Setting out on your own, no matter the endeavor, is scary. After all, the flip side of freedom is responsibility, and when you alone carry the burden, any shortcomings are yours alone to manage. This is why, in our everyday lives, we seek out gym buddies and running partners— having someone to help shoulder the responsibility helps! Our professional lives are no different, though the stakes are higher. As a lawyer, when you initiate a private practice, you don’t merely risk falling short on a New Year’s resolution, you wager your reputation, personal relationships, and finances. That’s heavy…
Here are 5 effective first steps towards building a thriving law practice:
1. Know your worth
Failing to charge appropriately for services sinks more private firms than any other error. Many solo attorneys are simply too eager to close new clients, leading them to sell their worth short. Doing so provokes a cascade of negative consequences: less money means more hours, more hours mean greater strain, greater strain means burnout. The take-away: charge what you’re worth and you’ll retain those clients who value your services and say goodbye to those who sap your energy. What can we say…in the long run, it pays to stand firmly in your own power!
2. Avoid excuses
When venturing solo, acknowledging gaps in your knowledge or capabilities can feel like inviting failure. Nothing could be further from the truth. While admitting shortcomings might appear to jeopardize client relationships, in fact, doing so contributes to building your reputation as someone honest and trustworthy. Setting aside pride in favor of transparency is a gesture that will not go unnoticed and, over the long-term, will surely generate value.
Pride takes many forms, and one of them is the tendency to do everything yourself. Failure to delegate tasks that are fully within the capability of your staff members not only distracts your energy from where it is better placed, but communicates a distrust in other peoples’ capabilities. If your small firm is to survive, it is essential that it function efficiently and this means loosening the reigns and letting your capable staff do the job you hired them for. Our Team Empowerment Academy is a virtual leadership training and develop program that focuses on exactly this: how to empower your team members with the skills and knowledge they need to, ultimately, make your job as the leader easier!
4. Hire rock star employees
Or, if you can’t find rock stars, make them! It doesn’t take a law degree to know that a strong team is a huge asset. The trouble is finding big-hitting team members. Of course, if you can tell a candidate is a superstar, you shouldn’t hesitate to bring them on board…but more often than not, identifying if a person will thrive and become a star falls on you, the employer. Think carefully about your support staff, and try to assign roles based on individual strengths. If you find yourself struggling to identify an employee’s strengths, well… that’s what we’re here for.
5. Keep learning
Anything that’s not growing is dead, including your firm. No matter your experience or previous successes, there will always be new skills worth learning, and rough spots in need of polish. In this fast-paced world, time invested in keeping your skillset current is the only way to stay ahead of the break. This not only means honing expertise in your chosen specialty, it also means staying abreast of what competing firms are doing to get on top.
A good place to start is with our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program, designed to revolutionize your people, productivity and profit in 10-weeks or less! Once you’ve got your firm on track, it is much easier to keep it moving in the right direction.
Does your firm qualify for a spot in our 66-Day Law Firm Turnaround program? Book a free qualifier call and find out!