplant waiting to be watered. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
Step 3: Ignore 99% of your critics.
If you’re doing things that are extraordinary and above average, most of the other lawyers in your market will hate you for it. That’s just a sad fact of life. If you have no critics you’re not doing enough to push the envelope for the benefit of the only people whose opinion of you truly matters…paying clients, productive referral sources, and YOURSELF! Average lawyers get average results.
Extraordinary lawyers get extraordinary results.
Trying to remain “average” so you don’t catch any flack from the peanut gallery while expecting extraordinary results out of your practice is like trying to cheat the universe. It just doesn’t work like that. No one wants to put their well being in the hands of an average lawyer and most clients don’t define average the same way most lawyers do. Learn to recognize the difference.
Step 4:Laugh all the way to the bank. Attend every school play for your kids. Make it home in time for dinner most nights. Turn down clients you don’t like. Celebrate milestones with your staff. And, get control of your law firm business so it doesn’t control you!