The following is a guest post written by lawyer coach Gary Mitchell.
When growing your small law firm, I not only advise you, but I also urge you to think 22 and not 92. As in 2022, not 1992.
Do you remember back in 1992 you would watch a movie on your VCR? What’s a VCR, you ask? Or taking pictures with a camera that had something called ‘film’ in it that you had to then take to a photo store to get developed. What’s film, you ask? Oh, and although cell phones were out, they were very large and very expensive. Most people still used a phone that was connected to a wire that went into a base that was then connected by another wire into the wall. The dark ages!
If you were practicing law back in 1992, you would likely leave the comfort of your home, get into your car, and drive in gridlock, for anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half or more, each way, to arrive at your bricks and mortar office tower and park your car for $20, and rush up to your office. All the while leaving your children and spouse with little or no interaction at either end of your day. Your staff was likely doing the same.
Your clients had to go out of their way to meet you in person. Because of all the paper generated from files, you likely had to rent storage space to accommodate the mountains of bankers’ boxes, formerly known as trees. So much has changed since then. Have you changed your mindset on how to grow your small law firm?
In 22, you have so many choices. You can work remotely, from home, or from your dream work location. Your staff can do the same. You can build and grow a virtual law firm. This not only frees up capital, or overhead previously spent on office space but also opens a much larger talent pool from which to draw. The geographical freedom also allows you to expand your client reach. Are you reading any downside yet?
Have you considered the ‘virtual assistant route’? You may be surprised to know about the huge and growing talent pool out there of people, highly specialized, even in the legal industry who you can hire on a contract basis. On an as-needed basis. You don’t have to go from zero support staff to a full-time team overnight and bring on that financial burden. By the way, there are several excellent companies now employing a vast array of virtual talent for you to pick and choose from, so you don’t even have to take the time to look. They are already out there.
With technology being the way it is, communication has never been easier, file storage is easier. There is a plethora of practice management software that allows you to keep track of pretty much anything. Cloud storage, no more paper. Cloud sharing. And the list goes on and on.
So why are so many lawyers running their small law firm like it’s 1992? Fear, ignorance, lack of experience, and small thinking are just a handful of reasons. So, what is the solution?
Well, I would suggest that the 1st solution is to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset and approach. You are running a business, right? You are growing your small law firm, right? Well then, for that purpose, it’s time to replace your lawyer hat, with your business owner hat, or entrepreneur hat. Keep your lawyer hat on for the practice of law and wear your entrepreneur hat for the business of law.
When you put your entrepreneur hat on you will think differently. You will not automatically gravitate toward what is wrong or why something cannot work. You will take a more creative rather than analytical or skeptical attitude. You will figure out how to make it work. And if you can’t figure it out on your own, you will seek to bring on help that will. You will follow your instincts. You will tap into your innate creativity.
This new way of thinking and acting can be utilized across all practice areas and geographical locations. The reason is this. It is a mindset. You will be adopting an entrepreneurial mindset which automatically means you won’t be so afraid of taking some risks.
When you think about it, you did take the risk of going out on your own. Then you took more risks when you decided to grow beyond yourself and build a law firm. It, therefore, should not be that much of a stretch to take it to the next level. To think outside the box. To try new things and in new ways.
That’s just the beginning of what is possible. If you would like to learn more, reach out to me.
About the author:
Gary Mitchell has been coaching lawyers to excel in the business of law since 2005. This has provided him with extensive industry knowledge. With hundreds of articles and three books published, Gary continues to educate lawyers on what it is to become and succeed as a business owner, or entrepreneur. He has also created the Practice Builder App, guiding lawyers through the process of growing their small law firms. Check it out here!
Gary can be reached at [email protected]