I was asked to be a guest speaker for a Law Office Management class at my alma mater last week & came away with a shocking revelation. . .
I began my talk with the 20 or so law students, most of them 3L’s by asking how much they hoped to be making one, two or three years out of law school. Since graduation is right around the corner I thought this would be a good place to begin the discussion about the fact that 56% of Bar Grievances filed have their root-cause in poor law office management skills, including poor client intake procedures and lack of proper systems to maintain top of mind awareness with current clients (which all have a direct effect on revenues). What I got instead was a bunch of blank stares. I’ll spare you the painful details, but what came out was that the silence was not so much a matter of these 20 soon-to-be-lawyers not knowing about the going rate for salaries – which would have been bad enough to have not investigated this simple piece of information which is so readily available online with a Google search. It was actually WORSE!
They actually had not thought-through what it would cost to support themselves in the lifestyles they imagined they would be living as hard-working lawyers. Instead they simply presumed that being a lawyer was enough, and that the rest would take care of itself like the magic elves who I imagine they still think pick up their dirty socks for them around the house. Like I said. . . SHOCKING!
In a related anecdote, I recently had a conversation with a friend and fellow law office marketing coach, Henry Harlow after he had a chance to review my How To Market A Small Law Firm program & we both marveled at how much value lawyers I’ve worked with have expressed over the years once I take them through the simple Budgeting Exercise, that is at the root of my approach to teaching a lawyer how to be a Rainmaker.
I’m about to head out for a late breakfast so I’ll cut this short with a simple piece of (unsolicited) advice: Jot down a simple budget over lunch today for what it will cost to live the life you would like to be leading, not necessarily the life you currently are leading. In other words, if you drive a piece of crap car & live in a dump, do not simply budget those expenses. Swing by the Jaguar dealership, open up the real estate section and give your insurance agent a call for a quote on a decent life/disability package to see what it would take to live the life you want all of your hard work to reward you with.
As for me, I’ve already done my three miles of roadwork along the beach this morning so now I’m going to reward myself with a big breakfast with lots of jelly on my toast!
Enjoy your day,