You need help
One of the key things that you do as a lawyer is to help your
clients sleep better at night. You identify legal risks and work
with your clients to manage these risks. In doing so, you enable
your clients to focus more of their mental energy on their
businesses and less on worrying about what might go wrong.
Lawyers also need help in running their law practices. But
unlike people who run other types of businesses, lawyers are not
very good at asking for help. ("I'm smart. I should be able to
figure this out myself.")
In the complex world that we now live in, failing to get help
can be a crucial mistake. As a lawyer, all you have to sell is your
time. Do you want to spend your time doing client work and
cultivating relationships that can lead to higher value client
work? Or would you like to spend hours solving your computer
problems, doing your own bookkeeping and preparing your own tax
If you are just starting in practice, paying for help may not be
feasible. Until you have generated some cash flow and until you are
busy with client work, it may make sense to try a "do-it-yourself"
approach for a while. But if that is the case, you can still tap
into some of resources that are available to you at little or no
cost. In doing so, you won't spend hours reinventing the wheel.
One source of free help is other lawyers who have been in
practice for a while. There are many attorneys who remember what it
was like to be starting out. Find someone who is willing to meet
with you to discuss how to organize your practice. Find out what
technology they use and how they do their billing.
A great resource is Massachusetts LOMAP (Law Office
Management Assistance Program), an agency supported by your bar
dues. LOMAP provides free technical support to lawyers in the areas
of law office management and technology. They will work with any
lawyer in Massachusetts and they do a great job.
The Law Practice Management Section of the MBA
hosts seminars and meetings that are low or no cost. Check the calendar to see what is
As your law practice (and your cash flow) continues to grow,
make sure that you hire professionals who can help YOU sleep better
at night. Hire an accountant and bookkeeper to worry about the
books. Get a technology consultant who can work on your firm's
network while you spend time on legal work and marketing.
If you are spinning your wheels about where to focus your
marketing energies, consider
hiring a marketing coach. A good coach is a sounding board and
provides guidance and encouragement to ensure that over time, you
are doing the "right" things to help you elevate your reputation
and build your referral relationships (and ultimately generate the
work you want).
Initially, bringing in help may cause your cash flow to
decrease. But hiring consultants is an investment in yourself and
in your business. Getting help means giving yourself the time to
produce higher quality work and to focus on building your business.
You also get the benefit of learning how to run a more efficient
and professional practice.
The great American myth is that people who are successful are
self made. In truth, behind every successful politician,
entrepreneur, athlete, performer or professional services provider
is an army of support. So don't be afraid to get help
yourself. It will do wonders for your practice.
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published March 28, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice
Chair Cynthia E.