There's alot of good advice we heard in law school. But
there's one bit of really bad advice most of us heard too. And
it's sucking the fun and profits out of way-too-many law firms.
NOT a Rhetorical Question:
What would you say if someone told you that "Owning" a law firm is a costly myth?
Please click the link ABOVE to let me know YOUR thoughts.
Here's What I Think:
admit it took me a long time to figure this out too.
So in the
meantime while you're pondering the implications of what I have just said
above, on this rainy Friday morning in Miami, I'll go first:
is held-out like a carrot to get alot of extra work out of alot of
lawyers who were never taught and have been kept intentionally in the
dark about the business side of "owning" a law firm.
Lawyer goes to work for a firm. Is told if you work hard and bill enough hours, someday you'll be "made" partner.
what if the associates didn't WANT to be made partner? Then how would
most law firms "motivate" those associates to Bill More Hours?
root of the problem for "owners" of law firms all over the world, who
are trying to wrestle with this problem, is in how they're framing it.
when the goal of a law firm is to Bill More Hours as opposed to
generate more profit, all kinds of things get screwed-up. Beginning
with the values of the lawyers who work for the firm.
In the old days, the "profit" of a law firm was a function of value being delivered to clients.
It wasn't measured by the number of hours.
how long something takes to do, is usually in inverse proportion to the
resulting value to the client. Do you want your dinner to arrive in 5
minutes or in an hour? Which has more value to you?
Unless you're a
defendant trying to stall the system, typically, the longer something
takes, the LESS it should cost. At least from the client's
And since clients are the ones paying the bill they DO get a vote
Loss of Love & Profit From The Practice Of Law
What happens is that when a law firm is focused on billable hours, and then holds partnership
out as a carrot to motivate the production of more hours, the
end-result is a loss of love for the practice of law.
the only lawyers who THINK they want that, are the lawyers who don't
understand the business-side of the law firm well-enough to
fully-appreciate what they're getting themselves into when they accept
you've been reading my ezines and watching my videos for any time at
all you already know that, sadly, MOST lawyers don't really understand
the business-side of the legal industry very well.
And it's not their fault!
after-all, what did they teach any of us in law school about the
business-side of "owning" a law firm? Nothing! Actually it's worse
Most lawyers actually get very BAD advice in law school
about the business side of a law firm.
bad advice most of us recieved may have ranged from the merely
mis-guided: "just do your work and someone else will take care of that"
all the way to the downright DESTRUCTIVE "this is a noble profession and
so you shouldn't concern yourself with making a profit at it."
Shouldn't concern yourself with making a profit at it? But profit is a function of value!
if a lawyer isn't waking up every day with his or her mind on how to
generate a profit for the law firm it's our clients who are suffering
Because they don't care about "buying" hours. They want
solutions! And all things being equal, our clients want their solutions
delivered to them sooner rather than later.
And here's where it gets REALLY UGLY…
you're NOT thinking about making a profit, you're typically not
thinking about the things that lead to making a profit either.
And one of
those things that has a direct-connection to how profitable our law
firms are is how our IOLTA client property trust accounts are set-up and
course, if no-one ever told you that your law firm should be
profitable, and the more the better because profit is a function of
value to clients;
That is to say if
all you ever heard about was billing hours…
Then chances are no-one
likely ever taught you how and why your law firm's IOLTA client property
trust account can and SHOULD be used as a PROFITABLE law firm management tool.
And that far from being
something that intimidates us, our IOLTA Client Property Trust Accounts
should be tools of empowerment that contribute to your being the best
lawyer you can be. And having the most fun at the practice of law and
the most VALUE to your clients and yes, all of that is very profitable
If you have not already done so…
Please register to watch a completely complimentary series of videos I'm able to give to my fellow lawyers and the legal industry at-large but only for a short time. It's entitled "A Simple System For Managing A Law Firm Client Property Trust Account That WON'T Make You Feel Like A Schmuck."
In the videos
you'll hear about how I felt like such a schmuck when I first started
my own law firm; Because, despite all the warnings about WHY not to
screw it up, I realized no-one had ever actually bothered to teach me
the HOW TO manage my trust account!
Anyway there's absolutely no cost to watch these videos. And for reasons you'll understand if you click the link &
read some of the comments & questions in the discussion forum I can
only keep this resource out there for a limited time.
p.s. Even if you don't
normally forward blog posts to other lawyers, please forward this one.
Because none of us should ever have to worry about how to manage our
IOLTA Client Property Trust Accounts. And none of us has been taught
how to properly use them the way these videos do!