What Does it Mean to be a Practice Builder?
While more marketing can always help with your growth (more clients is nearly always a good thing), you’re at a different stage from many other small law firms. Your needs are more expansive, because...
You currently are or are ready to be the CEO of Your Law Firm. And if you currently feel like the CEO, let’s ensure your immense skills as a business owner and lawyer are being utilized to their fullest during all working hours – not just limited to those brief times when you can set aside an hour to work “on” the business.
What Exactly Should the CEO of a Law Firm Do?
Let’s approach it from the opposite side, defining the things a CEO of a law firm does not do:
You do NOT...
- Live on a schedule set by others, including clients
- Handle low-value tasks (if you currently act as your IT department, bookkeeper, and/or human resources person, you are losing money by staying attached to those roles)
- Work as the only legal technician in the practice, even on high-demand, low-value cases
- Answer an endless stream of questions about day-to-day office tasks.
Does this list hit too close to home? Or, are you happy with running a law practice under these conditions?
Then the rest of this article is NOT for you.
If you are ready to move past this stage in your practice, then read on. What you will find is an affirmation that your problems are not unique, and there is a definite solution. We know what you already know is true…
You Are Not Just a Lawyer...
You Are a PRACTICE BUILDER
This happens to all successful and ambitious attorneys. They graduate from the role of lawyer/owner into the role of CEO, which I also call the Practice Builder.
While others handle the daily operations, Practice Builders put time, energy, and intellectual resources toward building an excellent business. They know that someday they will relinquish many of the legal work responsibilities and work on their business (while working on only the cases they LOVE).
Practice Builders have thrown away the notion that “law is a jealous mistress.” They aren’t just building a “legal empire,” nor are they striving to become the next big TV lawyer, they are making money AND spending MORE time with their families and friends and achieving the elusive work-life balance.
The idea of working less and getting more value out of life may seem like a concept wilder than a made-for-TV science fiction movie. If you don’t believe this is possible, I can’t convince you. Stop reading now. If the notion of a healthy, happy life as an attorney is too much for you to bear, you are literally wasting your time by reading more.
Is Your Practice an Asset… or a Liability?
While there are people out there who make money by day trading, wise traders make money by investing in long-term powerful ASSETS. Warren Buffet comes to mind. His strategy is investing in businesses that see the big picture. Warren Buffet invests in businesses and goods that have a “moat” build around them. These “big picture” businesses are NOT easily upset by small changes in the market or new technology. Instead, Mr. Buffet looks at businesses that are well managed, sustainable, and scalable.
A law firm is not scalable when all the resources/time/effort comes from the lead attorney.
Financial assets should give an investor great payoff with minimal work. Faux-assets are investments that generate more work for the investor.
House flipping is often touted as a good investment. However, real estate investments aren’t really “assets” if you are the one slinging the sledgehammer.
The high-yield real estate investors aren’t the ones who are doing all the renovations themselves. They are the people who focus on sourcing new properties and maintaining a trusted team of people to handle the grunt work. By keeping their eyes on the larger market, they get a far greater yield with minimized risk spread out over many, many properties. This is true across the spectrum of real estate investors.
The same principles apply to your law firm!
You should be the one identifying opportunities and surveying the marketplace. NOT the person sending demand packages or reviewing medical files. If you like being the attorney who does all the grunt work, Warren Buffet wouldn’t invest in you.
Isn’t it the Lead Attorney’s Job to Work Cases?
If you made the decision to step away from the “day to day” activities of your law firm, you may wonder what YOUR role will be. Are you going to be the attorney writing briefs or negotiating with the insurance adjuster? Are you going to be the attorney who golfs every day while his associates are trying cases? How should the CEO of a law firm spend their time?
What’s the answer?
Truly, the answer is “whatever you want,” but presumably you are reading this because you want to do more than toil away on cases (or take a few strokes off your golf game).
Imagine being able to spend more time looking at the newest precedents set by your state’s Supreme Court or figuring out how a new law may affect your clients. Could you plan better estates (and create a new way to increase revenue from those who need to redo their planning)? Would you unlock a new field of personal injury claims or massively upgrade the value of your current caseload through a new way brain trauma is considered by the courts? How do new immigration regulations and agency changes affect the people in need of your services? Obviously, those are just three fast examples, and I’m sure you could come up with many more right now if I asked you (particularly if I didn’t share an idea directly related to your favored practice area).
You could free yourself to focus on scaling up the business. In my own law firm, my objectives right now have little to nothing to do with the actual legal work. I have trusted lieutenants and department heads who focus on the output of our services. My job is to look at how we double our revenue – in particular, the people and processes.
In recent years, a series of improvements to the processes in my law firm, coupled with bringing on several new staff members brought an additional $781,363 compared to the previous year’s revenue! ALL of these improvements are part of my own plan to move out of the “attorney” role into the Practice Builder role. You will learn more about this plan today, but first, let’s dismiss the huge LIE that attorneys have been telling themselves since before the Internet.
Believe it or Not… Getting More Cases Doesn’t Solve All Your Problems
There are many law firms where the marketing is outpacing the operations – often creating a financial model of “constant catch up.” The caseload is too great for the staff, yet the revenue is delayed due to a case’s timeline.
In order to properly manage your law firm’s growth without pulling your hair out and spending 70+ hours each week in the office, you can’t behave like the average law firm owner. Most owners correlate their time and activity with the growth of the law firm, when in fact this may be the single greatest factor preventing you from realizing your ideal lifestyle and profit from the practice.
A Great Legal Marketing member is running a personal injury law firm that brought in $3.31 million, yet his active caseload contains potential revenue of $5.1 million over the next 12 months... if he is able to properly process those cases in a timely fashion. This is the problem we are actively working on with him.
The attorney I described above (let’s call him Joe) is holding back his firm by keeping a stranglehold on all the major movements within his firm. Despite a total case volume of many hundreds, he likes to know what is going on with every client. Considering most personal injury lawyers reach their breaking point shortly past hitting the 100 open files mark, Joe is deep into dangerous territory.
Joe’s personal iPhone never stops buzzing and beeping with messages from people in his office, begging for his attention. He checks email every few minutes and feels the need to answer questions immediately. In short, Joe is a slave to the activity of the firm due to the false belief that he is needed in every part of the practice.
How does this happen? Who created this problem for attorney Joe?
It’s not the fault of the staff. Joe’s employees will gladly take his time if he gives it. And the standard in his law firm has been set for some time. No one in Joe’s office thinks twice about barging into his office when the door is closed or scheduling yet another meeting on his calendar.
Now, hopefully, your situation is not as dire as Joe’s. It is one of the more dramatic scenarios I have encountered in terms of time management. Yet I hear from law firm owners regularly who experience hectic lifestyles that may be financially rewarding, but they start to question how much they really want to live with all that stress...
So, what’s to be done? What is the solution to a practice that seems capable of greater revenue yet remains stuck in place?
If you are still reading, you have ignored my prior warnings to stop reading now. Hopefully, this means you are ready to take the next steps and stop being “just another attorney” and graduate into a Practice Builder.
You now know WHY you should move to the next step in your attorney growth. You also know WHAT I did to get there in my own firm. Now, you have the opportunity to find out how.
You can discover all the answers to your lingering questions by investing in Great Legal Marketing’s Diamond Practice Builder’s program. When you say “yes” to my offer, we’ll immediately ship out our Diamond Practice Building Model -Diamond Blueprint – this program is exclusively for new Diamond Practice Builders and reveals the systems used by BenGlassLaw and hundreds of other highly successful small law firms to rapidly scale their practices, including hiring new employees, building an operations manual, creating a PR strategy, and much more!
Then, on a continuing basis, a new world of practice-building material is opened for you.
- Access to Chief Marketing Officer Charley Mann for marketing feedback and reviews
- The monthly Great Legal Marketing Journal, the leading publication for helping solo and small law firms grow their practices through world-class marketing, management, and mindset
- The Gold Call, hosted every month by Charley Mann, during which you discover a new piece of marketing you can implement in your law firm
- Access to the Fast Action Boot Camp, a members-only event designed to help any law firm rapidly discover and deploy the most effective marketing developed by Ben Glass and GLM (plus, in-person access to the GLM team)
- Access to your Private Membership Site where you can find past Journals and Gold Calls, along with templates and guides to help implement GLM-style marketing
- Access to Ben Glass for marketing, management, and mindset feedback and reviews – a direct fax line to your most trusted resource on all things solo and small firm practice building
Monthly Diamond Call, featuring Ben interviewing an industry expert to help uncover the best strategies and ideas to conquering your market – past guests include:
- Matt Linklater – “Tax Reduction Strategies for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers”
- Robert Skrob – “How to Keep Your Fans (even the ones who didn’t hire you) Fascinated by You and Your Practice”
- Terry Schaffer – “Training Your Gazelles to YOUR Culture and KEEPING that culture intact as you grow.”
- Rabi Daniel Lapin, Author of Thou Shall Prosper, 10 Commandments for Making Money
- Mark Briton – Former CEO of Avvo.com, How to Market to Today’s Legal Consumer (and why you should not be afraid of Avvo.)
- Ben’s Weekly Marketing Tip – an every-week, unvarnished look at the legal profession and the opportunities you have to grow as an attorney, a business owner, and a person
- Diamond Insider Report, featuring Ben and a group of hand-selected contributors who share the intimate secrets to running a highly profitable and productive small law firm (warning: this an often-intense look at the truth of what it takes to be seriously successful in a competitive profession)
- Internet Marketing Report, a special report that takes a close look at one of the toughest marketing arenas for attorneys – you’ll get early access to strategies we are actively testing at BenGlassLaw and a true “over-the-shoulder” view of what makes our internet presence so powerful (a major shortcut to online success)
- Mindset Program, our way to not only help you stay mentally focused but to expand your horizons as to what is possible so you can live your best life and accomplish more than you ever imagined and create a list like I did two pages back.
If you are ready (truly this program isn’t for everyone), click the button below to get all the details and everything you need to determine if you are ready. This is a big choice, and if you don’t believe you are quite “there” yet, then you need to consider my Gold Program for attorneys who just need more clients today.
Take Your First Step and Become a "Practice Builder"Become a Diamond Member
P.S. Not everyone likes what we do at GLM. A former president of the Virginia State Bar once called me less than 24 hours before I was scheduled to speak to a group of young lawyers. He began by telling me that he was reading from one of my old ads (stalker?) where I made statements like: young lawyers shouldn’t think that volunteering for bar activities is a way to build their practices, or doing what everyone else in the profession is doing is a sure path to mediocrity. He then ordered me to not discuss, with his young lawyers at his event, any of the GLM mindset principles that were at odds with his organization. That led to an extended discussion of the principle of immunity to criticism, which you may need to become a master of as you learn to further differentiate not only how you market your practice, but how you live your life.