"Everything you've been told about building
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The Greatest (Law Firm) Story Ever Told

It was the turning point in their law firm’s history.

The Mike Morse Law Firm (a plaintiff’s law firm in Michigan) was thriving, but something was missing. The firm’s owner, Mike Morse, Esq., had always been the one to do the legal work, including depositions and trials, and he thought no one could do it better. Then, Mike Morse, Esq. was introduced to what would become employee #28, his future Chief Operating Officer, John Nachazel.

Mike Morse, Esq. did not want to have the headache that can come with having a large law firm and he had explicit instructions for his first Chief Operating Officer, namely, “If I ever have more than 50 employees, you’re fired.” That’s when the magic happened.

The Power of a Second-in-Command

The structure of the Mike Morse Law Firm changed overnight.  Mike Morse, Esq. stopped doing the work and had only one direct report, John Nachazel. John Nachazel re-engineered the structure of the Mike Morse Law Firm based upon metrics, scoreboarding (measuring key performance indicators with scoreboards) and building legal teams within the law firm. Every lawyer had their own team and performance metrics to gauge their success and the law firm’s compensation system incentivized results. 

And the end results have been nothing short of stunning. The Mike Morse Law Firm is now the largest plaintiff’s law firm in the Midwest, and Mike Morse, Esq. will be the first to tell you that it would not have been possible without his amazing Second-in-Command, John Nachazel.

The Problem that We All Face

You do work that you know you should not be doing (I’m guilty too).  You think you can do the work better and faster than anyone else, but this type of thinking will only hold you back. You should only do work that you love doing and that you are better at doing than anyone else. Dan Sullivan of Unique Coach calls this your “Unique Ability”.

The goal is simple: to spend as much of your time as possible doing the tasks that are within your Unique Ability.  I love strategic planning for our law firm, networking with referral partners, trial work, writing newsletters and books and masterminding with lawyers. That’s it—everything else can and should be done by someone else.

“Having someone else take work off your plate is a privilege, not a hardship.”

Cameron Herold, “Second in Command

Easier written than done. So, how can you spend more time doing the tasks within your Unique Ability? Just think, who else could do what you’re doing? The greatest gift you will ever give your law firm: a Second-in-Command or Chief Operating Officer.

The Greatest Gift You Will Ever Give Your Law Firm

The Second in Command (a/k/a, Chief Operating Officer) is responsible for figuring out how to turn your dream into a reality.  The job of your Second-in-Command will be to take tasks off your plate that you should not be doing, so your time is freed up to perform the tasks that you love doing. 

“The essence of their purpose is to make your dreams for the business a reality.”

Cameron Herold, “Second in Command

You will have weekly meetings with Second-in-Command to “bounce ideas, talk about what the [chief operating officer] was working on to make sure [you’re] aligned, ask for coaching or support and check in on the rest of the business.” Cameron Herold, “Second in Command

Set Goals and Key Performance Indicators for Your Second-in-Command

Ask your Second-in-Command to rank, in priority, the highest value goals in your firm. Now, the Second-in-Command must execute these goals and insulate you from distractions, so that you spend 85% of your time doing the tasks that are within your Unique Ability.

“Your job is to think strategically rather than be down in the trenches.”

Cameron Herold, “Second in Command

Establish metrics to assess the performance of your Second-in-Command.  Show the Second-in-Command how you will measure their success and hold them accountable.

Envision a Law Firm that Does Not Require You

Do you have the resources to hire a Second-in-Command? Is this a hire that you can afford not to make? The Mike Morse Law Firm is living proof of the impact that a Second-in-Command can have and who can argue with their success? A Second-in-Command might be the greatest gift you can give your law firm.

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.