don't hold team members backWe get called in to help law firms when what they’re doing isn’t working. And even though we are hired as consultants because we have an impressive track record of success helping firms advance their leaders and develop their teams, we still hear this response more often than you might think: well, that’s not really how we do it at this law firm.

Just last week, after our Team Empowerment Academy Masterclass, I received a phone call from a Client Relations Coordinator who is enrolled in the program.

“Molly, when you were talking about how other firms have their CRC coming in at the end of the client meeting and playing the role of Julie McCoy (yes, I’ve dated myself)—getting the signed engagement agreement, and scheduling the next appointments through delivery—my attorney says that’s not how we do it here. I don’t know how change his mind. Can you please help me? We barely made payroll last week, and I heard him tell a prospective client to go home and think about it…to get back to us when they’re ready to get started on their planning!”

“I know its not my job to worry about money, but I am!”

The first thing that went through my head when I heard this was: if what you were doing there was working, your attorney certainly wouldn’t have called us in the first place. And your attorney definitely wouldn’t be writing a check for you to be in this program!

But my response was this: “Yes. It is your job to be aware of—but not to worry about—money, clients and processes…especially if you want part of the incentive-based compensation model we set up for your firm this year. Time, place, and delivery are everything. I know you were excited about the idea, but sharing it with him between back-to-back meetings—when he is already running 30-minutes behind for the day and has to be out the door at 5PM sharp to get the kids because his wife is out of town—probably wasn’t the best time to present the idea of revamping a process he has followed for the past 9 years. His response was most likely out of habit, as he wasn’t clear that you were presenting an idea that has proven successful for 1,400+ other law firms across the country. Don’t take it as a hard “no.” Lets talk about how to present your attorney with these suggested process refinements.”

And here is my message to attorneys: when your team comes to you with suggestions for refinements or improvements to your systems, you may want to say, “I am impressed by your enthusiasm and vested interest in improving our practice. Can you please put that topic on the agenda for our weekly stakeholders meeting on X-date, and type up your proposed solutions and bring a copy to the meeting? I am more of a visual learner.”

When an employee hears, “that’s not how we do it at this law firm,” they actually hear, “I’m the boss, leave the idea generating to me.” This sends a subconscious message to your employee to show up and do what is asked of them…and nothing more. But you NEED your team members to WANT to go above and beyond, and you need to trust that, given the freedom to make business decisions, they will make GREAT decisions that advance your firm. But if they feel like their ideas are shut down before they’re even heard or considered, they will lose the drive to take initiative. And, trust us, you don’t want that!

If you’re stumped and not sure how to empower your team to step up and bring their valuable ideas and system refinements to you, please take advantage of the opportunity to schedule a complimentary Law Firm Discovery Session. Over a 30-minute call, we’ll discuss your challenges and brainstorm solutions to help your law firm overcome these obstacles and get on the path towards growth and sustainable success. Click the button below to schedule your Law Firm Discovery Session today.

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