"Everything you've been told about building
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What does Your Perfect Law Firm Look Like?

Do you have a vision for your perfect law firm?  The perfect law firm where you’re not spending time on crappy cases and you get to focus only on the “A” cases that will make a difference in your clients’ lives. Your clients are grateful when they hire you, you’ve got a steady pipeline of high quality cases, and you’re getting home in time for dinner.

The first step is to describe your perfect law firm. Take a couple of hours to envision your perfect law firm and don’t hesitate to dream big.  Keep things simple with 3 categories:

  • Marketing,
  • Case Management,
  • Income

By way of example, the dreams of our perfect law firm are:

Marketing Goals

  1.    500 referral partners,
  2.    15,000 website visitors/month (www.ProtectingPatientRights.com),
  3.    10,000 email subscribers (www.UltimateInjuryLaw.com)

Case Management Goals

  1.   20 active lawsuits,
  2.   Minimum settlement value of $300k for each active lawsuit,
  3.   12 new lawsuits/year,
  4.   12 trials/year

Income Goal

  1.   Annual income: $1.5 million

Write down your goals and laminate them on a pocket-sized card that you keep in your wallet/purse and review them a few minutes every day.  Better yet, post your goals on a large poster-board in your office and review and discuss them at your daily, weekly and quarterly staff meetings.

“If you are serious about your commitments, then tell someone you trust.  Any time you tell a friend or coworker about a commitment, it creates an added level of determination on your part to follow through.”

Brian P. Moran, The 12 Week Year

Just by writing down the goals for your perfect law firm, you will be far more likely to achieve them. But the true secret is sharing your goals with the team members in your law firm and sharing them with others who you trust and respect.

Take Baby Steps at First

Begin by setting milestones (a/k/a “base camps”) for each goal that you can use to measure your success.  By way of example, we set a four-year marketing goal of 500 “referral partners” on October 19, 2013.  A “referral partner” is a lawyer or someone in the legal field who has referred at least one new case to our law firm in the last five years.  Just one problem, we only had 124 referral partners on October 19, 2013.

We set milestones for the # of referral partners in each year:

2014:                185

2015:                265

2016:                365

2017:                500

The annual goals (a/k/a “base camps”) keep us focused on the ultimate goal of 500 referral partners.  We track the names of every referral partner and celebrate when a new lawyer refers a case.  Today, our law firm has 234 referral partners.  Okay, we’re behind and have a way to go, but the mission is clear and we’ve made progress.

Set other intermediate goals for marketing, case management and income and ask your assistant to report on your progress every month. Be fanatical about measuring your numbers and reporting your progress.  Better yet, hire an accountability coach to kick your ass and hold you accountable.

Your Common, Unchanging Purpose

For 95% of lawyers, the purpose they exist is money. There’s nothing wrong with cold hard cash and you have to pay the bills, but if that’s all you’re working for, life seems short of meaning and purpose.

Think of the reasons why your law firm exists and keep pushing for answers until you find the perfect purpose.  For our law firm, the purpose for our existence is simple, “Stopping Medical Injustice”. That’s why we exist and that’s what we do.  When difficult questions pop up during a workday, it helps to remind ourselves that we exist to stop medical injustice and our actions should be guided by that overriding purpose.

Your purpose should be simple, concise and unique.  And once you and your team agree upon a purpose for your law firm, let the world know by posting your purpose in your lobby, conference room, letterhead, newsletters and email signature.  Serving a higher purpose than simply stockpiling cash will instantly put you head and shoulders above every other lawyer.

photo credit: 97199917 via photopin (license)

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.