Assume you can sell an equity interest in your law firm to a non-lawyer and you need $ to grow your law firm. You pursue a deal with a “Shark” on the TV-show, Shark Tank, and you have to make a sales pitch to get an investment from the ultra-successful entrepreneurs.
You realize that are 3 indispensable qualities the “sharks” are looking for: (1) a Vision for your law firm; (2) Knowing the Numbers of your law firm; and (3) a Do or Die commitment to success.
Dare to be Bold with Your Vision
Where you do you want to be in 5-10 years? Without a vision for your law firm, you’ll never get there—you’ll be doing the same thing you’re doing right now. You must have a crystal-clear vision and communicate your vision–not only with your staff–but with your family, friends and everyone you do business with.
Write down exactly where you want your law firm to be in 5-10 years—your vision should be short and simple. Next, have a picture frame made of your vision, give it to each of your employees and post it everywhere in your office. By way of example, the vision for our law firm is:
To be the #1 law firm for lawyers referring medical malpractice cases in Upstate New York.
You must have a path for reaching your vision. What are the incremental steps that it will take to reach your vision? Once you agree upon the specific steps that it will take, write down your annual goals, share them with your team and celebrate moments of progress.
The Mission of our law firm is to have 500 referral partners, i.e., lawyers or members of the legal community who refer new case to us within the past 5 years. Each year we have specific goals (our “Base Camps”) for the # of referral partners and we set ambitious “stretch” goals. We post our Mission and annual goals in our conference room and make a special point to send a “welcome” package (i.e., handwritten note, book and print newsletters) to our new referral partners.
Know the Numbers of Your Law Firm
Become intimately familiar with your numbers. Don’t just glance at your Profit and Loss Statements every week—dig deep into the numbers to eliminate needless spending and find out where your $ are getting the best return on investment.
- What is the cost of the acquisition per lead?
- What is the $ value of a new case?
- What does the overhead cost per month?
- What is your annual revenue and profit?
Sit down every month or so with your bookkeeper to review your numbers. What can you cut from your budget to reduce overhead? What can you do to keep disbursements within a fixed budget? Without answers to these questions, you don’t have a business—you have a hobby.
For our law firm, new cases must have a minimum settlement value (a/k/a bottom line) of $300k. Before we accept a new case, we make sure our legal fee (after paying a referral fee) will exceed the disbursements by a ratio of 10/1. Creating a “Case Budget” and placing a “Settlement Value” on every new case forces us to be realistic about the return on investment and whether we should accept the case.
Do or Die Commitment to Success
Successful lawyers are hungry—they will do whatever it takes. Sleepless nights, anxiety and stress are part of the deal you make, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Adopt the ultimate goal achieving, dream manifestation mindset of world-class performers: Whatever It Takes.”
A hungry lawyer has a definiteness of purpose and sees only two paths: success or death. Harsh? Sure, but no one said life in the Shark Tank would be easy.