From mid-November through the beginning of January, Lawyers with Purpose members tend to see a decrease of initial contacts, initial meetings, and workshop attendance. The holidays are THE time for your prospects and clients to be thinking about AND discussing their future plans with family, however, not as many do. How can you remedy this? By kicking off your maintenance program!
When LWP members start putting their workshops together for the first time, they often think of them as a way to generate new clients, which is a key outcome. However, they tend to focus on the workshop solely as a lead generator, and this mindset falls severely short in terms of what workshops actually help you accomplish. The workshop should be considered part of your process, the education part. It is the part of the process that almost everyone needs, but they don’t think they do. The workshop helps participants see things they didn’t know, as well as things they didn’t even know they didn’t know; it provides them something new upon which to reflect. The workshop doesn’t just generate leads; it helps enroll qualified candidates into your firm for a Vision Meeting and helps you accomplish higher retention rates and higher average fees, adding to increased profitability. This article gives an overview of seven common workshop mistakes that will sabotage your success.
In the LWP system, progressing through the three levels of success depends upon your having the right people, the right “Whos”, in the correct positions within your organization. We call the graphic representation of “who does what” in a law firm an Accountability Chart rather than an organizational chart. This is because success depends on holding each “Who” in the firm, including the owner, accountable for accomplishing the tasks associated with each position.
Take a look at the Accountability Chart above. You’ll notice that the top box, occupied by the owner, has a question mark next to the word Entrepreneur. Why? The owner of a law firm is not necessarily an entrepreneur. He or she might be, but is not always. The skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to be an outstanding attorney are not the same as those required to be a successful entrepreneur. As the saying goes, law school doesn’t teach you how to be an entrepreneur or run a law firm, it teaches you the law.
Ask yourself: Are you an entrepreneur? Do you have a vision for the future of your firm and the commitment, together with the skills, necessary to make your vision a reality? If not, your firm’s success depends on your developing the vision and skills you need or finding someone—the right “Who”—to fulfill the entrepreneurial role.
Now consider the operations box on the Accountability Chart. In many law firms, the owner/attorney takes on the important duties of Operations Manager. At LWP, we encourage owners to avoid operations and instead bring someone on board who has the skills necessary to manage the firm. One of the key skills required of the Operations Manager is the ability to hold everyone in the firm accountable for doing their jobs in an accurate, effective, and timely manner.
It is important to note that by utilizing the tools and exercises we have shown you, many LWP members have discovered that the ideal Director of Operations is already employed by the firm in another capacity. The same can be said for other roles within the firm, including that of entrepreneur. The “Whos” you need to fill certain roles may already be sitting at your conference room table; they are just not in the right “seats.”
Next time we’ll discuss the four boxes in line three of the Law Firm Accountability Chart: Marketing, Client Services, Legal Services, and Finance/Human Resources.
At LWP, we believe that a firm’s success can be broken down into three levels. The Law Firm Success Model illustrates this principle and is a proven blueprint for tracking your progress from one level of success to the next.
As you can see, in the Success Model level one is defined as technical success—and rightly so. At the very least, your firm must be able to use the law competently to address your clients’ needs and craft legal documents that produce the desired results for your clients.
Where are you with respect to competency and level one? Perhaps you are transitioning from one area of the law, such as family law, into elder law. In that case, you might not be proficient at designing, say, an asset protection trust. This would put you to the left of level one, letter A on the Success Model above. To fully achieve level one success, you must master the strategies and tools of estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, and asset protection.
LWP has helped many new members attain technical success through a combination of cutting-edge software, hands-on training, legal/technical support, and one-on-one coaching. Our three-day, intensive Practice With Purpose (PWP) workshops are the best possible way to start. You can learn more about them, or register for an upcoming PWP workshop, here.
Now let’s move on to level two, operational success, which is defined as consistent profitability and growth. Study the bulleted questions in level two. If your answer to most of these questions is no, you are to the left of operational success, the letter B in the Success Model—you’re not quite there yet. Conversely, if your answers to most of the questions are yes, you are well on your way to operational success and consistently achieving your revenue, profitability, and growth goals.
If you have achieved operational success, you are ready to move to the next level in the Success Model, entrepreneurial success. In essence, entrepreneurial success means that your firm can operate successfully and profitability without your day-to-day involvement. For example, if your firm has achieved level three success, you can go on vacation for a few weeks and your firm will not be in a state of utter chaos upon your return. Entrepreneurial success means you have the team—the “Whos”—in place to keep your firm running at peak efficiency whether you are in the office or not.
Look at the Success Model one more time. Whether you are in position A, B, or C, we can help you get to the next level. You will benefit from our next email, which will discuss our proprietary Law Firm Accountability Chart—the cornerstone of building a team that is comprised of the “Whos” you need to move forward.
If you are in position D, congratulations, you are not only an accomplished attorney, you are also a successful entrepreneur. Don’t bother reading our next email. We won’t mind. We celebrate success, and you should, too!
Utilizing an automated workflow management system makes it much easier to have greater insight into your business by easily generating reports instead of having to dig through files or spend time locating the information you need.With automated workflow management, you and your team are held accountable by auto-generated tasks set specifically for certain roles. Your ability to communicate both internally and externally is more effective because everyone is aware of the specific step a client is on within the process and how to keep clients moving efficiently through your process, overall.
“How do I get my practice to the next level?” This is the first question the vast majority of our prospects ask. Unfortunately, it is the wrong question. Becoming an efficient, proficient, and consistently profitable firm isn’t about how, it’s about who. The question you must ask is, “Who do I need to take my firm to the next level?”